There is an inner, deep-seated feeling of joy that is experienced by true Catholics. Do you experience this feeling? It transcends mere human happiness because it comes from God and is rooted in God. This soul-lifting joy stems from the knowledge of the very nature of the Catholic Church – one true Church founded by Christ – and the belief that since Christ is the Head of the Church, their membership of the Church makes them part of Christ’s body (Cf. 1 Cor. 12: 12-31; Col. 1: 18; Eph. 1: 22-23). This is in fact true. Jesus Christ founded the Church to bring all men to salvation. And, for this purpose he has given the Church the means whereby those who are in it can be sanctified and saved. We have this joy and rejoice in it even though we know that as Christ says, he has other sheep that do not belong to the flock. In the knowledge that the Catholic Church was established by Christ comes the identity of the Church as the continuing presence of Jesus on earth, for he says, “Behold, I am with you until the end of time” (Matt. 28: 20). What great joy and assurances these words bring to those who are members of His Church and form part of His body! And all those who belong to His fold he sustains with the power of the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit who comforts, teaches, leads and infallibly guides the Church at all times to the knowledge of truth. It is by the power of this same spirit that hearts of Catholic faithful are filled with joy. The fruit of joy is the awareness that God is one’s strength and protector.
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.