Pope Francis has urged Catholics to live their faith with joy during his Sunday Angelus at the Vatican.
In his address, the pontiff urged Catholics to reflect on whether they live their faith joyfully, and whether they convey the joy of being Christians to others.
“The invitation to joy is characteristic of the season of Advent,” the pope spoke from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square on Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday.
Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church.
In his message, Pope Francis said Christians have so many reasons to rejoice. “Christ is risen! Christ loves you!”
He said the first condition necessary for “Christian joy” is to focus less on one’s self and to put Jesus at the center of everything.
Jesus “is the light that gives full meaning to the life of every man and woman who comes into this world,” said the pope.
“This is not alienation,” he said, “because Jesus is effectively the center.”
The pontiff cited the example of St. John the Baptist, a “leader of his time,” who lived the expectation and joy of seeing the Messiah arrive without ever drawing attention to himself.
“He always oriented himself toward the One who was to come,” said the pope.
“John left everything, in his youth, to put God in first place, to listen to His Word with all his heart and all his strength. He withdrew into the desert, stripping himself of all things superfluous, in order to be freer to follow the wind of the Holy Spirit,” he added.
Pope Francis said John the Baptist should be a model for those in the Church who are called to proclaim Christ to others.
“They are able to do so only by detaching from themselves and from worldliness, by not attracting people to themselves but directing them toward Jesus,” added the pope.
He said the Blessed Virgin Mary was also “always pointing out the Lord” and urged the faithful to “Do what He tells you.”
The Virgin Mary is an example of a joyful faith, said the pope. “This is why the Church calls Mary ‘Cause of our joy.’”
“Always the Lord at the center. The saints around, pointing out the Lord. And whoever does not point out the Lord is not holy!” said the pope. “Don’t forget joy!” said the pope. “The Christian is joyful in heart, even in trials; he is joyful because he is close to Jesus: it is He who gives us joy.”