“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer…..Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
Romans 12:9-12, 14
Love is joyful. Filled with hope, we Christians should be able to face any situation or trial with joyfulness. Though the cup may be bitter, we should aim to knock it back like a sweet liqueur. This is what the Saints teach us. St Teresa of Avila prayed that God should save us from sullen saints – the pious miseries. St Thomas More joked on his way to martyrdom and St Lawrence was making witty comments even as he burned. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was well known for his sense of humour, gregarious personality and practical jokes. We need to learn from these examples to help us rise above the gloom these difficult times produce to see the rising Sun, Christ himself, working in us. We must take great care not to fall into the trap of despair or even groundless optimism, but to be a people grounded firmly on hope and the true joy it brings. We know that life, at the end of the day, is not a tragedy, it is a comedy, a divine comedy as Dante suggests, a comedy wherein meaning, fruitfulness and salvation overcome all trials, difficulties and sufferings. And if there is one thing that confounds the persecutor, it is the joyfulness of his victims.
Among our intentions today, let us also pray for those who suffering from depression, hopelessness or are tempted to despair.