Living the Joy of the Gospel

January 29, 2014

In my recent post for dotMagis, I reflected on my experience of watching people in ministry at Catholic Conferences. Reflecting on that experience as I read Pope Francis’ exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel gave me much to think about.

Reading Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation last week fueled this reflection further. I paused frequently, as I savored his words, to ask myself, “How am I proclaiming the joy of the Gospel on a daily basis?” I invite all of us to pause and reflect on these questions:

What type of person am I? One who looks like I came back from a funeral? Or one whose life glows with fervor because I received the joy of Christ?
How is God inviting me to return to the source of my joy?
How am I nurturing the source of my joy, my relationship with Jesus?
Am I living my day-to-day life in a way that allows the goodness of the Gospel to spread to others?

As we reflect on these questions, let us keep in mind that a sure sign that the Gospel is being proclaimed and bearing fruit is if joy is present (Evangelii Gaudium, #21). May all of our ministry be full of the joy of the Gospel that is rooted in our own personal encounters with Jesus!

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Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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  1. Ivetta

    Hi Becky, yes joy is a fuel for our lives. And it is natural, when you are in love with Christ and life is stable. But what about very very difficult times- real painful for decades? My life as an immigrant, without friends, family and mistreated badly by employers in strange country with so many indifferent people shook my joy badly. And that was just the beginning- than I later got married to a man with serious mental disease/ what none of us new/ and my way of the cross became harder. Please, do not look at these words as just words- many people brushed them off and turn away. This is a life of many people with identical problems. Yes I lost joy for 95%. It is now 19 years of this hopeless situation. His behavior effects everything. and yes he is on medication. But we are not cared for, we are abandoned by society and his family. My family is in Europe. Of course, we are poor too- his disability is low and I lost my part time job 3 month ago and can’t find a new one. We have children, that are influenced by this dysfunctions daily. Living in the fear and under pressure took my joy away. And no one helps or cares. What is horrible wrong and is missing- that other believers do not help deliberatly those who are suffering from mental disease and their families. This ministry is really missing. I love my Church, but this overlooked need is huge. There are more and more people being diagnosed by mental disease. Every town should have a ministry like that. You know, how much people talk about protecting human lives, unborn, elderly. Mental disease is rearly mentioned. Why? It steals the joy- but could be different, if caregivers , wives and children of these mentally sick would be nurtured. We need breaks! We never went for vacation in 19 years- some people go 2 times a year and have easy lives. We need support, love, encouragement, but not only words, we need loving actions, we wanted be noticed and share our burdens. That is why lord gave us Church. I am so tired, my body colapsing- and my mind is loosing sanity slowly. Parishes should have resources, that spouses, children could have respite, leisure- cooked food, some hobbies sponsored by church, hikes, etc. And also people with mental disease too- they need to nurture their spirit- to be able do some arts, music, etc. But that all costs- but is very needed. Other people have it and they function properly. Our dear pope Francis constantly urges church to reach out to poor and abandoned. He wants us to live it – but majority people just talk or write about it and that’s it. No real change, no love, no dying to yourselves, no sacrifice,no fruit is showing. Majority of North American people waste huge amount of money on stuff , they do not need- constantly. Bad part is that Catholics do the same- living in luxury was not way of Christ and his Apostoles. Why nobody is bothered by things how they are? Indifference steals joy- from the ones who are indifferent and those , who are victims of it.These are no politics- it is about love for neighbor. Kingdom of God is not build on on the profit and exploitation, but on the cross. If Christians will take God seriously, North America will looked and live differently, but if Catholics are slow, without fire, selfish, it won’t be any difference for another 50 years. My children were happy, they are miserable , sad and angry now and hungry. I am too. Going to the food bank is a hard thing. We live surrounded by wealthy Christians, that are living very wordly and walking on
    the wide road. Not a narrow one as Christ want them to. Society is responsible for so much and mainly the neglect of those who can’t help themselves. That is why is so important how every one of believers lives their lives faithfully. Because if they will live Christ, not their own selfishness, it would be lots of joy everywhere.


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