In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:
1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle,” he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."
2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."
3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist looks back on how he lived his life: one image of himself is as a pool of water to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."
4. "A healthy sense of leisure." The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with
children have been lost, he said. "Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people... It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said.
8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self esteem... Letting go of negative
things quickly is healthy."
9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. ...Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction,” the pope said.
10. Work for peace. "We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic.
How might we apply these principles to our own lives, and for our parish community?
Fr David Pascoe