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The Call to Joy—And Our Response...

My new favorite book—Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy: The Essential Guide to The Joy of the Gospelwas written by our co-worker Diane Houdek and published by Franciscan Media. By taking a closer look at what Pope Francis wrote in his apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” Diane helps us understand in very practical ways how we can incorporate that message into our daily lives.

The exhortation itself is not hard to interpret, but Diane brings to light the affinity and love that Pope Francis has for St. Francis, and how that is reflected in the pope’s teachings. The Poor Man of Assisi was known for finding joy in the simple things of life: He focused on sharing God’s love with everyone he met.

Francis of Assisi found hope in the world as he found it. Today Pope Francis follows that model, making joy one of the hallmarks of his papacy. And he wants us to take that joy and spread it around to everyone we meet. His take on evangelization is simply to live out our lives as witnesses to God’s joy that is within us.

We are all called to preach this message through our actions even more than through our words. And each of us has a gift for doing this in our own unique way—according to our personalities, our circumstances, and the particular people God brings into our lives.

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Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."