Daily Reflection – Sep 7, 2016
Wednesday 7 September 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31
Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear
Psalm 44(45):11-12, 14-17
Gospel Reading: Luke 6:20‑26
Today’s Note: Wednesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! (Luke 6:23)
Have you ever heard of the Duchenne smile? It’s that big broad grin that lights up your whole face and crinkles the lines around your eyes. Neurologists say that smiling like this—even if it is a forced smile that feels fake—can make a difference in your mood. They have found that this physical act is powerful enough to dispel gloominess and lift your spirits. What’s more, its effects can rub off on everyone around you.
When Jesus gave his followers the beatitudes, most of his words promised future blessings: the weeping will laugh; the hungry will be satisfied. But he changed course with his final beatitude. We are already blessed, he said, when we face hardship, and that blessing should make us leap for joy.
How do we lay hold of this joy when we don’t feel particularly happy? By adopting the Duchenne smile!
The truth is, our bodies matter. The things we do, big and little, have the potential to change our state of mind. When we meet someone new, we smile and extend a firm handshake as a way of making ourselves open and available. When we see a co-worker in the hallway, even one who has criticized us, we smile and wave as a means of extending friendship. It’s not a hollow effort; it makes a difference.
This may sound like only a human psychological formula, but it has a spiritual dimension as well. When you smile, you are resisting some of the devil’s favorite tools: discouragement, anger, and resentment.
So smile! Smile when your plans fall through or when things don’t go your way. Smile when someone says something unkind. Smile when you are tired and don’t feel like facing the day. Smile when your spouse gets home weary after a long day at work.
Don’t worry if it feels fake. Don’t worry if it makes you look like a hypocrite. Just believe that Jesus will deliver on his promises. Smile, and you’ll start to recall all the reasons you have to rejoice. You’ll start to tap into the blessedness Jesus promised. Then, watch your mood change and your heart soften.
“Lord Jesus, I choose to rejoice in the blessed life you promise me!”