Friday, January 27, 2017

From Where Does True Happiness Come?

Today is the Asian's New Year all the other celebrations were a preparation for the Lunar New Year. A time to wish blessings on those we meet. The Chinese character for blessings in Chinese restaurants often is seen upside down. Christians see the blessings coming from heaven from God who desires our happiness. God's nature is goodness, truthfulness and all that is beautiful and wants us to participate in these attributes.

A retired seminary professor writes in the Kyeongyang magazine on what true happiness means for him from his studies. In the Scriptures, the search for happiness has many different paths. Jesus is the teacher extraordinaire showing us the way. Many of the Fathers of the Church saw the Beatitudes as its promulgation.

St. Cyprian showed us the difference between the true happiness and the counterfeit: the happiness of the world. Lactantius mentions that happiness doesn't come from the pleasures of the body or earthly pleasures. Bishop Basil mentions that happiness does not come from health, material goods or our place in society. St. Ambrose mentions a good conscience brings happiness.

St.Augustine distinguishes between happiness and unhappiness. The happiness of those who are evil and the devout. He gives the example of a person who went to heaven and found the angels packaging gifts of blessing for people on earth. They were wrapping the gifts with adversity. He asked the reason and was told so not as to damage or diminish the value of the gift of blessings, However, many see the wrappings and miss the happiness.

The delight that comes from sin is of no use. Leo the pope said that those who delight in evil will miss the joy that comes from God.

"Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night." ( Ps. 1:1-2)

Happy is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered.  Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile" (Ps. 32:1-2).

"Happy the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding! For her profit is better than profit in silver, and better than gold is her revenue" (Proverbs 3: 13-14).

"In the New Testament we have a number of phrases: "Happy is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God:  (Lk. 14:15). " The angel said to me: Write this down: Happy are they who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb" (Rev. 18:9).

Happiness that God has prepared for us is for the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, the humble, those who are thirsting and hungry for justice, the merciful the pure of heart and the builders of peace and those who suffer for justice. (Matt. 5:3-10). These are those who imitating God, participate in God's attributes of goodness, truth, and beauty.

May the New Year be filled with this happiness, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and may we be filled with gratitude for such a priceless gift.

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