June 28, 2015
Last weekend, I attended our annual deacon retreat. The focus of the weekend was on Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium, or The Joy of the Gospel.
The document is full of rich content, encouraging all of us, as disciples, to spread the joy of our faith to the world. We are warned: Do not get so caught up in the rules and structures of the Church that we forget her message of love and service to others.
Here are just a few passages from the encyclical:
“Some Christians live like it’s always Lent! They forget about Easter.”
“Only when we imitate Christ and empty ourselves can we know true happiness.”
“Your life has meaning only insofar as you give it away. This is your true purpose and destiny. I ask you to speak about your faith with great joy!”
“Every structure we (the Catholic Church) have must be at the service of the Gospel, or else we should renew it.”
“I call on everyone to be bold and creative in finding ways to invite and welcome others in God’s name.”
“So let us go forth to offer people life in Christ. Teach them the art of self-giving love. I know it will be messy, but…I prefer a church that is bruised and dirty but out on the streets to one that is safe and sound, hiding behind its own doors.”
These are beautiful, inspiring words that we have been challenged to live out daily. What if we all took one step in that direction today?