For Pope Francis, the appreciation of our everyday lives is a spiritual undertaking. Joy is a divine attribute, and creating joy around us an essential part of faith. Every homily and speech in this book delivers, in warm, engaging language accessible to believers and nonbelievers alike, a key lesson, instructing readers on finding love and happiness in a chaotic world.
Along the way, Pope Francis discusses the sanctity of women’s rights, talks about how the love of sports can bring out our best qualities, and explains why fighting discrimination is the essence of loving thy neighbor. He shares personal stories and anecdotes from his life, provides comforting messages of hope, and discusses the ways flawed families can make you a better person. The core ideas of Francis’s papacy—mercy, support for marginalized people, and diplomacy—shine through.
Praise for Happines in This Life
“Though the title of the book mentions happiness, this collection of thoughts addresses something much deeper—joy. Bringing together excerpts from Pope Francis’s sermons, speeches, prayers, and addresses, these pieces address a range of themes, from mercy and humility to simplicity and family. . . . Readers will be encouraged to clear away the cacophony of modern society and embrace the simplicity of joy. A book as loving and encouraging as the man himself seems to be.”—Booklist
“With this wide-ranging collection of writings, homilies, and addresses, the current pontiff dispels any notion that religious practice is dour and antiquated. . . . It brings together the pope’s most affecting passages to inspire Catholics (and those of other faiths) to lift up those around them.”—Publishers Weekly
“Reminiscent of the gentle encouragement of the Dalai Lama . . . Family-centered and practical—especially on difficult matters of familial contention—these homilies are, on the whole, gentle encouragements to do the right thing. . . . [This] collection offers clear insight into the pope’s doctrinal concerns.”—Kirkus Reviews
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About the Author
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936. On March 13, 2013, he became the Bishop of Rome and the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church.
Oonagh Stransky’s first translation of Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy, was published by Random House in 2016. She has also translated Roberto Saviano, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giuseppe Pontiggia, Carlo Lucarelli, and others. She currently lives in Tuscany.
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Dreams and Plans for the Future
With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.
The Gospel of a fulfilled life
The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept His salvation are freed from sin, sorrow, emptiness, and loneliness.
Evangelii Gaudium 1
The great question: Is hope possible, here and now?
The frantic pace of modern life seems to steal away all hope and joy from our daily lives. The pressures and the powerlessness we experience in so many situations seem to shrivel our souls; the countless challenges we face stupefy us, paralyze us. The world is speeding up to build—in theory—a better society, yet paradoxically at the end of the day there is no time for anything or for anyone. We have no time to spend with our families or our communities, no time for friendship, for consensus, or for reflection.
We should ask ourselves: How can we enact the joy of the Gospel in our daily lives, in our cities? Is Christian hope possible, here and now?
These two questions shape our identity, the lives of our families, our towns, and our cities.
Homily, March 25, 2017
A salad with oil . . .
Jesus had just finished speaking about the dangers of wealth, and about how difficult it was for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Peter asked Him, “We have left everything and followed You. What do we get in return?” Jesus was generous with Peter. He said, “Truthfully, I will say this: Everyone who left their homes or brothers or sisters or mothers or fathers or fields for My cause or for the Gospel will receive in return a hundredfold . . .”
Peter probably thought, “This is good business, then, if I follow Jesus I will earn a hundredfold!” But then Jesus added three small words: “along with persecution.” Yes, you will have eternal life. Yes, you left everything behind. Yes, you will receive many things here on earth as well. But you will also be persecuted.
It’s like salad, served with the oil of persecution. This is a Christian’s reward. This is the path that a person who follows Jesus has to take. Because this is the path that He took: He, too, was persecuted.
Homily at Casa Santa Marta, June 9, 2014
Open your heart to the Kingdom of God
In the parables, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom comes into the world humbly, growing silently yet surely wherever it is welcomed by hearts open to its message of hope and salvation. The Gospel teaches us that the Spirit of Jesus can bring new life to every human heart and can transform any situation, even apparently hopeless ones. Jesus can change everything! This is the message that you are called on to share with the people around you: at school, in the workplace, in your families, in your universities and your communities. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that He has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68), that His Word has the power to touch every heart, to conquer evil, and to change and redeem the world.
Address, August 15, 2014
How are you? Are you happy?
