"May no one read sadness or sorrow in your face when you spread in the world around you the sweet smell of your sacrifice: the children of God should always be sowers of peace and joy". (St. Josemaria Escrivá)
When I read these words I thought of what a friend of mine recently said to me after I had told her about a difficult situation I was encountering. She told me: "Fight it with joy." She then went on to explain that whenever we bring joy into the picture we bring Christ, and she reminded me: "Your smile may be the only Bible someone reads." Father Escrivá would agree. In a very real way true Christian joy is the antidote to many of life's problems, and we are called to carry it around with us just like we would a bottle of pills, dispensing it wherever we go.
St. Josemaria Escrivá also wrote: "The cheerfulness of a man of God, or a woman of God, has to overflow: it has to be calm, contagious, attractive...; in a few words, it has to be so supernatural, and natural, so infectious that it may bring others to follow Christian ways." Yes! The supernatural aspect of our faith should never be forgotten! We may think a smile or a kind word doesn't do much, but we don't always see the effect it can have on someone else's soul. And when our joy is backed by prayer and faith, it is sure to lift that soul up.
"Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me;
LORD, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:10-12)
God intends for us to be a joyful people - and St. Josemaria Escrivá taught that it is up to us to allow that happiness to well up and overflow, affecting all we come in contact with. With the approach of Lent, may our days of fasting and sacrifice bring us closer to Christ and His joy.
St. Josemaria Escrivá, pray for us!