Reflections 2: The Source of Happiness pt.2

” 1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on”(Luke 21:1-4, NIV). 

It is the attitude of most people who when told to give money they ask, “Why?” or they ask, “What is it going to be used for?”  Some ask blantelty, “What do I get out of it?” Then again others may say, “But I only have a dollar… sorry.” If this sounds familiar then odds are you too have said or felt like saying these words. It is so tempting to ignore our real responsibilities to God. But Jesus found the perfect way of making this same point without making it adversarial in how he chose to reveal the differences between giving freely of yourself, which is indicative of giving over everything you have without any motives guiding your actions, and that of giving because you are comfortable, having more than you could ever need. In truth, this kind of giving is done not because you need to give back to God because God gives to you, but out of a matter of statues and for the ability to brag among the movers and shakers the powerful and elite. This story harkins back to last weeks posting in-which I laid out the fine line of what makes a person truly happy verse what does not. How to begin that journey and some of the pitfalls one needs to look out for. Truly I say to you money is not the instrument that makes people happy, nor can it buy Gods loyalties, love, and forgiveness. So to continue with this great lesson of happiness I want to make this point perfectly clear, what makes a person happy as it relates to money should be found in the vast amounts of giving to those who do not have any, helping those who can not help themselves, and to give back to God because he has so blessed you. Putting God first in your life is where it  begins and where it will end, everything in between is on you, whether or not you listen faithfully to God or not.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you”(Hebrews 13:5, NIV). 

True contentment is found in the knowledge that God has so blessed us by choosing to giving us life. His most important of miracles is that of the miracle of man.  Life is what needs to be prized above all things and is what we do not have the authority to take from anyone. Again, money can not buy life, as created by God, for only God can make it, grant it, and thus take it away. Only God can destroy your immortal soul. Again, no amount of money or material wealth will save you, and all the efforts by man to do so will be cast down and be in-vain. God does not want money or material things, he wants a real relationship with you. Perhaps the most important relationship we will ever have will be that personal relationship with God Our Father.

So am I advocating that money is evil? That rich people are evil? Or the rich are inherently damned because they are wealthy? Absolutely not, for there have been many rich people who have been the most holy of persons. In doing research on this topic I was surprised to find out that a number of the Catholic Church’s Saints where wealthy, some coming from noble families. They however knew that their money or statues was not the thing which really mattered rather they used their resources to spread the word and blessing of God, money or statues just made it happen faster. What really mattered was the contentment in their heart by the act of their charitable giving and the intrinsic rewards given back to them by God. Through these means where they enabled to share with the disadvantaged, with people who needed their most basic of needs to be met, and the most noble of acts the construction of churches and cathedrals which became the instruments in bring millions of lost souls closer to God.

I have personally known people who where very wealthy, well connected, popular, and or people who on the outside would have been perceived to be snobbish or prudish. But for as much as they seemed this way their heart was made of pure gold, and the blessing of God where all about them. The power of God’s love, mercy, and grace was within everything they did and in one case  in particular a true friend of mine had gone through much of the same ordeals as I have and she overcame it all by showing her love, mercy, and understanding. She used the love of God to give her strength in the hardest of days, and her beautiful smile and most enigmatic support she freely gave to others was both unselfish but also refreshing to say the least. She once was rich and now she is poor, (monetarily speaking), she is still rich with the love of God. What I find to be truly inspiring is in the way she over came a grave illness and not once but three times within this past year and a half almost died. When others counted her out she over came it. When her voice was robbed from her because of her illness she found other, very creative ways,  to communicate always very loving and nurturing. The power of God is so strong in her nature she shines with happiness and love every-time I would look upon her, it was so strong in her it was infectious. Her poor health robbed her of her job, her savings, and still she shined with the blessings of God. She lost her apartment and her hair, but it seemed not to matter at all. She once was a star, a true talent in her time, but because God is centered in her life nothing but the fruits of Our Lord is what really matters. My mother always says, “Life can take almost anything away from you, but you can not loose sight of who you are as a person and within that you must hold onto your faith because without this you have nothing and are in real trouble.” (This message I truly want to dedicate to Johnie who true is a real source of inspiration. May God continue to bless you all the days of your life.)

“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God”(Ecclesiastes 5:19, NIV). 

Therefore, the need to see your blessing from God is where you find your happiness, each time you see the gifts set before you, there you will find your riches, and each time you wonder what to do with it all, he is there urging you to share your wealth with those people you know and love, and also those you don’t. Because in reality everything belongs to God, your money, your home, your wife and children, even your family belong to God, but most of all your soul was created and given freely to you by God. Thus there is no real reason on this Earth that we should be depressed and blind to our blessings, there is no reason why we should abandon our faith and live in darkness absent of God, for Our Father has promised to always be with you, to helping you, to love you, and to guiding you every step of the way. So run the race, never stop, never give in, run the race straight to Him who is in heaven waiting for you and for me and all people under the sun with his arms loving outstretched. Living your life this way will bring you absolute, miraculous, fabulous, outlandish  happiness….


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Brother Brian

Brother Brian currently serves within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic School System. He is currently in his twentieth year of teaching.

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