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Father Muench Says...

Discovering our happiness... every day

June 8, 2016

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

When I am undecided what to write to you, I do take some time in prayer.  As usual the Holy Spirit comes through for me.  Actually, this is what happened today.

Just this morning, I turned on a podcast as I was dressing using one of those apps on my telephone.  I just accepted whatever turned up.  It turns out the series that I discovered is called “Live Happy Now.”  It did seem rather interesting, so I listened.

This particular program was basically about happiness.  It was an interview with a writer, Neil Pasricha who begins with his belief about how most of us, men and women, approach life.  Most of us, he says, live our lives as problem solvers. 

The day begins with a list of things to do – problems to solve – we approach these questions and concerns with one hope: that we will get them over and done with.  It is all about a search for answers and often, it becomes a very stressful adventure.

His ideal, his suggestion of us is to begin with happiness.  He says this, be happy first since happiness is a choice.  His message, it seems to me, is that the day should begin for us with a recognition of how blessed we are and how happy we should be that we are able to live this day.  Such a spirit transforms a day, transforms the challenges that will be ours.  He calls his blog 1000 Awesome Things.  He sees awesome in things and events that would probably surprise us.

Here is what I discovered.  This man’s ideas are truly wonderful, even awesome.  However, I have learned much of this from My Lord, Jesus Christ.  This became even more recognizable to me in the Mass that celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Scriptures of the Mass proclaim to us God’s great, even passionate love of God for us.  And even more God loves us first.  We do not earn God’s love – God loves us even in our sins.  We are a loved people and this is the cause of our happiness.

Each day when I remember in prayer God’s great love for me, my day begins with joy and happiness and with deep gratitude, even enthusiasm.  The day will be filled with great joy; even the simplest things will reflect happiness to me because of God’s great love.

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a powerful recognition of Christ’s great love for us all.  I know that you have seen a statue or painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your parish Church.  Many of you have this image at home.  Be sure to notice closely each of the meaningful facets in the image.  Jesus’ love for us is shown as the heart of Jesus coming right out of his chest right through his robes.

This heart of Jesus is surrounded by a crown of thorns.  His powerful love is shown enflamed.  Above it all is a cross.  Jesus demonstrated his love for us thorough his passion and crucifixion, accepting it all for us in love.  Recognizing this love of Our Lord, the love of Jesus floods our lives as Christians with happiness and gratitude.
Discovering our happiness and realizing in gratitude God’s great love for us means that every day, every part of a day will be filled with the recognition that the Lord is reaching out to us.  Indeed, we must be so grateful for this happiness.  So many things that we may consider unimportant or even boring suddenly become special and joyful. 

My prayer is that you discover these opportunities each day of your life.  We can and should come up with our own 1000 Awesome Moments with Jesus.  What can they be?  A chance meeting, a brilliant idea, something that jumps off a page that we are reading, or something we hear.  Each of these become very special – simply because we are filled with God’s gift of happiness.

Thank you, Jesus.

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