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Rejoice in the good news of the Church
Apart from Christmas and Easter, Gaudete Sunday is maybe my favorite day of the Church year. If you’re a regular reader, you probably know this, because I inevitably end up talking about it every year. And what could be better? Gaudete — rejoice — the Lord is near!
I am grateful for the Church’s wisdom in providing a space on the liturgical calendar that heightens our expectations in a healthy way as we approach Christmas. Yes, we are patiently waiting and preparing our hearts for the coming of our Savior — but we can do so joyfully.
And that’s a reminder we need these days more than ever as we struggle through the multitude of problems facing our world and our Church, not to mention the everyday stresses and trials of life. It can be easy to overlook the good, to pass by the joy. But it can also be devastating.
With that in mind, about two months ago, I started up “What’s the Good News?” — a weekday newsletter that highlights one “good news” story happening in the Church. The wide-ranging story topics have included service, prayer, loving one’s neighbor, evangelization, acts of kindness, ministry and catechesis, and many more. A couple of my favorites include the sisters who started a modest dress company because they couldn’t find anything beautiful and appropriate to wear, and the longtime shoe shine at Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans who has a kind and caring word for all who pass him by. Each story inspires and is chosen to bring a smile to the reader’s face. Gaudete! Rejoice! There is so much good in our world, if only we had the eyes to see it.
About two weeks after someone has subscribed to “What’s the Good News?”, I send a follow-up email to the reader asking them what they think. Here have been some of the responses: “Nice to read positive stories!” “Uplifting!” “I enjoy hearing about how God is working through others’ lives.” “Inspiring.” “Brings me a smile and gives me hope.” “A real day-booster.”
I love to get these responses, because I hear my own thoughts reflected in them. It is just as inspiring for me to find and share these stories as it is for others to read them. The human heart longs for truth, beauty and goodness. The human heart longs to see the positive work of God’s hand in our society and in the lives of those who choose to follow him. The human heart longs for hope amid a broken world.
There is also a longing to know God better. And that’s the need that the second component of “What’s the Good News?” tries to address. Below the good news story of the day, I include a quote that I found meaningful from that day’s Gospel reading. It’s in graphic form, so it’s easily shareable on social media or simply downloadable on your phone for further reflection and prayer. (Now that we’re past the final weeks of the liturgical year, the tone of these Gospel quotes has improved mightily!)
If this sounds appealing, perhaps you’ll continue joining those of us who seek to celebrate and share the good news of our Church and of Christ by signing up for this daily newsletter. You can get started at reply.osv.com/goodnews.
This daily dose of good news — both in our Church and in Scripture — doesn’t amount to much. The quotes are short, and the emails are simple. But we don’t really need much to remind us of the joy ever-present in our Church. The joy that comes from loving and following Jesus Christ. Gaudete! Rejoice! The Lord is near.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editorial director for periodicals at OSV. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.