Happiness in this life A passionate meditation on earthly existence

Francis, 1936-

Book - 2017

"A collection of homilies, speeches, and 'messages of the day' that brings together Pope Francis's wisdom on finding happiness in the here and now. 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."--Dust jacket flap.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 248.482/Francis Checked In
New York : Random House [2017]
Main Author
Francis, 1936- (author)
Other Authors
Oonagh Stransky (translator)
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 259 pages ; 20 cm
  • Introduction: The Path of Happiness
  • Part I. Your Search For A Meaningful Life
  • Dreams and Plans for the Future
  • The Secret of Life
  • Free and Liberated People
  • Part II. You And Others: Happiness In Your Relationships
  • Let Tour Light Be Contagious
  • The Family, Life's Bounty
  • Successful Lives: When the Lord's Call Is Answered with Joy
  • The Blessings and Challenges of Womanhood
  • Part III. A Hundredfold Reward-Plus Suffering
  • Beyond Tears and Loneliness
  • From Errors to Forgiveness
  • A Hundred Eternities
  • Part IV. They Who Pray Live Serenely
  • Prayer Completes Us
  • Pope Francis's Prayers for a Fulfilling Life
Review by Booklist Review

Though the title of the book mentions happiness, this collection of thoughts addresses something much deeper joy. Bringing together excerpts from Pope Francis' sermons, speeches, prayers, and addresses, these pieces address a range of themes, from mercy and humility to simplicity and family. Ultimately, though, each piece points to the joy of following God. The pope addresses families, single people, youth, and others, constantly reminding all that they can indeed find ultimate happiness in this life. Each excerpt is short, well suited for digesting slowly over a long period of time or reading all at once for a broader perspective. 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.--Engel, Christine Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

With this wide-ranging collection of writings, homilies, and addresses, the current pontiff dispels any notion that religious practice is dour and antiquated. True to his origins as a Jesuit priest, Pope Francis places the laity above all else and urges Catholics, especially young adults, to use their grace to help the less fortunate: "This is the prayer that a young person should make: 'Lord, what do you want from me?'" Francis endorses reading the Beatitudes in order to find true inner happiness and exhorts readers to memorize them in the same way they would memorize the Ten Commandments. Francis rails against consumerism, arguing that the desire to continually acquire material goods only leads to spiritual emptiness: "Let us distance ourselves from the longing to possess things, from the idolatry of money, and from wastefulness." This hodgepodge of quotes grouped loosely together is nonetheless inspiring. It brings together the pope's most affecting passages to inspire Catholics (and those of other faiths) to lift up those around them who suffer. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review by Kirkus Book Review

Homilies and other short inspirational writings by the leader of the Catholic Church.Inner freedom, writes Pope Francis (Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children from Around the World, 2016, etc.), "means, in a certain way, freeing yourself from your culture and its mindset." The sentiment could have come straight out of the 1960s, and it's one of several surprises to be found in this slender collection. Most popes over the course of history have been concerned not so much with this life as the next one, and this one doesn't let that emphasis slide, either. If "the secret to a good life is to love and to surrender to love," it is also to surrender to the Holy Trinity, Mary, and other celestials. Indeed, the organizing principle of the good life, by the author's reckoning, is the Beatitudes, those blessings on the downtrodden and unfortunate from the Sermon on the Mount: "Read them every day, try not to forget them. They are the Law that Jesus gives us!" If there are moments reminiscent of the gentle encouragement of the Dalai Lama"Don't stifle your dreams," for instance, and "Let's talk about the Lord with joy"there is also plenty of Jesuitical rigor, especially when the pope turns to more controversial matters: it seems clear, for example, that although Francis allows that women have a role to play in the church, that role will not include priestly professions anytime soon. Family-centered and practicalespecially on difficult matters of familial contentionthese homilies are, on the whole, gentle encouragements to do the right thing, at least as the pontiff interprets right and wrong.The author's 2015 encyclical Laudato si' makes for more inspired reading, perhaps, but this sometimes-stern but often friendly collection offers clear insight into the pope's doctrinal concerns. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Dreams and Plans for the Future With Christ, joy is constantly born anew. Evangelii Gaudium 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: A Passionate Meditation on Earthly Existence by Pope Francis All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.