8 July 2019
Throughout his life, St. Francis encouraged his fellow brothers to cultivate what he called ‘spiritual gladness’. He often gave them a row for looking sad or exposing their grief or drawing attention to their troubles by the look on their faces.
He desperately wanted them to cultivate a joyful spirit which would be a protection against those who would seek to harm them. Instead, he argued that they would say:
‘Since this servant of God has joy in tribulation as well as in prosperity, we can find no way of entering into him nor of hurting him.’
And that’s perfectly true. Someone who is joyful not only in prosperity but also in tribulation has certainly discovered a secret worth possessing for it doesn’t make sense to be joyful when things are going wrong!
And yet, isn’t this what St. Paul wrote to the Philippians? His equilibrium was unaffected by having too much or too little because he had learnt the secret, ‘to be content with whatever I have’.