Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We All Want to be Happy

St. Augustine said, "All persons want to be happy and no one is happy who does not have what they want." An obvious fact, perhaps, but a layperson writing in the Seoul diocesan bulletin believes that what we want must not  be influenced by our moods or by any particular environment we find ourselves in. It must be based, he says, on something more permanent than these transient things.

He recalls his days in the military, in his early 20s, at which time he received word that his mother had died in an accident, and a few years later his father  died following an illness. 

His whole life changed in the coming years. He had to work part-time while going to school, and for a number of years, he was faced with both mental and physical problems, which he said were difficult to describe.  Some years later, he met his future wife, became a Catholic, and started a family. He now considers himself a very happy man and is able daily to find meaning in life.  He feels this was all arranged in God's providence: the call we all have received.

As a family man, a worker, and a Christian, the value he considers primary is happiness. For this reason, he has as an aim in life to help others find happiness. We all have been created to be happy, he says. Our loving God wants us to be happy, having sowed the seed of happiness within all of us. Only those who want to be happy will be happy, he says;  those not happy can do nothing to help those who want to be happy.

Happiness does not come to us as if it's separate from our daily lives. It's always there: On our way to work, at the workplace, in the family, in our meetings with others. Happiness is nurtured with politeness, attentive listening, and caring conversation. Sharing happiness we increase it, not only with
material things but by our visible concern and by our smiles--whatever will serve to show our interest in the welfare and happiness of others.

Happiness also comes by acknowledging a certain personal lack. It does not mean to have more but to be interested in what we presently have. We have many things right now but are we taking an interest in what we have?  Balance and  leisure are necessary; living in the fast lane will not bring us lasting happiness. How much of the 24 hours that we have each day is set aside for God? he wonders. Pope John Paul II before he died said,  "I am happy; you should be, too." What did we do today to be happy?