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BELONG

A digital weekly newsletter for your Cathedral Community

  BELONG 18.22 | June 10, 2018  |  "Your Cathedral - Your Catholic Faith"

Pope Francis: “You can’t [fully] live the Gospel without joy.”
By Luca Zennaro

Did Jesus laugh? In the Gospels there is no specific reference that he did. Unfortunately, some have taken this as a sign and end up too somber. But if we believe that Jesus was fully human, he must have laughed. How else does he captivate his audience across three years, because it couldn’t have been serious and somber 24/7. From the outside looking in (e.g., non-Christian viewing a Christian or group of Christians), is it appealing to see a group that never seems to be having fun? That’s the point of Pope Francis’ recent comments, wherein he stresses the importance of joy for living a Christian life. This excerpt from an article by Luca Zennaro for Aleteia captures this Christian imperative.

[Pope Francis] pokes a little fun at sad-faced Christians, as he reminds us that the best way to evangelize is to ... SMILE.

Recently, Pope Francis visited one of the parishes is his Diocese of Rome, taking a few moments for a spontaneous question-and-answer session with the faithful.

One young woman (age 15) told Francis about how she had found a true community and support in her parish after the recent death of her father. But, she lamented, many of her peers find the church boring.

This gave the pope occasion to speak about one of his favorite themes: joy!

“Jesus didn’t rise from the dead so we could cry!” he exclaimed.

He pokes a little fun at sad-faced Christians, as he reminds us that the best way to evangelize is to … SMILE.

So many times, those companions of yours are right. Because some people, some pastors, some nuns, some lay people are truly boring… And they wear a face such that you don’t know if it’s a pastor’s face, that of a man, of a woman who works in the Church, or the face you put on for a wake before a funeral. You can’t tell. A funeral!

The joy of the Gospel: the Gospel always brings joy. And this is true not only for pastors, but also for lay people, for everyone. I would even say that many times I’ve found in parishes more embittered lay people with “vinegary” faces than priests or nuns.

We are disciples of Jesus, who seek to do the things that the Gospel tells us. And this always makes joy well up within us. And they see the joy and say, “Why are they so joyful?”

This happened during the early Church. As soon as the Church was born, after the Holy Spirit came, the people looked and said, “Look, these people are happy! And, [look] how they love each other! They don’t tear each other down.” Because they were people whose joy attracted others. You can’t live the Gospel without joy: joy is the condition for living the Gospel, understood?

[SOURCE; https://aleteia.org/2018/05/10/popes-advice-for-parish-workers-dont-take-your-coffee-with-vinegar/?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=english_page&utm_medium=aleteia_en&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1526163206

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 RELATED BOOK SUGGESTION:
James Martin’s Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the heart of the Spiritual Life.

Here’s the author’s sales pitch:

“I’ve met so many religious folks with sour faces that it makes me wonder why they seem to believe that the absence of joy is a necessary part of their spiritual lives. In some religious circles joy, humor, and laughter are viewed … as excessive, irrelevant, ridiculous, inappropriate, and even scandalous. But a lighthearted spirit is none of these things. Rather, it is an essential element of a healthy spiritual life and a healthy life in general. When we lose sight of this serious truth, we cease to live life fully, truly, and wholly. Indeed, we fail to be holy.” ~James Martin

One place you can get a copy of his book is at https://www.amazon.com/Between-Heaven-Mirth-Laughter-Spiritual/dp/0062024256/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528237519&sr=1-1&keywords=between+heaven+and+mirth

Prefer seeing a video by the author on this topic click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys5Uxy7qjmY

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PRAYER FOR JOY: Three statements from the Gospel of St. John

Lord, turn my sorrow into joy. (John 16:20)

Lord, cause my heart to rejoice, and my joy let no one take from me. (John 16:22)

Lord, teach me to ask and receive, that my joy may be full. (John 16:24)

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Altera septimana (Latin for “until next week”)!

 

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BELONG 18.02 - January 12, 2018
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BELONG is a weekly informative news service highlighting matters of faith formation, from the parish of St. John the Evangelist, Boise’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. It is a free information and educational service. The “Belong” banner colors are derived from the interior accent colors of the Cathedral pews, and the Cathedral altar represents our focal meeting point. Subscribe at our website BoiseCathedral.org

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