We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics. My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”
Michael J Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe
Smile collectors, we are!
I agree with Phyllis Diller who said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” And one of the requirements of being a Joyful Catholic is, each day, to be a smile collector. It’s a good sport and the number of potential smile you can add to your collection is unlimited (especially in church).
I am a “hello to strangers” fellow and I keep a record of my success in initiating smiles. Four out of five times I win. And I say a quick prayer for the poor bastard who doesn’t respond. He or she must have troubles galore.
In a weekly workshop I conducted for seniors, I gave the assignment of collecting smiles, and the next week Nancy, one of the participants, had an interesting story. She was working in her front yard and when she saw a woman walking by and, remembering to be a smile collector, she called out to the stranger wishing her a good day. The woman was shocked and stood still before she thanked her. “I’m on my way to Mass,” she said, “but could I stop by to see you on my way back.”
She did, and during an hour-long coffee visit, she told of a personal problem which Nancy was able to help solve. In summarizing the experience, Nancy said, “It was a miracle because this stranger, whom I discovered to be a remarkable woman. My smile initiated a new friendship. We’re having dinner together tomorrow night.”
In conclusion, I submit this poem by Anthony Euwer, who before he died in 1955 was a far better painter than poet:
You’ll find the smile more or less healing
It grows in a wreath
All around the front teeth –
Thus preserving the face from congealing.
(And tell me about your experiences as a Joyful Catholic smile collector)
Other recommended Catholic blogs
Nicholas Kristof’s column, “Who Can Mock This Church”, in the May 2 New York Timesis a masterpiece that every Catholic should read. If you can’t locate a copy, let me know and I will send it to you. firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the April 23 Commonweal magazine.
“The Last Babylift – Adopting a child in Haiti” in the May 10 New Yorker.