Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: The Joy of the Gospel

The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) by Pope Francis
Forward by Robert Barron
Afterward by James Martin, SJ

In this encyclical, Pope Francis calls us all to live the Gospel and proclaim it in our daily lives. It's easy to forget that call, given I am not a missionary in a foreign country (or even in an under-served area of our own country).
Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.
The Pope reminds us that the very joy we ourselves find in the Gospel, in the saving message of Christ's resurrection and in the love of God for each of us, calls us out of ourselves. If we are truly joyful, then we want nothing more than continuously sharing that joy.
In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the people of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization...
I didn't really need to read The Joy of the Gospel to be convinced I should be proclaiming the Good News (though a gentle and encouraging reminder is not unwelcome), but it's difficult to know how I, a homeschooling mother in rural Kansas, should be sharing the Gospel.
Today, as the Church seeks to experience a profound missionary renewal, there is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they be our neighbors or complete strangers...Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey.
While reading this book, I found myself wondering what I could be doing with all the little opportunities God is presenting to me each day, in speaking with our children, in teaching Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, in the relationships we are developing with other members of our parish. How can I reach out to others in mutual celebration or to share with someone new?

The text of the Pope's encyclical is available for free online at the Vatican website, so I thought I should comment on the book itself in this review. This is a lovely little hardcover book printed on quality paper. It's the right size for slipping into a bag or purse for adoration reading or to keep in the car (and the text can be read in small bits quite easily).

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are my own.

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