Thursday, November 28, 2013


The word surfaced for us yesterday when reading fairly extensive parts of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation titled Envangelii Gaudiam available in English here.  The entire document is some 224 pages long. And there, in the very title of it, is that word: Gaudium, Joy, The Joy of the Gospel.

Those of us born in Europe, and at a time before the absolute spread of secularism took full hold, many will have absorbed an old, old college song which begins with the following verse and is known popularly as “Gaudeamus” and formally as “The Shortness of Life.” We still know the melody too.

Gaudeamus igitur.
Let us then all rejoice
Iuvenes dum sumus.
While yet we are still young
Post iucundam iuventutem.
For after a youth pleasing,
Post molestam senectutem.
And after troubled aging,
Nos habebit humus.
The humus will consume us.

Different forms of joy. Gaudeamus dates to the eighteenth century, per Wikipedia, and therefore celebrates joys associated with the life of the senses. Pope Francis’ Exhortation, reaching us early in the twenty-first, points upward to a dimension which has been practically forgotten with the march of progress—but offers hope for the future. 

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