We have something more that the hairs on our head, or the legs that carry us around daily, or the eyes that allow us to see the world. We have the desire to be happy! This is the real engine of our life, which moves us from within. This is what made us scream for food when we were in the cradle, and that once grown up gives us the ability to desire greater things and make plans for the future. We all want to be well, not only physically but also morally and spiritually. It is great to be able to say, “Now I am really happy”, or “I do feel fulfilled.”
We can recall many moments of pure joy in our lives: the birth of a child, the day we were engaged or married… maybe even the present moment. But when we think about those moments, we are aware of a sad voice within us; we detect the threat of a dark cloud, the word “END”. Our joy is imperfect, especially because it is temporary. It is enough that something happens to stain it, whether it be a friendship that we ruin by saying something inappropriate, or an illness that takes away the peace and serenity in a family, or a mistake that we made which lowers our self confidence and esteem. Our happiness is apparently hanging by a thread.
It is spring, the trees are blooming, the bells are ringing, and people dressed up outside the Churches are sharing Easter wishes: it is EASTER! The Lord is risen! Death has been defiled forever! Alleluia!
What does all this mean? It means that the dark cloud that was threatening us is gone. We do not have to fear the word “end” anymore: death, which is “the end”, has been conquered once and for all. Our joy can be eternal, because thanks to Christ, we can love for eternity, beyond death. This is the meaning of Easter! Jesus’ Resurrection enables us to make a couple of equations:
JESUS = JOY
CHRISTIAN LIVING = JOY
GOSPEL = JOY
We do not mind rowing against the stream when we say that there is no lasting and true joy outside God. We will be totally fulfilled only if we live according to God’s plan for our lives. The Commandments are meant for our joy: “so that my joy might be yours and your joy might be full” (JOHN 15:11) We often hear people say that joy has to be spontaneous, that it is only the consequence of what happens within ourselves or around us. We rather say that we need to learn how to be happy, because we choose to be happy. We have to train ourselves to be joyful and to give joy. How do we do that? We are called to deal with the small clouds that apparently can darken our joy. We can do that by using the strength that the Risen Lord gives us. Did we have an argument that ruined a friendship? My encounter with the Risen Lord in prayer will give me the strength to love “no matter what” and to be happy.
Do we have to suddenly deal with an illness? My encounter with the Risen Lord in prayer will help me to carry the burden with interior peace. Do I happen to have something that does not go right during the day? My encounter with the Risen Lord in prayer will help me to understand that joy is not the sum of many positive events, but God’s caress on my life.
Here is advice on how to always be happy: Do not be afraid to be truly Christian and to look for God’s Will in our prayer time, every single day. He created us, and who better than Him knows where our happiness lays? To be Christian is not an abstract concept, but it is a concrete reality. It is not a choice made once and for all, but it is an option that has to be renewed every morning when a new day starts. The Christian can be recognized by his way of dealing with things, especially by his serenity and good mood that accompany his days.