I ask for the grace to rediscover the simple joy of Easter in my daily work, school, recreation, family and community.
What do I love? St. Catherine of Siena wrote that love transforms us into what we love. How I choose to direct my time and energy — at work or at home — will inevitably inform what I begin to desire, for good or ill. Even for Jesuits, it can be easy to get caught up looking for distractions in secondary things — new books, clothing or shoes; another vacation; the latest piece of technology. With free evenings, it can become easy to glut ourselves on food and drink, constant socializing or Netflix. In moderation, these things may help us to unwind and forget about work for a while. But as with all created things, they risk becoming idols that diffuse our good desires and weaken communal life and apostolic witness. Pope Francis, in a July 2013 address to seminarians, brothers and sisters in formation, cautioned about the danger of seeking joy in things:
“There is joy. But where is joy born? ... Some will say: joy is born from the things one has, and so, the search for the latest model of the smartphone, the fastest scooter, the car that attracts attention ... But I tell you, true joy doesn’t come from things, from having, no! ... Joy is born from the gratuitousness of an encounter! And from hearing it said: ‘You are important to me,’ — not necessarily in words...
In calling us God says to us: ‘You are important to me, I love you, I count on you.’ Jesus says this to each one of us! Joy is born from here, the joy of the moment in which Jesus looked at me. To understand and to feel this is the secret of our joy. To feel loved by God, to feel that for Him we are not numbers, but persons; and to feel that it is He who calls us.”
The spartan chapel in the rooms of St. Ignatius, adjacent to the Church of the Gesù in Rome
View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.