Daily Bible Reading
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 15:9-11.
Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete."
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“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you”
Thomas of Celano (c.1190-c.1260), biographer of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
Vita Secunda of St. Francis, §125 and 127 (translated from the French - Debonnets et Vorreux, Documents, p.430)
Saint Francis maintained: “My best defense against all the plots and tricks of the enemy is still the spirit of joy. The devil is never so happy as when he has succeeded in robbing one of God’s servants of the joy in his or her soul. The devil always has some dust on hold that he blows into someone’s conscience through a small basement window so as to make opaque what is pure. But in a heart that is filled with joy, he tries in vain to introduce his deadly poison. The demons can do nothing against a servant of Christ whom they find filled with holy gladness; whereas a dejected, morose and depressed soul easily lets itself be submerged in sorrow or captured by false pleasures.”
That is why he himself always tried to keep his heart joyful, to preserve that oil of gladness with which his soul had been anointed (Ps 45:7). He took great care to avoid sorrow, the worst of illnesses, and when he felt that it was beginning to infiltrate his soul, he immediately had recourse to prayer. He said: “At the first sign of trouble, the servant of God must get up, begin to pray, and remain before the Father until the latter has caused him or her to retrieve the joy of the person who is saved.” (Ps 51:12)…
I sometimes saw Francis with my own eyes picking up a piece of wood from the ground, placing it on his left arm, and scraping it with a straight stick as if he were moving a bow on a violin. In this way, he mimed an accompaniment to the praises he was singing to the Lord in French.