Joy to the Word — Not a misspelling, but an exhortation

Thanks to Notre Dame Magazine for inviting me to contribute to their “What I’m Reading” blog. You can see my response at http://magazine.nd.edu/news/50016-what-im-reading-the-joy-of-the-gospel-pope-francis/

Writing this blog post gave me a chance to meditate not only upon the joy that comes from getting to know Pope Francis better (by reading his apostolic exhortation,  Joy of the Gospel), but also upon the joy that comes from learning and pondering a “bigger story.” Journalists too often condense stories by making the content fit their mold.

I’m not saying a story has to be long, although the blog post celebrates the power of a book to reveal the context and connections that reveal the mind and heart underlying the author’s content. The blog’s point is that looking for connections–in either short- or long-form media–helps us to transcend the fault lines emphasized too often in our politics and punditry.  More importantly, it seems to me, one of Pope Francis’s points in his book-length exhortation is that looking for connections–between the good news and bad news in everyday life, between the theological insight that blesses us and the missionary impulse to go forth and bless others–brings the joy that St. Francis of Assisi embraced. And this special saint didn’t need to write books! Or even use words!

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