Happiness

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Happiness

Something most, if not all, people search for in life is happiness. It is something quite personal and difficult to enunciate for each person: dreams during our youth, security in later years. We know when we find something that makes us happy. But that in itself might not be something that will last for long. It might be a passing event, situation, or relationship. It could be the spouse that has made us deliriously happy for the last 54 years. We can search a very long time and never find what will make us happy – happy in the eyes of the World at any rate.

 

We often tie our happiness with freedom, a desire to live free of all constraints and inhibitions. We want to throw off the ways that keep people from “being themselves” and therefore no one and no institution has the right to force a set of rules on anyone else. Song writers tap into this desire and set these expressions to music that resonate with our senses. Chris Rea said it quite accurately in one of his songs (Gone Fishing) saying:

 

“ You can waste a whole lifetime
trying to be what you think is expected of you
but you’ll never be free” 

 

But then this freedom, being tied to happiness, may not be more than temporal. It could be that this happiness is but a brief moment and we are left with a hole in our lives that will feel empty no matter how we try to fill it. It might be better to think of freedom and happiness in the sense of “wisdom”, the wisdom of God. Wisdom and virtue can indeed make us truly free and lead to happiness.  “Accordingly, if man’s ultimate happiness does not consist in external things – it remains for us to conclude that man’s ultimate happiness consists in the contemplation of truth” said St Thomas Aquinas.

 

This isn’t that strange. We have looked for truth, for God, as our highest good since the beginning of time. So then our best, our happiness, our freedom is found there, in Him. Stop searching.

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The Good Life or the life that is good?

We tend to think of “the Good Life” in images we have seen of others living a life many would desire. These are frequently scenes of wealthy living, scenes of excess and indulgences beyond the reach of many. Most of these ideas are connected to money which is able to provide for the luxury we might associate with the Good Life.
But what really is the Good Life?

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Anger

We have people living in failed states who don’t have the most basic needs met of a human. Basic education and health care are for the elite and no one else. Perhaps these have a right to be angry and seen on television. But they won’t be seen. The scandal is hidden, there is no voice heard.

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The Next Time Through

I discovered two deaths this year. That may surprise you knowing I am a priest and have frequent funerals for parishioners and others who I am asked to commemorate. But this year I was looking on line for a friend and found her obituary. I was stunned and cried. She was so beautiful, had two little girls, husband, served in The Salvation Army with me where we met. We studied at university together and had part-time jobs together.

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