A few years ago I read Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly and loved it. A friend had received it from her parish at Christmas and was also commenting on it. She wasn’t a big fan because it was too simple. She needed something a little deeper. Although I could see her point, I think that happiness and joy are underrated virtues in the Christian life.
To learn more about what the Church says about happiness, I pulled out my trusty Green Catechism…
and looked for “happiness” in the Index; I see it’s mentioned a few times!
Paragraph 27 says “Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” Then again in paragraph 33 the Catechism says, “With his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience,, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence.”
St. John Paul II told the youth gathered in Rome for WYD in 2000: “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness.” (5)
If all of this is true (and I’m usually one for trusting the Catechism and JP2), then what are we doing to share the reason behind our happiness? Even when we don’t recognize it, the source of our happiness is Jesus!
St. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” I’ve seen this also translated as joy.
How often are we reminded to be ready to share about our happiness? It’s something everyone is seeking every day. Almost every commercial on TV, YouTube, Social Media, etc. is for something that will make us happier or alleviate a burden in our lives. We know that none of these things satisfy us for very long. The reason behind long-lasting happiness is Jesus in our lives.
I was reminded of this recently when a co-worker shared a priest’s email signature with me.
God bless you,
How has Jesus made your life better and happier?
1) Tell your story
2) Begin with what happened
3) Express it in style
4) Modify it for your audience
5) Ensure there is sufficient closure
6) Embrace natural emotions
7) Pray and practice
How to tell your story of faith in 7 easy steps! It’s all right there!
What are we doing as parish leaders to be an example of sharing our story and teaching others to share theirs?