True holiness includes joy?


Hi everyone :slight_smile:

I was thinking about this today…

when I read about the Saints, I can see that they had difficult lives and suffered a lot both physically and emotionally and spiritually… and they really understood all that is wrong in the world and could recognize evil better than we often can…

and yet, they all had this peace and joy, they tried to see the goodness in people and they were kind and not harsh… they didn’t separate love from truth. Both were part of their faith.

Do you think that true holiness includes joy? I don’t mean not suffering…if we want to be holy, we will suffer. And I don’t mean constantly feeling happy: that’s not possible on earth. I’m not talking about happiness, but about joy…

when I read about St Therese, I’m sure she understood the evil in the world and I know she suffered a lot, and yet her book is so full of light and goodness and innocence, she was like a little child, and saw only good things around her…

I think that is a big part of holiness …IMO…

what do you think?

God bless :slight_smile:



I agree - as joy is one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. A person who is truly holy would have all of them evident in his or her life. My pastor suggests that a good examination of conscience is to see if there are areas of your life where you demonstrate the opposite of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.


I believe they felt the joy because it comes from experiencing the love and mercy of God toward all mankind. The joy of being united with God eternally will make everything - happiness, sorrows, etc - very little in this world.


Joy is important, for all of us. While I was discerning, I was told by several people that if I ever saw a convent with frowny faced nuns who didn’t laugh, or smile, or were not joyful, than I should run for the hills because that place just isn’t right. That isn’t to say the less light-hearted of us aren’t holy, or are less holy than we are, just that joy really is important and a joyless life is a sad one.


Joy can absolutely co-exist with intense suffering, both physical and spiritual. The holy souls in Purgatory, for probably the most ‘extreme’ example, are said to experience both joy and suffering far beyond what we know in this life, simultaneously.

And that does not mean that saints must/should/will suffer at all times, either, to be sure! What is St. Catherine who quipped ‘Lord, save me from dour-faced saints’?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit