Our old friend Ignatius has started blogging again. Welcome back, Ignatius! He’s writing about happiness, a subject he has touched on before, as he did after World Youth Day six years ago. Then he was writing in the moment, joy oozing out of him; this time he’s more reflective.
HOW TO BE HAPPY – SOME TIPS
- Live well. It sounds obvious right? But it’s worth saying as a starting point, that happiness will follow from living well.
- Live consciously. This ties into my first point, because you need to figure out what it means in practice to live well, and because you need to become conscious of where you aren’t living well so that you can correct it. Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. Don’t live on autopilot.
- Move forwards. That is, make your life better each day. Put in work each day to grow, to learn, to deepen your relationships, to help a friend, to make your life a little easier, whatever. Just keep moving forwards making things better. These things add up, and they have meaning.
- Face your problems. This goes back to point 2 and 3. Identify your problems and their roots as much as you can, and find ways to proactively address them bit by bit. Don’t ignore a problem or put off facing it, because it won’t go away.
- Love yourself. Self love provides a certain unity to your own soul, which is the basis for all love and friendship with others, according to St Thomas Aquinas.
- Trust entirely in Providence. Everything that happens is part of God’s will, and is therefore good. We ought to accept all things, good and bad, that come to us as being directly from God’s hand and give Him thanks for all of it. Especially for suffering, because it means God is bringing us some great blessing that will more than make up for the suffering.
- Life is a gift: be grateful and enjoy it. The worst ingratitude is to receive a gift and not enjoy it. Gratitude is arguably the centre of our faith. The word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving, and it’s our great sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, offering up all of our lives and the whole cosmos in union with Jesus, in joyful thanksgiving.
I replied to Ignatius as follows: The older I get the more I see your last tip as the first and foremost. We Christians can take the first step in evangelising other people if we encourage them find one thing each day to be grateful for. Grateful to whom? The Father, the Cosmos, Life? As you say, Gratitude is arguably the centre of our faith.
My night prayer with children or grandchildren always includes examining the day for good things and thanking the Giver of all for them. So should my own night prayer.
As Ignatius replied: the last tip sort of contains all the others.
Meanwhile, what makes you happy, and what prevents you from feeling happy?
God Bless, Will and Ignatius.