Prince Rupert was once riding through the forest with his court. They had been out hunting all day and were returning home in the twilight. As they rode along they were very quiet. Suddenly the silence of the evening was broken by a man's voice lifted in song. The Prince stopped his court and listened. The voice of the singer was praising God's love and mercy. "Doubtless," said the Prince, "this is some good monk at his evening song. Let us go find him and pray with him." They followed the voice and it led into the cave. The Prince went to the door of the cave and then stopped in surprise. It was no monk at his vespers. It was no lucky soul pouring thanks to God. The beautiful melody in praise of God's love and mercy came from the lips of a leper-man stricken with a loathsome disease. The Prince was so impressed that he too began to sing the hymn and all his court with him. St. Theresa of Avila once said that a sad saint is no saint at all-and it is true. Saints are not gloomy people who are always singing blues. They are happy and cheerful souls full of laughter and joy. Those who live the strictest life on earth-Carmelite nuns and trappist monks are always the most cheerful souls on earth. They remember St. Paul's advice, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice." In any group of children you will always find a sulky one, and you will always find a cheerful one. You will always find too that the cheerful child has a clear conscience, because joy is one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Try not to be like the sulky one but like the cheerful one. Once when a boy died, his friends asked that these words put over his grave, "It was easier to be good when he was with us," because he was so cheerful. He rejoiced in the Lord always, and even now is rejoicing with the Lord forever. Cheerfulness spreads and makes everyone happy. So as a special preparation for the coming season of Christmas this is the season of joy, make an effort during this week to be especially cheerful to everyone. Rejoicing in His coming to earth, we should welcome Him to a joyous world. If a leper in a cave can sing the praises of God, so can we. Rejoicing always in the Lord is the best way to have the Lord rejoice always in us.
- Heirs of the Kingdom, Imprimatur 1949 -