“Let us shout for joy
to the great King, creator of the universe. In Him Louis lives, sharing the
glory of the saints.” – these words were
sung during Matins as we celebrated the feast of St Louis Bertrand – patron of
to be missing from religious life. All men are made for happiness and aspire
only to eternal beatitude. When one leaves the world one is renouncing its
insignificant and fleeting pleasures only to discover full and sincere
The religious state is a vocation to a greater happiness
because it is a call to a higher sanctity.
flourish particularly in Novitiates, where a religious rising generation has
need for expansion, eagerness and enthusiasm in the arduous work of its
formation. It possesses all varieties of
it, there are divine joys and human joys, continual joys and joys only for a
day, joys which enrich the soul or simply embellish life.
To belong entirely to God and to live only for God: that is
more than joy, it is happiness, more than happiness, it should be like a
prelude to beatitude. There is the
happiness which arises all day long from the three theological virtues, faith,
hope and charity. These after all, unite
us intimately to God.
veritate: There is happiness in
knowing oneself to be a child of the Father, the friend and living member of
Jesus Christ, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the spiritual temple of the Holy Trinity
with whom one can live in continual communion.
Gaudium in spe: There is happiness in always being able to
count upon God, upon His power, His goodness, His mercy, on the abundance of
His graces and on the heritage of His heaven.
love God and of approaching closer and closer to His Heart by the royal road
of poverty, chastity and obedience. “The only happiness for man on earth,” said
the Cure of Ars, “is that of loving God and knowing that He loves us.”
All this happiness –which is the essence of Christian living
–is experienced, but in the heart of the religious is strengthened and
increased tenfold because she has been chosen and blessed by God who has called
her to a higher, and for that reason happier, life. For it is from the fullness
of life that joy overflows.
Now to add to these great joys are many smaller pleasures of
conventual life. There is the pleasure of obliging, rendering
service, offering a word of sympathy, consolation or congratulation, of giving
a pleasant surprise, for “it is a more blessed thing to give rather than to
receive.” (Acts XX, 35)
Another source of healthy gaiety is the daily recreation.
The great St Teresa (who’s feast day we celebrated this past week) wished her
daughters to use their talents and their minds to enliven community. “We women
are already foolish enough by nature, what would happen if we became more so by
grace?” “God preserve us,” she said, “from gloomy saints.” Not that community life may always be free
from sacrifices and renunciations, but these little crosses, offered to Christ
in loving sacrifice, becomes a joy too.
Thenceforward “all is grace and all is joy.”
the formation of young religious can hardly be overestimated. In the Novitiate joy is a source of light,
strength, enthusiasm and emulation. It creates an atmosphere, not indeed of
illusions or romantic excitement, but of moral optimism and generosity.
St Louis patron of Novitiates pray for us that
we may “with glad hearts start to run along the road of the divine precepts,
with ineffable sweetness of love” in order to share the glory of the saints in
heaven with you.