268. The word of God also invites us to recognise that we are a people: “Once you were no people but now you are God’s people” (1 Pet 2:10). To be evangelizers of souls, we need to develop a spiritual taste for being close to people’s lives and to discover that this is itself a source of greater joy. Mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people. When we stand before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love which exalts and sustains us, but at the same time, unless we are blind, we begin to realize that Jesus’ gaze, burning with love, expands to embrace all his people. We realize once more that he wants to make use of us to draw closer to his beloved people. He takes us from the midst of his people and he sends us to his people; without this sense of belonging we cannot understand our deepest identity.
Does it have to be about being a people? Do the introverts among us have a reasonable protest? My sense is that Pope Francis is driving at the importance of compassion for others. Extroverts have no monopoly on affect. In fact, some introverts bring a very deep passion for others. It’s a question more of energy than choice. As an introvert, I notice my preference for being closer to fewer persons than more. But I am called to offer the same embrace Christ offers.
Will we ever get to the point where we can savor being with others? At worst, it’s something for which to pray.
Evangelii Gaudium is online here.