“A Christian is never bored or sad. Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy.” – Pope Francis on Twitter, June 30, 2013
I’m usually a fan of Pope Francis’ short statements but this one needs interpretation.
Earlier in the week I complained about my own existential boredom and sadness. Had our Lord not intervened in my life yesterday, today’s papal tweet would’ve shamed me and since I was trying to love Christ, it wouldn’t have helped and would’ve done nothing but make me feel badly! After yesterday’s intervention, I can see that there was something in the way of my love for Christ that kept me from radiating joy but until I could see that obstacle, the boredom and sadness were very real and demanded my attention. In fact, the boredom especially prompted me to call upon God in prayer and now today everything is bright and shiny.
In theory, one who loves Christ is full of joy but when it comes to the entire range of feelings, it has to be both/and not either/or. Feelings are your friends, they give you information. I think God is pleased when we bring our feelings to prayer even if they aren’t only joy! I don’t think we stop loving as we stumble along the spiritual path that has obstructions, potholes, and weeds–like boredom and sadness. We can’t just deny or reject everything that isn’t joy. Though these things may obscure our love for a time, until they are cleared (through our effort and God’s grace), we have to see and acknowledge them in order to clear them. I think we find the courage to do that work because we love and we believe that Love will sustain us and we will radiate joy once again.