An Advent Journey with Pope Francis and Evangelii Gaudium, Part 2
“here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means.” Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! (Evangelii Gaudium, 10.)
Simple exhortations to be joyful are present throughout Evangelii Gaudium. Pope Francis’s personal style reflects the joy he is calling us to. Apparently, no one can remember a papal document using the term “sourpusses” until Francis came along. He writes, “One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses’.” (EG, 85)
Francis speaks in language we can understand, using imagery we are all familiar with. Is there a more academic, theological term he could have used? Who cares? We probably wouldn’t read, understand, or get so excited about the message if it was couched in dense, theological lingo.
The call to be joyful is so simple, that it risks being overlooked amid the many other issues addressed in Evangelii Gaudium. And, yet, joy is truly a powerful tool in our personal interactions and relationships with others. Joy attracts. Joy exudes positive energy. Joy is beautiful…literally.
When I’m really mad, tired, or depressed and happen to walk by a mirror and see my face, I scare myself! My children joke about staying clear of me when I have my Mad Mama Face on. It really is ugly. Scowls and frowns not only darken your facial expression, they add years to your look. Deep creases appear and gravity seems to drag your whole face down south. It’s not pretty!
My favorite photo is the one posted on the left. It was taken while I was holding my grand-daughter for the first time. Now, this was a moment of true joy…and it shows! 🙂
Our faces speak volumes without our lips making a sound. So, let’s turn up the smiles and leave the funeral faces at the door.