Minute Meditations

No Fear of Joy

“We need to overcome the fear of joy; we need to think of the many times that we are not joyful because we are afraid. In my homeland there is a saying that goes like this: when someone gets burned by boiling milk, he cries when he sees the cow. The disciples, who were burned by the drama of the cross, said: no, let’s stop here! He is in heaven, that’s excellent, he is risen, but may he not come back again because we can’t handle it!” —Pope Francis

On the surface, we might be tempted to scoff at the pope’s claim that we’re afraid of joy. But how often have we become so used to crisis and dread in our lives that we can’t relax and enjoy a moment of peace, a time of no stress? How often do we manufacture a crisis just because we know how to solve a problem or fix something that’s broken? Easter joy takes some getting used to. We love the rigors and the austerities of Lent. We’re not as familiar or comfortable with the joy of Easter. One reason for this is that the kind of joy Jesus brings comes from living fully in the present. We are so much better at looking back to past pain or dreading the uncertainty of the future. Living in the present, the eternal now, requires both gratitude and grace. 

— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis,

by Diane M. Houdek

The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis


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