A Smile: Sign of the Spirit

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on January 23, 2013

in Blogs

An old riddle asks, “What is the longest word in the dictionary”? In case you don’t remember, the answer is smiles because there is a mile between the beginning and end. I’ve been reflecting on how a smile goes a long way in making a difference in others’ lives and in our own. How uplifting it is when the clerk in the checkout line smiles at you or when a total stranger smiles and greets as you pass on the street. Mother Teresa said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Oddly, when we smile, we feel better. It elevates our mood. That’s why a 1927 song advises, “Let a smile be your umbrella.” A smile can see us through dark and rainy days. Why do you think smiley faces became so popular?

There are all kinds of smiles, some not so good: sad smiles, wicked smiles, gloating smiles, derisive smiles. But the best kind of smile is the one that reflects peace and joy. And joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It’s a sign that God is alive and well within us. Smiling is an easy act of love. For a long time people have claimed that a smile takes fewer muscles while a frown requires many more. (The numbers of muscles cited vary.) So, as another song says, “Turn your frown upside-down and you will have a smile.” (Though as one wit observed, frowns burn more calories!) Smiles are as contagious as the flu.

Sometimes it’s pointed out that in the Gospels Jesus never laughs. But it’s also true that he is never described as smiling. However, because he was truly human, he must have smiled. This is something that we do and animals don’t (though they may look like they are smiling). I imagine that Jesus smiled a grateful smile when his mother served him a good meal or presented him with a new homemade tunic. He probably smiled encouragingly at his disciples. And I’m sure he smiled broadly to see Zacchaeus up a tree and to hear Mary Magdalene at the tomb assuming he was the gardener  and offering to carry away his dead body single-handed.

So, as another song directs, let’s “smile, smile, smile,” and brighten the world. Shouldn’t we look like we are the bearers of Good News?

When has someone’s smile made a difference in your life? Recapture the picture of that person smiling at you.

What other times do you think Jesus smiled?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeena Pauline February 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

Smile a while
and while you smile
another smiles
and soon you have
miles and miles of smiles
and life is worthwhile
because you have smiled.


Kathleen Glavich, SND February 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Jeena Pauline. I never saw this before.


Leave a Comment