Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Receiving Our Joy

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


Nancy Ward said...

The Eucharist brings me joy no matter what circumstances I bring to his altar. I go to mass heavy with fears and trials and leave with a song in my heart because the Eucharist brings me joy in all circumstances. Rejoice always!

Jean Wise said...

I really agree with you on this one Colleen. I always try to smile and I really want to dance after communion. The pastor we have now loves to tell funny stories during his sermon. so lots of laughter does happen during our service. and you know what? It really makes a difference.

Colleen said...

Nancy, amen!! I so agree. In fact I wrote about that just recently, that no matter how I feel when I go to Mass, I always leave feeling joyful! God bless!

Colleen said...

Jean, thank you for sharing that! It does make a difference when we see - and experience - the joy. God bless!

Mary N. said...

Pope Francis certainly has a way with words! (And I love it!) I agree, lots of sour faced Catholics. I'm not sure why this is the case but to be honest... I'm afraid of them :) Lol, sounds silly but it's true!

Great post, Colleen!

Colleen said...

Mary, I know what you are saying. It is sad really. I think we should spread the joy!

Kathleen Basi said...

Oh, I like this post. :) I am deathly afraid of being viewed by the pickle-face crowd as irreverent for having fun at church.

Colleen said...

OOOhh Kathleen! I often feel the same way!