“Do you smile like a stewardess? “ –Pope Francis
Sweatshirt weather, colorful leaves, apple cider, and college football are some of the reasons I love this time of the year. There is also a treasure trove of feast days of many of my favorite saints: Therese of Lisieux, Matthew, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, and Teresa of Avila. If you don’t know them, for goodness sakes look them up—they are in a category I call “crazy amazing”!
Call me eccentric if you wish, but these are people I consider friends. Through the example of their lives, they help me realize that Jesus is the real lover of our souls, and that all the blessings He showers upon us are the means He uses to urge us to love Him in return. When you combine the sunshine and bonfire weather with the inspiration, it’s just a great big hug from our Awesome God, reminding me each autumn just how much I am loved.
Unfortunately, it’s not so for everyone. Chances are, I’m preaching to the choir here. I’d be willing to bet that MOST Catholic blog readers who’ve made their way this deep into the internet world are likely people who already know that Jesus loves them.
So, here’s the question: Do you act like someone who knows God loves them, or do you smile like a stewardess?
This is the question posed recently by Pope Francis to a group largely made up of religious men and women. It was shared, essentially, as a one sentence conscience exam on sanctity. It struck me as a remarkable, powerful, and extremely simple bit of wisdom.
St. Teresa of Jesus said it years ago, “A sad saint is a sad saint.”
We all know when a smile is forced and inauthentic. Let’s try saying “buh-bye” to whatever is not genuine. We all respond to a smile that is the fruit of joy and holiness.
Here’s why it’s so incredibly important.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” — Mother Teresa
Today, I am issuing a challenge to all willing to take it. Let’s BE Christ today. The world is filled up with people whose hearts are lonely and broken. We are the hands and feet of Christ. Look around today. Share a brave, genuine smile, or a cheerful gesture. Then, repeat tomorrow. Who’s with me?
If you’re not yet convinced, don’t take it from me, read this last little bit from one of our great October saints who says it much better than I could (his feast IS TODAY):
Gloom is no Christian temper; repentance is not real which has not love in it. We must live in sunshine, even when we sorrow; we must live in God’s presence, we must not shut ourselves up in our own hearts, even when we are reckoning up our past sins. — John Henry Cardinal Newman