A smile can change your life
Let us ask ourselves—as both individuals and communities—how do we react when we come across people in our daily lives who might be victims of human trafficking? How do we react when we are tempted to buy products that may have been made by exploiting others? Some of us—out of indifference, or because we are distracted by daily concerns, or for financial reason—turn a blind eye. But other people decide to take action: They join civic associations or practice small, everyday gestures—and these gestures have real merit!—like saying a kind word, a greeting, a “Good morning!” or even a smile. These gestures cost us nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change the life of someone stuck in the shadows. These invisible people can change our lives, too, when it comes to this kind of thing.
Message for World Day of Peace, 2015
Don’t settle for a small life
Do you really want to be happy? In an age when we are constantly being tempted by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and living “small.” Instead: Think big! Open your heart! As Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati once said, “To live without faith, to have no heritage to uphold, to fail to struggle constantly to defend the truth: This is not living, it is getting by. We should never just get by, but really live” (Letter to I. Bonini, February 27, 1925).
Message for World Youth Day, January 21, 2014
Today takes courage
Today is a time for action and a time for courage! We need courage to steady our wavering steps, to recapture the enthusiasm of devoting ourselves to the Gospel, to recover confidence in our mission and the strength it brings. This is a time for courage, although courage alone does not guarantee success. We need courage in order to fight, but not to win; in order to proclaim, but not necessarily to convert. We need courage to find alternatives, without ever becoming polemical or aggressive. We must have courage in order to open ourselves up to the world, diminishing neither the wholeness nor the uniqueness of Christ the Savior. Courage is required in order to resist skepticism, yet without becoming arrogant. Today we must have the courage of the tax collector in the Gospel, who humbly did not dare even to raise his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast saying: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Today is a day for courage! Today, courage is needed!
Angelus, October 23, 2016
Excerpted with permission from HAPPINESS IN THIS LIFE (Random House/December 5)