As a freshman in high school, I strutted to my locker each morning with a large caramel frappucino, a full set of acrylic nails, and my uniform skirt waistband rolled. Somewhere across campus, I could sometimes hear my high school’s chaplain, Father John Parks, screaming for joy about the Sacraments.
I probably rolled my eyes, and I wondered for the first time why people who knew Jesus seemed to have so much joy. Of all the arguments presented to my hardened heart about the Catholic faith, this one was the most compelling—that if I got to know Jesus, I could be screaming-for-joy-before-8am-type-of free.
Today is the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier, a missionary who was known for his colorful, zealous witness to the Gospel. His enthusiasm for the Lord animated his historic missions throughout Asia where he baptized entire villages and brought about miraculous healing. During his ministry, particularly in Japan, he could not employ lofty, intellectual arguments to evangelize, as he was met with a challenging language barrier. Instead, it was his conviction and enthusiasm for the Gospel which invited thousands to encounter with their Creator.
When I think about how Saint Francis showed the communities to whom he pastored that life with Jesus is joyful, I am reminded of how Father Parks witnessed to me and how I am called to witness to others.
Sometimes I find I am so concerned with proving the goodness of the Church in drawn-out arguments and apologetics that I forget the substance of my life is the more compelling witness. I focus so much energy on being right and respected instead of radically hopeful and joyful.
Sister, I desperately want to live more like Jesus, so that when people catch a glimpse of my life, they wonder where all the joy comes from. I want to live inside the power of the Cross, so much so that people around me would wonder what life without self-protection and shame is like. I want my confidence, steadiness, and resilience to point to the Resurrection. I want it all to be about Him.I want it all to be about Him. // @sarahericksonn Click To Tweet