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Posted July 12, 2014

Book: Pope Francis and Our Call To Joy
Author: Diane M. Houdek
Franciscan Media. Cincinnati, OH. 2014. Pp. 75

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Following the example of his namesake St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis has made joy one of the hallmarks of his papacy. It is the joy he calls us to see in the simple things in life and a focus on sharing God's love with everyone we meet. It is that joy that impacts upon his way of looking at the world of hope and possibility, of real connections over the distance that can accompany formality. Ultimately, Pope Francis has pointed to joy that is found in the personal encounter we can have with Christ in the Gospels.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Challenge of the Institutional Church

The pope seems to recognize that all too often the institutional Church can be its own worst enemy in the call to go forth and proclaim the Good News of salvation. He recognizes that appearance matter. He knows that we need to live the truth we proclaim.

"Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires; I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: Give them something to eat."

Table of Contents:

1. "We have found the Messiah" Encountering Jesus in the Gospels

2. The Church meets the real world

3. "All are welcome" Gathering with others as a community of faith

4. "Don't let the devil steal your joy" Overcoming obstacles and resistance

5. "Let us begin again" Returning to the word of God

6. The special place of the poor and vulnerable

7. Peace and the common good

8. A renewed impulse to share our faith