True happiness lies in the search for holiness
In the Gospel , we see Jesus’ holiness proposal portrayed through the “beatitudes”. In fact, it is only in Jesus, through His teaching and experience, as a true “new man” recreated according to God, that we can understand what it is to be holy before the Lord and men.
Pope Francis, in the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate , presents each of the beatitudes as a path of happiness for every Christian. There are eight paths that tell us that: true happiness lies in seeking holiness. Let us look at each of these paths proposed by the Pope, inspired by the beatitudes.
Illustrative Photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com
“Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5,3). Bliss warns of the temptation to seek happiness outside of ourselves and our relationship with God. It is a false sense of freedom that is given to us by the possession of material goods, however, it does not succeed in making us happy.
Where have we sought the security of our lives? Truly, what makes our hearts safe and at peace? It is necessary to cultivate poverty of heart, placing the hope and security of our life in God, our only good and, in this way, following Christ, just as the Gospel proposes.
In a world full of discussions, aggressions, veiled or direct violence, the path of happiness, proposed by Jesus, indicates another direction. “Happy are the meek, because they will possess the land” (Mt 5,5). The inheritance of the earth, given by God, is not promised to those who exercise arrogant authority or to those who shout, or even to those who make themselves heard through weapons and the oppression of the weak.
The way of the Gospel calls for meekness . As Jesus is meek and humble in heart, so must every Christian be, even when reacting to the disrespect and irony of the other, even when expressing himself or defending his opinion. The meek attitude of one who respects the sacredness of the other is also a path of happiness.
Today, people make great efforts to escape suffering. A lot of time is spent looking for comfort, good life and luxury. Even suffering and anguish, when they appear, must be quickly overcome and hidden. For example, the “mourning” for a loved one who has gone, has fallen into wide disuse in our culture.
However, the path proposed by Jesus asks us to understand suffering well and, more than that, it asks us to be in solidarity with those who suffer. Knowing how to “cry with those who cry”, sharing their difficulties and pains. Knowing how to feel with the other, having compassion; and this attitude of life leads to the happiness of, who knows, maybe one day, also to be comforted in his tribulations.
In a reality populated by corruption that, from politics to the most common social relations, permeates us, it is difficult not to hear about justice. The Christian’s path is also the path of those who are “hungry and thirsty for justice” and never tire of seeking to be satisfied.
However, justice must be experienced, first in life itself, because “The Lord is just in His ways” and, therefore, “He is holy in all the work that He does” (Ps 144,17), as stated in psalmist. A path of true happiness is one that seeks to be fair in what it does. That is, giving each one his due and preserving the weakest, the one who suffers the most. To seek justice, leaving aside petty interests and “the little ways”, on a daily basis, that is, seeking holiness .
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“Blessed are the merciful, for they will achieve mercy” (Mt 5,7), says the beatitude. In addition to justice, the Christian is offered the “plus” of love, that is, giving to those who did not deserve it and understanding to those who made mistakes, because they chose to do so.
In addition to meritocracy, the Christian, in his particular relationships, must be guided by mercy, realizing that his heart (cordis) is also miserable and needy (miserere). He who follows Jesus is called to welcome, forgive and do good; this is also possible for those who have not done their part well.
We are all a “multitude of the forgiven”, reconciled by the Lord, with the Lord and in the Lord. That is how we should treat each other. Judgment and slander, for example, are clear signs of those who have not chosen the evangelical path of holiness and happiness. He who looks and acts with mercy knows that a measure will be placed in his that he himself can bear.
Purity is nothing more than having a simple heart in which the primary and primary intention is always to love. A pure heart is one that is not divided in itself and that seeks only one thing: to love God and brothers. Furthermore, it does not allow anything to hurt your fundamental option.
Attention to others and sincere prayer to God always spring from a pure heart. He who cannot move inwardly towards love and is filled with other “inner riches” cannot be true, be holy or be happy. Whoever takes care of his heart so that only the true desire to love is always present, preserving him from the petty filth of other desires, this is a saint.
Peace wanes when, from the heart, the other’s desire for destruction and slander arises. That is how discussions, divisions, wars and all kinds of violence begin. In environments where only the negative is privileged, that is, the negative is spread and credibility is given to gossip and lies, in that environment there can be no peace.
People who are internally pacified, those who put on “glasses of goodness” to look at other people, are automatically a source of peace wherever they go. Only those who look at the world and people, seeking to see the good that is there, valuing others, can this be interiorly pacified.
These people are able to take kindness where there is apparently no, so they look at life differently. It is not easy to build peace. It is not enough to deny or hide from conflicts, it is necessary to always seek a new proposal for overcoming, through dialogue, listening, respect and understanding. There is no ready recipe for this, but it is “a path that is made by walking”. The true son and daughter of God is a peacemaker and is therefore holy and happy.
He who chooses to seek holiness and be happy along the lines of Jesus, is the same who walks against the current of logic followed by most people. Then, incomprehension, persecution, mockery and irony arise, at one time or another these things will present themselves to the true Christian. For it is the common concern of people to first condemn, discredit and disregard those who seek to live a life consistent with the principles of the Gospel.
Even in the midst of these reactions, the Christian is called to be authentic and, as a disciple and missionary, to announce Jesus’ proposal and message. In the life of those who seek to be holy, one can never forget the daily cross and the inevitable persecutions that the testimony will bring. To be holy, in this sense, is to embrace a life consistent with the Gospel every day of life, even if it causes problems and misunderstandings.
Happiness comes from that inner conviction that no one can take away from us. That conviction that we are being consistent with the project of Jesus, author and finisher of our faith and reason for our hope.
Try to live this way
Each of the interior and exterior attitudes presented in the Beatitudes – detachment, meekness, compassion, justice, mercy, purity, peace, authenticity (cf. Mt 5,1-12) – leads us to our integration, to the deepest essence that re-establishes, in us, a positive and loving relationship with God, with others and with ourselves. Following this path, our “holiness” will be fruitful and will become happiness for us and for everyone we meet.