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Seven Challenges of the Joy of the Gospel

Seven Challenges from Pope Francis's Joy of the Gospel.  This document serves as a great usable introduction to, and a valuable  pastoral resource based on Evangelii Gaudium.  

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The Seven Challenges of the Joy of the Gospel, is published by the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, NSW Australia.
Text: Teresa Pirola © 2013. Design: Diocese of Broken Bay © 2013.
Enquiries: Parish Support Unit | 9847 0484 | www.dbb.org.au

Summary of the Seven Challenges.
  1. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary enthusiasm! (#80) 
  2. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization! (#83) 
  3. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of hope! (#86) 
  4. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community! (#92) 
  5. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the Gospel! (#97) 
  6. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the ideal of fraternal love! (#101) 
  7. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigour! (#109)
Read the full versions of the Seven Challenges for a more in-depth reflection on each of the challenges above.

In the spirit of Pope Francis’ joyful and action-oriented pastoral approach, here are: 

Fifty ways to live the Joy of the Gospel 
  1. Hold or touch a cross, take a deep breath, and say ‘yes’ to living this day with hope. 
  2. Start and end each day with a prayer of praise. 
  3. Be grateful for a difficult challenge. How is the Lord teaching you? 
  4. During the Easter season, throw a resurrection party. 
  5. Extend a hand in friendship to a little-known neighbour. 
  6. Take a walk in the park and allow God to speak to you through nature: sunshine, an evening breeze, the sounds of children playing. 
  7. Romance your spouse. 
  8. Congratulate a newly baptised Christian. 
  9. Welcome God’s gift of life. Rejoice in a friend’s pregnancy. 
  10. Say thank you to those who work hard for your parish, for your local community, for your nation 
  11. Break the gossip cycle. Let the nasty rumour stop with me. Or if you must gossip, start a positive (and truthful) rumour! In other words, spread joy not angst. 
  12. Take a joy-filled Scripture verse and ‘chew’ on it during the day. (Evangelii Gaudium offers examples from both Testaments in #4-5.) 
  13. Pray at the grave of a loved one. Reaffirm your belief in the gift of eternal life. 
  14. Ponder the miracle of new life. Gaze upon a newborn baby. Let your contemplative gaze draw you into the heart of God. 
  15. Look for an opportunity to genuinely affirm a family member’s appearance. 
  16. Who is the most joyful person you know? Tell them. ‘Catch’ their joy, and spread it! 
  17. Who has loved you over the years but never heard you say ‘I love you.’ Say it (or write it) today. 
  18. Be prolife. At Mass, offer a supportive smile for young couples with fidgety children. Check on an elderly neighbour, especially during a storm or in heatwave conditions. 
  19. Undertake a thankless task at home or in the parish which is usually left to somebody else. 
  20. Turn off the TV or radio, close down your computer, iphone, ipad... and be more present to your family. 
  21. Get in touch with your local neighbourhood. Walk to the shops instead of driving. It’s amazing what you will notice as you stroll along at street level. 
  22. Take your pulse and ponder the gift of life pulsing through your body. 
  23. Organise a memorable family meal. Invite a guest who doesn’t have a family to turn to. 
  24. Go to the Eucharist in your lunch hour. Invite a colleague. 
  25. Make a memory. Teach your children a game you played ‘when you were young’! 
  26. Pray the rosary. But slow down your praying! Linger over the rich biblical imagery that the rosary leads you to contemplate. 
  27. Increase the ‘joy’ level at home. Be quick to praise and slow to criticise. Choose to be enthusiastic when you least feel like it. 
  28. Lighten up. Laugh a little more. Rejoice in the divine sense of hunour. 
  29. Pinpoint a ‘grey’ area that is blocking your Easter joy. Name it. Fear? Loneliness? Sometimes just accurately identifying our burdens can help take the ‘sting’ out of them. 
  30. Unburden your heart. Release a grudge you harbour. Deepen this healing by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 
  31. In Scripture, when a messenger of God announces a great joy it is often accompanied by ‘Do not be afraid.’ Ponder this connection, and what it means for your life. 
  32. Read the story of a saint who inspires you to live life at greater heights of gospel awareness. 
  33. Treasure your freedom. Visit or write to someone in prison. 
  34. Pick up the phone and speak some encouraging words to someone who could really use them. 
  35. This week, greet others with stronger handshakes, warmer hugs, more welcoming words. 
  36. Help a person who is struggling to inject some order into life. If nothing else, help to tidy up their desk or house as a way of clearing their vision of what has to happen next. 
  37. Revel in the variety of the gifts, charisms and cultural expressions of the body of Christ. Ask somebody who is very different to you for their viewpoint on an important issue. 
  38. 38. Slow down enough to allow the ‘slower’ person to reveal his/her goodness and gifts. Take the time to listen to this person’s story, hopes and anxieties. 
  39.  Review your weekly spending on non-essentials and take steps to simplify your lifestyle. Give gifts which are simple and which express the generosity of your heart rather than the capacity of your bank balance. 
  40. Ask yourself not just: Do I give to the poor? But: Do I have friends who are poor? Are my social circles inclusive, or do they subtly exclude certain people? 
  41. 41. If you are in the process of making an important financial decision, read Evangelii Gaudium as part of your discernment and decision-making processes. 
  42. Do something to stimulate your creativity for God’s kingdom. Chat with motivating 
  43. people. Read the story of a saint. Play uplifting Christian music. 
  44. Choose one of your dreams about changing the world for the better and break it into achievable, bite-size chunks. Take your first bite this week! 
  45. Don’t be overwhelmed by the darkness. In your work for justice and the common good, celebrate each success no matter how small. 
  46.  Be attentive to injustices as they occur in the home, in the workplace, and ‘speak up’ appropriately, lovingly, firmly. 
  47. Is there a parish ministry that needs to be initiated or supported, and to which you could lend your time and talents? Take the first step today. 
  48. Be politically active on matters of human dignity. Write a constructive letter to your local MP; promote a petition; join a political party. Be ready to respond to everyday opportunities to discuss matters of faith with non-believers and with believers of other faith traditions, perhaps in response to media stories or world events. 
  49. Invite Our Lady to be a special companion, sister, mother to you. With Mary, ponder a matter in your heart. It might be a situation of great disturbance, or an event of great happiness. Either way, the Lord is to be found in the depths of this suffering, this joy. 
  50. Pray for peace each time you receive the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity.

Click here to access a full copy of the Evangelii Gaudium
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