I’m all about myself being happy. Truth is, God is also all about me being happy. God wants each and every one of us to find happiness. How do we know this? We just need to look around ourselves and at our faith. Ultimately, He gave us His only Son and through Christ’s death and resurrection, for us mind you, we have the means for eternal life. That is the ultimate act of Love from God, but that is not all we have from him in our search for happiness. He gave us a roadmap, the commandments. Contrary to secular belief these are not rules and regulations one must follow in order to be part of some kind of club. They aren’t a test of initiation. I would be willing to bet anyone that if one lives in the commandments, they will find true happiness. But how do we reach that state of happiness. Sure, we have the roadmap but how do we fulfill its promise for us. I think in order to have true happiness we must first be at peace with ourselves. To be at peace with ourselves we must be living in accordance to what our souls know is right. The source of what our souls know as right comes from what God imprints in each human’s soul upon its creation. So not only does God gives us a knowing soul, He reaches out to our temporal self with His roadmap, as we call it, His Commandments. So now that we have the tools and knowledge for achieving peace, how do we make it actionable? I believe it starts with personal fulfillment. First we must understand happiness doesn’t have anything to do with wealth or comfort, nor even an easy life, so we need not consume ourselves in trying to attain those things in order to be happy. Fulfillment comes by satisfying our reason for being. Of all the animals on earth, we are the only species who has empathy for our fellow beings to the point that we can give our lives physically, spiritually or emotionally for the betterment of another being. In a nutshell, we are here for each other. The welcomed irony of it all is that by living for others, reaching out to others we gain our own personal fulfillment which in turn gains us peace, and gives us happiness. I was reading in Columbia Magazine about Blessed John Paul II’s visit to Canada 10 years ago for World Youth Day. Some of his words struck me as I read them and are quite relevant to both this topic and to our country’s current cultural climate and social path. Following are his words:
“You are young, and the pope is old; 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations. Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope; the young are our hope. Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
Blessed John Paul II’s message is one of hope in our youth. Our youth learn from our actions. This coming holiday season will give us all many opportunities to reach out to others in large and small ways, thereby setting an example for our youth and coincidentally helping us attain the fulfillment we seek.
Pat Rosmarin, Lecturer