Jerome Nadal, a 16th-century Jesuit companion of St. Francis Xavier, observed this about his friend: “His divine tact enabled him with a few winning words to endear himself to everyone he met. He got to know men so well that he worked wonders with them.”

It’s interesting that, when saints graduate into marble or stained glass, a transformation can happen that leaves them looking more at home in the next world than this one. But the fact is a saint’s work begins simply. When we consider those people who seem nearest to God, do any come to mind who aren’t smiling? I think of Jesuits I live with, my parents, an aunt who’s been in a wheelchair most of her adult life: they all have a friendship with God that is evident to me by the expression I always find on their faces.

Is there a neighbor, family member or friend for whom a smile of mine could work wonders today?

—Joe Kraemer, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the California province, is studying philosophy at Fordham University.