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? What really constitutes a Life that is Good? When we see the words inverted like that we can see that there is a great difference in meaning: Good Life / a life that is good. If there is a difference, more than just visually and grammatically what is it? How can we have the one that is truly better?
We have already imagined the usual illustrations of the Good Life. What now of the other? Those scenes can be quite different. And there is no reason why, for some, the cannot have the first and the second versions. A life that is good begins and ends with God – goodness itself. If we understand goodness in the sense of “righteousness” then we also have an image of what we need to have to lead this good life. We have all fallen short of the glory of God St Paul said (Rm 3:23). And we know we cannot reach His holiness. But we have an advocate who IS righteous and holy.
We read in St Matthew that St Joseph was considered a righteous man (Mt 1:19). Think then a moment of what St Joseph was in order to be the righteous man scripture speaks about. He was like us, but must have led a more supernatural life. Maybe his life, filled with acts of love and goodness resulted in a transformation through God’s grace so that he might be found to be a righteous man and chosen as the adopted father of Jesus. St Joseph must therefore have lived “the Good Life” because he lived a life that was good; not a life of wealth in earthly terms, but a life filled with God and sanctification.
There are other examples in the scriptures of men and women who were living the Good Life; individuals like Simeon, Anna, Elizabeth and Zachariah: “…righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly” (Luke 1: 6-7). So many, who though poor in our financial terms, were wealthy beyond compare in the spiritual realm. And what, in the end, could be better? In the end, our lives are short and quickly forgotten by the succeeding generations. What remains is what we offer to God, even when forgotten or unknown to others, is of great value to God. We have only to see these great scriptural examples of men and women who lived righteously.
The Good Life then is really a life that is good, a life sanctified, righteous, and given a supernatural perspective. No matter the wealth or lack of it, a life of goodness is richer by far. Seek that which is from above (Col 3: 1-2) and place your treasures in Heaven (Mt 6: 19-21) and we will see an exponentially greater life, the true Good Life.