Archdiocese of Washington: Year of Faith series
Dominican Brothers of the Province of St. Joseph
The Archdiocese of Washington, DC is hosting daily reflections on its Facebook page for the Year of Faith. Have you missed them? Here they are. And please visit our page and “like” us, so you can follow along with the rest of the series.
1. Why did God create me?
Above all, we must recognize that God created every one of us – out of nothing. God’s love holds us in being. The Dominican tradition recognizes that God created us to be happy. This hardly sounds like the dour Catholicism that some people imagine. In fact, God wants us to use the gifts He has given us. Human beings delight in the good. The tradition teaches: do good and avoid evil. The challenge is: we have to know the true good, which is what the Church teaches. God helps us to accomplish the good, even in difficult situations, so that we can know Him and so that we can be truly happy in this life and in the next.
2. How can I be happy?
God created us to be happy. It’s not a matter of simply following rules. It means rejoicing in and possessing what is truly good. The Psalmist asks, “Who will show us the good?” (Ps 4:6). If only we knew what was true and good– and then we could walk in it. The Psalmist answers the question with a prayer. “Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” God teaches us a way of life that will make us happy, by revealing the face of His Son, Jesus. Aren’t we tired of walking in unhappiness and darkness? The Psalmist continues, “Thou hast put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Let us turn to Jesus and the Church He gave us, and there find joy.
3. What will truly make me happy?
According to the TV, the answer is the latest car, gadget or drink. As silly as we know that answer is, we still find ourselves trying to secure our happiness with created things: the right school; the right career; the respect of our peers. While these details have a major impact on our lives, they are not the goal. For “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”(1 Cor 2:9) Achieving that true happiness, which ultimately means the beatitude of heaven, begins by letting the grace of God work in us, and to orient all the details of our life to the place he has prepared.
4. How can I grow in happiness?
Habits shape human conduct. Habits make us act in a reliable and consistent way. Without them, we’d find it difficult to have a stable pattern of life. But are habits mere routine? The soldier tirelessly trains in the art of warfare, so he can act properly on the battlefield. Without such intense training, he wouldn’t be free to fight well in extreme and real life circumstances. Unless fighting is “second nature” he will make mistakes in the clutch. It is the same with the virtues, the good habits of the moral life. They form us so we can freely and happily act in the moral life. They make us free to grasp the good things that make us happy.
5. Why do the saints seem so free and so happy?
Some people seem to think that a good person is someone who grits his teeth and does the right thing, constantly fighting off the desire to sin. While the moral life can feel like this for many of us sometimes, we know that there is a more perfect way. We see it in the lives of the saints. The saints do not spend all their day on the lookout for sin and avoiding it; they turn their face towards God and walk boldly towards Him, confident that their steps will not falter. This is the life of virtue. By God’s grace we can build up the habits and virtues that lead to a joyful life now and in the life to come.
Please don’t forget to visit our Facebook page and “like” it to follow the daily reflections.