Don't Worry; Be Happy
So then: What is happiness?
We all aspire to be happy. All the choices which we make in life, ultimately, have one sole aim: happiness. The real question is, therefore, whether we can achieve happiness and how.
Our deepest aspiration is to love and to be loved. Are not the wounds inflicted by love the ones that hurt us the most? And it is also by loving that we may find a true and lasting happiness. This is not only a personal satisfaction but more a free gift of ourself to another. This does not mean that pleasure, material goods or social life cannot contribute to happiness; there is always a number of elements that make up our life. But in themselves they are not capable of fulfilling us. What really creates happiness and joy in us is the giving of ourselves and the love we receive from the other.
This kind of happiness, which is wonderful in itself is, however, fragile, because it is subject to our human limitations: how often do we catch ourselves pursuing our personal pleasure as an end, wanting to possess or dominate someone! And our consumer society tends to reinforce this tendency towards individualistic behaviour. We find ourselves in a misguided search for happiness, which creates very often conflicts with others and, at the same time, a disillusion with ourselves, even if we cannot admit it.
What is more, even when we find real love, we still feel it is limited; as if the joy of being together is not complete and our heart goes on yearning for something greater.
In fact, our heart is made for infinite love and only infinite love can fill it. As St. Augustine said: "You made us for yourself Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You". (Confessions)
Some people think real happiness, the happiness promised by God, only comes after death. So what about the time between now and then?
In reality, the happiness which is to be found in eternal life and in the love of God starts right away, from the moment I open my heart and truly believe when He says to me: "You are precious in my eyes and I love you." (Isaiah 43:4) God is not far away. He brought himself close to us, as one of us: He is Jesus Christ, Emmanuel.
With Him, new light is cast on every aspect of existence: human love, our work, our social relations, art, the beauty of creation, the whole of our lives down to those things which try us. Our heart, full of joy, finds its true dimension.
With Him, the Kingdom of God is already with us, the Kingdom described by St. John: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth (...). I heard a great voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more (...). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life (...) and I will be his God and he shall be my son". (Revelation 21:1-7)
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