Pope Francis was recently quoted as saying that "Sometimes these melancholic Christians' faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life."(homily, May 10, 2013)
I once heard a speaker say that too many people walk around church like they have been baptized in "pickle juice." Where is the joy, she asked?
Several years ago my husband and I were attending Mass at a church out of town. It was tourist season and the parish was holding an extra Mass in their parish hall.
During communion, we were seated behind one of the priests distributing communion so I had a good look at everyone's face as they came up to receive the Body of Christ.
Almost every single person had a sour look. Pickle juice.
It was my turn to ask, Where is the joy?
Perhaps many of us think that looking reverent means looking serious. Nothing wrong with that, but still, I think of what St. John Vianney said:
"Without the divine Eucharist there would be no happiness in this world; life would be unbearable. When we receive Holy Communion we receive our joy and happiness." - St John Vianney
It was almost Lent and I had been thinking about what changes I should make. I decided right then and there, that I would be sure to receive the Eucharist with a smile on my face. I knew, in my heart, that this was a change I needed to make. In receiving the Eucharist with joy, I would indeed be honoring the Lord who gives us Himself.
And somewhere along the way of trying to change how I looked on the outside, the joy on my face moved to my heart.
Funny how the Holy Spirit changes us. One little remark. One little event.
Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God. -Teilhard de Chardin