VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Using a phrase that translates literally as “the face of a pickled pepper,” Pope Francis said that when Christians have more of a sourpuss than a face that communicates the joy of being loved by God, they harm the witness of the church.
“The Christian is a man or woman of joy,” the pope said May 10, giving a homily during his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
While happiness is a good thing, the pope said, it’s not the same as the profound joy that comes from “the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father.”
If one tries to be happy all the time, he said, that happiness ends up “transforming itself into lightness, superficiality and leads to a state of lacking Christian wisdom; it can make us fools, dupes, no?”
“Joy is something else. Joy is a gift from the Lord. It fills us from the inside,” the pope said at the Mass attended by staff from Vatican Radio and concelebrated by Venezuelan Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida and Abbot Notker Wolf, the Benedictine abbot primate.
The joy the Lord gives cannot be “bottled up so we can keep it with us,” he said. “If we want this joy just for ourselves, in the end it will make us sick and our hearts will shrivel up and our faces will not transmit that great joy, but nostalgia, that melancholy that isn’t healthy.”
Joy naturally leads to generosity, he said.
Pope Francis said joy is a “pilgrim virtue,” one that moves Christians to journey out into the world preaching the Gospel and proclaiming Christ.
Joy, he said, “is one of the virtues of the great,” of those who don’t allow themselves to get caught up in silly little annoyances or in “little things inside the community of the church; they always look to the horizon.”
“The Christian sings with joy and walks carrying this joy,” the pope said.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103