St. Vincent de Paul often wrote, "Keep yourself gay, honoring in that way the holy tranquillity of Our Lord's soul. Be gay indeed, I beseech you. Oh, what good reasons for it do souls of good will have! You will please take care of your health and of honoring the gaiety of the Heart of Our Lord."
St. Francis de Sales also encouraged his penitents many times to a complete expansion of soul in the joy and gaiety of the children of God.
Don't think that in order to be modest, it is necessary to be strained in appearance; that to be fervent means to live in a tension; that to be recollected it is necessary to be absorbed. Far, very far from us, be such a morose Christianity that is shriveled up as if crushed between two doors. No, ours is a beautiful religion of sunshine and fresh air where souls expand in joyous love.
"Holiness among women," observed Father Faber, "is always more rigid than among men." That indicates a quality in a woman which can easily be a fault. The fault would consist in becoming too exacting and somewhat of a busybody through concern for details. It is good to want things finished, smooth, and perfect, and one can readily understand that it is permissible for the religious to extend her concern for the perfect into her striving after perfection. All will go well if there is no excess; firmness does not mean rigidity, nor strength, harshness.
"O Jesus, teach me to serve You in hymnis et canticis, in hymns and songs. Scatter the dark clouds which sometimes like to slip across my sky. Give me the grace always to prefer to seek the roses on the rose bushes rather than the thorns. Let joy reign!"_________________
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)