As Saint Paul wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always . . . The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4–5). Today I would like to ask you all a question. But you need to keep the question in your heart and take it home with you, as a kind of homework. And you have to do your homework on your own. Is there joy in your home? Is there joy in your family? That’s the question you have to answer.
Dear families, you know very well that the true joy we experience within a family is not superficial; it does not come from material things, or from the fact that everything seems to be going well . . . True joy comes from a profound harmony among people, something that we feel in our hearts and that lets us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual support along life’s journey. This feeling of deep joy is rooted in God, the presence of God in the family, and His love, which is welcoming, merciful, and respectful toward all. Above all, this love is patient. Patience is a virtue of God and we must cultivate it in family life, and learn to have this patient love for one another. To be patient with one another. A patient love. God alone knows how to create harmony out of differences. If God’s love is lacking, the family loses its harmony, individualism prevails, and joy fades. But the family that experiences the joy of faith communicates that joy naturally; joy is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It is the yeast that leavens society as a whole.
Homily, October 27, 2013
Don’t stifle your dreams
I wish to state this clearly to the young, whose freshness and optimism make them openhearted and generous. At times, uncertainty, worries about the future, and daily problems may risk paralyzing your youthful enthusiasm and shattering your dreams. You may not think that your dreams are worth the effort. You may think that the God of the Christian faith somehow limits your freedom. Dear young friends, never be afraid to attempt the journey, to venture outside yourselves! The Gospel is the Word; it liberates, transforms, and makes our lives all the more beautiful.
Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, March 29, 2015
Do you feel unfulfilled? Let yourself be embraced by God
We often fail to see God’s plan. We often realize that we cannot ensure our own happiness and eternal life. However, it is precisely when we experience our own limitations and weaknesses that the Holy Spirit comforts us. Our weaknesses help us understand what is most important: We must allow Jesus to lead us into His Father’s arms.
General Audience, June 11, 2014
The path of the saints (and you)
If there is one thing that characterizes the saints, it is that they are genuinely happy. They discovered the secret of true happiness, a happiness that lives deep within the soul and whose source is the love of God. This is why we call the saints blessed.
Homily, November 1, 2016
God comforts you like a mother
In the same way that a mother takes up the burdens and weariness of her children, so, too, does God take upon Himself our sins and troubles. He knows us and loves us infinitely. He is mindful of our prayers and He wipes away our tears. He looks at us with innate love; He is moved by us; He becomes tenderhearted. We will always be His children, no matter how badly we may act. He wants to take us in His arms, protect us, and free us from harm and evil. Let us allow these words of the Lord to echo in our hearts: “Like a mother, I will comfort you.”
Homily, October 1, 2016
The image of Christ completes you
A believer learns to see himself through the faith he professes. The image of Christ is the mirror through which a believer discovers his true self. And just as Christ embraces all those who believe, making them His body, so the Christian who sees himself as a part of this body understands his essential relationship with Christ and his brothers in faith.
Lumen Fidei 22
Be like a child in the embrace of the Holy Spirit
When the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, we feel comfort and peace. We understand how small we are. We experience the feeling—a feeling so strongly recommended by Jesus in the Gospel—of placing all our cares and hopes in God and being embraced and sustained by His warmth and protection, just like a child with his dad! This is what the Holy Spirit does to our hearts: It makes us feel like children in the arms of our dad. In this way, we understand how fear of the Lord can become docility, gratitude, and praise, and how it fills our hearts with hope.
General Audience, June 11, 2014
Excerpted from "Happiness in This Life"
Copyright © 2017 Oonagh Pope Francis.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: The Path of Happiness vii
Part I Your Search For A Meaningful Life
Dreams and Plans for the Future 3
The Secret of Life 36
Free and Liberated People 69
Part II You And Others: Happiness In Your Relationships
Let Tour Light Be Contagious 83
The Family, Life's Bounty 109
Successful Lives: When the Lord's Call Is Answered with Joy 125
The Blessings and Challenges of Womanhood 142
Part III A Hundredfold Reward-Plus Suffering
Beyond Tears and Loneliness 159
From Errors to Forgiveness 188
A Hundred Eternities 204
Part IV They Who Pray Live Serenely
Prayer Completes Us 229
Pope Francis's Prayers for a Fulfilling Life 237