Everyone has his own definition of happiness. For some, it is to own a big and beautiful house; for others, it is to play great golf games. For some, it is to travel to different countries; for others, it is to have unity in the family. We all want to be happy and we are created to be such.
We’ve heard about the fall of Adam and Eve. It brought about original sin which caused us to be ignorant, to lose our self-control, and to be strongly inclined to evil. Moreover, media bombard us with false formulas for happiness. We are made to think that happiness can be bought; that all celebrities are people to imitate; that God is a “killjoy” to our fun with His Commandments.Flaunt the latest gadgets, sign up on some online dating services even when married, be the dynamic executive and let the maids take care of the family – this generation, with its deformed outlook on life, on the family, on religion and on morality, seeks a life free from boredom, discomfort, and pain. It glorifies material riches, power, and fame. People, after intoxicating themselves with pleasure, soon experience boredom and emptiness – a proof that we are created for something which cannot be fulfilled on earth. Pope Paul VI pointed out that the “technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but has great difficulty in generating joy.” An unhappy king was told that he would find happiness by wearing the shirt of the poorest man; and he discovered that the poorest man was cheerful and had no shirt at all. Our hearts are made for something intangible.
St. Augustine stated, “Our heart is restless until it rests in our Lord.” However, let’s admit it. Many of us find God boring. The Mass is meaningless and the prayers are mechanical recitation of Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s. So how can we discover happiness in God? They say that beneath the turbulent sea is a calm and beautiful world. Christianity is similar to that. Externally, it may not attract us but as we plunge deep in our spiritual lives, we discover that there are so much beauty, goodness, and love that are beyond our imaginations. St. Thomas Aquinas, a genius, did not finish his Summa Theologiae, the best theological book ever written, because when he was looking at the crucifix, he realized that what he had written was nothing compared to what God truly is.
In this era where there are so many distractions, we need to make time for silence – to reflect and to pray more. We will learn that the secret of happiness is to recognize how much God loves EACH ONE OF US as if each one were the only child. We, in turn, fall in love with Him and forget about ourselves. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta preached: “We can find true happiness and peace when we are in love with God.” She also taught: “By forgetting yourself, you find yourself.” Happiness is accepting the “undeserved” sufferings, such as an incurable illness, the loss of fortune, the death or infidelity of a loved one, and trusting that our all-loving and all-wise Papa knows what is best for us.
Happiness is realizing the horror of sin and experiencing God’s mercy and compassion as He welcomes us back when we are sorry for having offended him.
And perfect happiness? We are not far from it if we struggle one step at a time in this journey of love (of doing God’s will) until our hearts rest in our Lord in heavenly paradise.