no funeral faces for evangelizers!

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.

7 thoughts on “no funeral faces for evangelizers!

  1. Love your “down to earth” personal response to Evangelii Gaudium. Thanks for making us aware of the jewels hidden within this unusual papal document. Your love and enthusiasm for Francis are shared by many – he is a ‘new window’ encouraging us in living an authentic faith.

    1. Thanks! I’ve read many commentaries on Evangelii Gaudium that are basically summaries. I gave it a first read through, and had the feeling of drinking water from a fire hydrant! There really are a lot of “jewels” hidden within. I’m basically taking a lectio divina approach with this series – a method I love.

      Did you know the I was first introduced to lectio divina by a wonderful Holy Names Sister back in my high school days? 😉

  2. I need to buy a new box of highlighters! Love this Francis and this document. I feel a ground swell of new evangelization coming, not through proselytizing but “by attraction”. Some of our faith communities are growing because of immigration (thank God for the Filipino community) and not by evangelization – we need to be more attractive! Each of us must be willing show the hope that we have in Christ, and not by coming out of Mass every Sunday looking like we have been sucking on lemons for an hour. I’ recall a day when a greeter at Mass commented on the fact that my wife and had such joyful smiles as we entered the church…aren’t we supposed to smile when we come to give thanks?

    1. Maybe we need to post a mirror outside the church doors so we can all check our smiles before we enter. Oh, and how about one for checking them on the way out too!

      Before the last conclave, I wrote a piece about wanting a smiling Pope… whose picture hanging in the church foyer would make me want to smile back. Francis nailed it! 🙂

  3. Like the mirror idea…BTW, your smile in your picture is so joyful!
    Being a grandparent is sooooo cool!

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