Like his namesake St. Francis, Pope Francis has made joy one of the hallmarks of his papacy. It’s a joy in the simple things in life and a focus on sharing God’s love with everyone he meets. It’s a way of looking at the world that sees hope and possibility, that emphasizes real connections over the distance that can accompany formality. Joy is deeper than mere happiness. It’s less influenced by external circumstances. Events and people and material things can make us happy. But if we bring an inner disposition of joy to our lives, we will be surprised by the way we can change the people around us. When we describe someone as “joyful” we often mean that they bring a special light into life. We know that we aren’t always going to be happy. Sadness, even tragedy, is going to cross our paths more than once. But we can strive to be joyful as a matter of course.
— from Diane M. Houdek, author of the book Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy