Friday, January 2, 2015

A Korean's Happiness

We talk a lot about happiness these days says a religious sister who writes and teaches in the field of spirituality. Her article appears on the opinion page of the Catholic Times. 

She wonders whether the reason for this interest is the leisure many have found. Talking about the subjective elements of happiness is not easy. To speak about happiness objectively, and try to measure the degree of happiness is also difficult, and to compare the degrees of happiness with other countries doesn't really make much sense, however, in one of the comparisons with developed countries of the world, Korea comes out near the bottom. Korea's economic development has improved greatly, but the happiness index has not kept up with the material development. Why not? she asks.

She uses the study made by a college professor who feels that a lot has to do with the factors surrounding a Korean's desires. A Korean world view has a great deal to do with family, present day blessings, and a fusion of worldly blessings and recompense for the hardships of working in the competitive world in which we live. The blessings are worldly blessing.

At the start of a New Year we are wishing others good fortune and what is being wished is different for each person, but the professor believes good fortune  would be wealth, honors, good health and the like, not internal qualities. Consequently, in our society with excessive competition and a culture which considers order and rank as important, we have many factors that militate against happiness.

We who are Christians are born in this society and  can't help but be influenced by the culture. The desire for worldly blessings should not be our only desire. We have to appreciate the mystery of pain and difficulties of life. Difficulties in life can make our life more fruitful.

Where is the person that  can go through life without problems? We all have different ways of accepting the joys and sorrows of life. We need the wisdom to accept serenely the pain and difficulties of life for it will be the key in finding happiness.

We already know, she says, that happiness and unhappiness co-exist. There is a time to be happy and to be sad, a time to cry and a time to laugh.... She gives us two maxims that express the idea that we really don't know whether success is success or failure is failure until we  look back in retrospect. Our attitude is all important.

She wants us to begin the new year with a trust in providence. Open to accept all the variety of things that may come our way: mature Christians asking God for the grace to be born again at the start of this new year.

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