God’s lessons on happiness

By Fr. Edward Looney | For The Compass | February 10, 2022

People today are looking to deepen their happiness. Especially during the winter season, we can get a bit down and feel a little blue. Self-help sections at bookstores and podcasts by some of the big names in the industry claim to have the secret to happiness. Unfortunately for them, they often neglect God in the equation of happiness. Our first reading and Gospel this weekend offers us God’s plan for happiness.

St. Luke recounts the beatitudes in the Gospel for this weekend. Translated as “blessed,” Jesus tells us ways for us to experience blessedness in our life. Other translations of the Scriptures translate the word “blessed’ as “happy.”

Jesus says happy are those who are poor, hungry and weeping. These don’t seem like moments that would bring any type of happiness or blessedness. How can you be happy if you are poor, hungry or weeping? The poor today might worry about how they will make ends meet, adding anxiety to their sadness. The hungry have basic needs that go unfulfilled. Those who weep have a reason for shedding tears. Jesus tells us that, in time, they will know happiness. The poor will inherit the kingdom of God; the hungry will be satisfied; and those who weep will laugh. Trying moments might bring sadness, but waiting with the Lord, He promises happiness will come.

Our first reading offers another example of blessedness. A person is blessed when they trust in the Lord and place their hope in the Lord. An example of unhappiness offered by Jeremiah is when we place our trust in human beings and turn away from the Lord. If we root ourselves in God, believing that his ways are better than our ways, and that he has a plan for us, this can ease our minds and deepen our faith. Think again of the abovementioned beatitudes — the poor and hungry trust that God will provide for their needs. Those who weep have hope they will see their loved one who has died.

Can a person who lives their life indifferent to God experience happiness? Of course, they can. They will find moments of happiness that this world has to offer. But for us as believers, we know our true happiness comes from God, when we live our life in closeness to him, following his commandments and seeking to do his will.

Our life on earth is for just a short time. Our true happiness will be when we have blessedness in the Kingdom of God, when we will see our God face to face, loving him and adoring him for all eternity.

Fr. Looney is pastor of the Catholic parishes in Brussels and Lincoln/Rosiere. He is the author of “A Lenten Journey with Mother Mary.”

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