“Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but ‘by attraction’.” Pope Francis said this in Gospel of Joy, 15.
What do people see when they look at my life? Do I share my joy with others? Point out horizons of beauty? Invite others to a “delicious banquet” simply by living my life?
Do I live an attractive life? What exactly does that look like?
First I ask...What attracts me to others?
For me, someone who is open, friendly, warm, sincere, joyful and makes me laugh is attractive. Someone who, when she walks in a room says, “Oh, there YOU are” Instead of, “Hellloooo! Here I am!” Someone humble and kind.
Someone who truly cares. Someone who will drop what she is doing to help me if I am in need. Someone who genuinely “sees” me.
Hmmm- does this describe me? Am I this kind of person for others?
We find all of these beautiful characteristics in Jesus.
He was always seeking out people-- those front and center, like the Pharisees-- and those...well... not “center stage”, Zacchaeus, for instance. Jesus even sought out those who did not necessarily want to be found, such as the Samaritan woman at the well. He seemed to make everyone feel special because He saw beyond the external. He truly saw “in” them, not just what met the eye.
In order to live this attractive life, I must always be “others focused.”
How? I must first look to God to meet my needs and fill me up, instead of looking to others to fill me. If I have the blessing of being around a joyful “others focused” person, great! But even then, I must look to God to meet my needs in order for His love to flow freely through me and out to a needy world.
How do I do this? Prayer, the sacraments, scripture reading and just hanging around Jesus-- “wasting time with Jesus”. If I do not make the time to be filled--to sit and just be with Him-what the world will get from me is sadly not very “attractive” (if you don’t believe me-- just ask my family!) If I want to “be Jesus” I must first be WITH Jesus. I take Him in and He take me in and we commune with each other as One. I must stay close to the “Fount of all Goodness” if I want to be good to others.
I pray that we can live this attractive life, a life like Jesus, because if the world could really see Jesus IN us and THROUGH us, the Church would be filled to overflowing. The beautiful horizon would be filled with hope for a sweeter tomorrow. And we would all be feasting at the delicious banquet of the Lamb...Thy Kingdom Come...Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
“And may the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. And so, direct the works of our hands over us; direct the works of our hands.” Psalm 90:17
I want to be attractive to others but only as much as it leads them straight to You. FIll me up to overflowing with Your Spirit so that what comes from me is what came from you… “streams of Living Water.” May I have Your joy--the joy that makes life complete and satisfies. May I point always to horizons of hope because You are always there attracting, beckoning us forwards...ever deeper into the Newness and Beauty of You.
Give me You, Lord Jesus, as nothing else is worthy of the asking.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.