"Pope: Sad Christian Faces Are like Pickled Peppers"

The Pope spoke emphatically as he remarked on profound realities of Christian souls.
see www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=7632

I read something similar on another Catholic news site. Great article! Our Faith is a great thing, but who’d believe that if we’re walking around looking miserable?

He meant “pick a peck”


I love this Pope!


Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. (Is. 53:3)

his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness… (Is. 52:14)

And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:43-44)

Does that sound like he was the picture of Hollywood happiness?

Or what about these believers?

They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted… (Heb. 11:37)

Or Paul & Co.?

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. (2 Cor. 1:8 [emphasis mine])

How about…

**Philippians 4:4 **Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

John 15:11-11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Ecclesiastes 3:12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;

** Matthew 16-18** “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do [or "be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces"], for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.**

On the fact that this joy is UNCONDITIONED JOY, not brought about by anything external:

[quote]Ecclesiastes 5:10

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

I must say Pope Francis just rocks. He just puts it so accurately, so pin-pointedly.

It is a gift from God. We have this joy no matter what happens to us, whether good or evil, we rest forever in the Lord without attachment to anything externally but with the “peace which passeth” understanding in our hearts.

I found this message slightly uncomfortable. I believe Pope Francis is right on some level, but having been depressed and anxious for nearly a year, I find it is impossible to force myself to be joyful, for isn’t joy found within? I try so hard but my life is constantly disturbed and sorrowful.

Being bombarded with similar messages by lots of people makes me feel even worse, I wonder if I was skipped when the gifts of joy and peace were handed out.

Not at all.

Remember why we are happy. We have something to look forward to after we die. We have a reason for our happiness. If we stay the course, we have a Father who loves us and desires us whom we will be with forever. :slight_smile:

That’s not to say depression or anxiety is necessarily unfounded or wrong. I am wrestling with a sin that’s been eating at me for seven years. I have much to be ashamed of and depressed over.

Thank God it’s not the end and hopefully I will shuffle off this mortal coil a free man.

Rejoice in the freedom you and all of us who cling desperately to God look forward to after this mortal life.

At least, if this life sucks, we have something to look forward to.

What does Hollywood happiness have to do with Christian joy and what Pope Francis said?! Sometimes I’m amazed at how many people there are…Catholics no less…that feel the need to correct the popes.

We all go through tough times, and I’d bet that the pope wasn’t picking on people who are suffering clinical depression, or grieving, etc. I’d also bet the ones he was mainly referring to are the ones…and every parish has at least one…that seem to equate religion with having to walk around all gloomy, moaning about the sinfulness in the world, and among all the believers around them, and whatever else they can think to gripe about.

Here’s lookin’ at you SSPX. :slight_smile:

You are right. You can’t force yourself to be joyful. But you can allow the Lord to help you think differently to mortify the “optional” negative emotions. I say “optional” not in that you currently have a conscious choice, but in that it is possible to mortify them.

For example, sadness is unavoidable, if you have human feelings. But the emotions of depression and anxiousness do not necessarily follow, except that since we were little kids we were trained that way. That’s why the Lord gives us the paradoxes He does, challenging the status quo as to how people think about things.

In my case, my psychosis was supposed to have followed me to my grave, but after years of turmoil and me nearly letting go a few times during deep despair, the Lord saw fit not only to heal me, but to open my eyes into the kingdom (yes it’s something for here and now not just wishful thinking for after you die) and show me how everything that happened during the last 12 years – losing my engineering career to the tune of $1.5 million cash and benefits and raising my six kids in poverty and becoming a social outcast to where some people were scared of me – was all one big orchestrated gift from God after which He brought me into his kingdom. Not only that, but #1 son has decided to give up his career in engineering at a secure job he’s successful at, to enter the seminary in August.

And it all makes sense now. It’s hard to describe without a lot of words, but when one is this happy and serene as I am now, it seems all the components of the past seem to have conspired to have brought about this peace of mind. My psychiatrist says that it is “very rare” even among those with no mental illness history, and even doctors, to have a mind this calm and clear. Having been healed by the Lord is wayyy better than apparently never being “broken” in the first place!

I give you all this background so that you don’t think I’m just a “don’t worry be happy” cliche. I am living proof the the Lord can and will heal mental illness, so when and if he opens our eyes into the kingdom according to His will, we will comprehend the kind of perpetual joy that goes along the the peace of Christ. The peace of Christ is unconditional and gets you through good and bad times. The world cannot give you peace, but only comfort – by giving you comfortable conditions for a period of time, which is by definition both temporary and conditional. Seek first the things of the kingdom, and all other things will be given to you as well! :heaven:


P.S. I just shared the article on facebook. I’m hoping some of my new age facebook friends will see it and “Like” what our pope has to say. My Christian friends will like it, but that’s not really a test, is it? :wink:

P.P.S. It’s nice to have a pope who at least speaks clearly enough we can understand what he’s saying without first getting a degree in theology and canon law. :thumbsup:

Amen to that!

