Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy, Happy: So What Does It Mean?

Happy is not sappy.

Like so many other words that relate to the human being, "happiness" has been twisted, degraded, and used to fool people. It is not the solipsistic state of being pleased with one's self. Nor is it the temporary (and merely apparent) satisfaction of human impulses. Nor is it even the exaltation of any kind of earthly success. None of these things last. And we all know that happiness is meant to last. Forever.

In this passing world, we may call a person truly happy if they have found the beginning of happiness, if somewhere in the midst of all their human incoherence, the flower of joy has taken root and sprung a shoot inside the soul. In this world, true happiness always remains a goal. But it begins within us and sustains us--sometimes in mysterious ways--as we travel the arduous road to its final destination. The name for happiness in this life is hope.

Following up on yesterday's post, here are the words of a happy man, who makes reference in this little piece of text to another happy man (a man who taught thousands of people--including me--how to follow the One who makes us happy):

Thus do we discover the truest dimension of human existence, that to which the Servant of God Luigi Giussani continually referred: life as vocation. Everything, every relationship, every joy, as well as every difficulty, finds its ultimate meaning in being an opportunity for a relationship with the Infinite, a voice of God that continually calls to us and invites us to lift our gaze, to find the complete fulfillment of our humanity in belonging to Him....
The Lord...calls everyone to recognize the essence of our own nature as human beings: we are made for the Infinite. And God has our happiness at heart, and our complete human fulfillment.
Benedict XVI (August 20, 2012)