The Pope wasn’t talking about people in situation like yourself with clinical depression and I hope and pray that you are getting help for this. The Pope was speaking about our persona and what we project to others and that says a lot about our faith. A constant down in the dump affect, the constant focus on the down that too many give off. Everyone faces trail and tribulation. It’s not putting on a smiley face even if I feel like garbage but showing forth a quiet joy and strength of faith that comes from God.

I think a lot of Christians come across as angry because we are continually angry on political issues. I think we should teach, explain, make our cases, hold our ground, etc. But we don’t have to be angry and aggressive – that’s not how Jesus taught us to deal with adversaries. If we are angry about it then we just become one side of the fight instead of what we want to be, which is the side who is taking the moral/spiritual high ground.

“Pope: Sad Christian Faces Are like Pickled Peppers”

Looks at pickled peppers in the refrigerator…I don’t get it. I honestly don’t.

Alan, I wish I could say I was happy for you, but I can’t. That emotion is now a memory to me. The best I can do is pleased. Pleasure pales in comparison to happiness, just as happiness pales in comparison to joy. Unfortunately, because of this, most of us are more bitter than joyful.

I hold no opinion on the appearances of pickled peppers. Maybe he meant it looks like we just bit into something sour?

I understand your distinction between pleased and happy. It sounds like a distinction I make between comfort and peace. The world can temporarily give us conditional comfort, by giving us good conditions. The peace of Christ is unconditional and eternal, and follows us through the ups and downs. Unfortunately, I think the Church could do a much better job at helping the majority of Catholics find that peace, which is more than just avoiding sin and going to Mass. I think we need less focus on information, and more on transformation. We all can be transformed by God, but most Catholics have no guidance in this matter, nor do they even realize they are missing anything. And I say it’s because we focus on the cataphatic tradition of the Church, basically the theology, at the expense of the apophatic tradition of the Church, which is more about mystery. It’s like we all study what we believe we know about God, but by and large we don’t know how to access the mystical mysteries of the Kingdom.



Oh my goodness gracious I love Papa Francis! :smiley:

Good work and research. And quoting scripture benefits us all. We are to test all the spirits to see if they are from God.

The Pope is right nonetheless (on MOST days). Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice is part of the Christian story, was also one of Paul’s quotes… Peter and the apostles praising the Lord after they’d been beaten by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin because they “suffered for the name” of Jesus, is another example.

Jesus says we must carry our crosses. Solemn. Consider the Lillies of the Field! Hopeful. Mourning? Can be blessed.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Laughing all the time - not so good.

Luke 6:24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 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.

26 Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.

It would seem there is a balance. What the Pope was addressing I think is that a sad face may be taken for (and actually be reflecting) a lack of faith or hope in God. It rather argues against the Good News.

At some point the funny adage kicks in: “If the kingdom of God is within YOU make sure to inform your face about it.” < Not scripture, but good advice with many back up scriptures.

We should remember that Jesus counsels people who are fasting, not to LOOK like they are miserable. And keeping the "see what a martyr I am’ looks to yourself – as God will reward sacrifices secretly done.

Matthew 9:15

Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Here Jesus justifies a time of rejoicing. But acknowledges that there will be a time for sorrow as well.

Some scriptures on Joy" (which is usually accompanied by a pleasant face):


Paul, Peter and John in the NT have these takes (but again thanks for calling to mind those scriptures that balance these at the proper time):

**1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 ** But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.

1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

**2 John 1:12 ** Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

Here’s another article, from Catholic News Service, on what Pope Francis said:
Sourpusses hurt the church’s witness, mission, pope says at Mass

A little snip from it that may be helpful:

While happiness is a good thing, the pope said, it’s not the same as the profound joy that comes from “the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father.”

So, yeah, I think he’s right on. Sourpusses are definitely not helpful to the Church’s mission. How can one spread the Good News when they look like they’re so miserable they probably don’t even like themselves let alone others?

I think this link breaks it down into quotes that help bring to light what the pope is gettin’ at. Although, IMO it shouldn’t be necessary. It seems that there are a lot of folks who have to analyze the daylights out of something and make it some big intellectual exercise. Or maybe they just feel the need to disagree or find fault with everything our leaders say.


I think Papa Francisco was thinking of oil-pickled peppers, because…well, look at them!


And oh, do you want to obey Papa Francisco, to avoid looking like picked peppers? Click the link on my sig! :smiley:

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