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Sunday, November 9, 2008

HAPPINESS

"It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you. He is the beauty to which you are so attracted....It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your life."
-------Pope John Paul II, Rome 2000

Scripture: Stive first for the kingdom of heaven and all that you need will be given to you. (St Matthew 6:33)

Pray: Loving Savior, I do want to find true happiness. I do want to strive first for the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes, dearest Lord, I forget this and think that what is going on around me here on earth is the most important thing in the universe. Strengthen me to trust that your grace is truly all that I need. Give me your gift of happiness.

Act:
Today, make a list of all the things that bring happiness into your life and then ask yourself how you can actively bring happiness into the lives of others.

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What a beautiful wedding we attended last night! G Jr and M are now united in Holy Matrimony. The people who attended all looked so darn happy. We were - even me, who had agreed to pick up cousin M and take her with Mom and me to the celebration. This is a very sweet woman but I am telling you that she is the epitomy of the Crazy Cat Lady. She lives down the street with five cats, all indoor animals, and a pretty little house that stinks of litter boxes. She chatters the entire time you are with her about nothing and then tells you how to drive.

Now, look. I know what I am supposed to feel. I also know how I am suppose to act. Yesterday, the two were not in sync. I acted MUCH better than I felt. Frankly, she drove me nuts. If I had acted on my feelings I would have put her out on the side of Patterson Road on the way to Del Rio Country Club. The woman is like nails on a chalk board.

Yet, isn't that the essence of trying to be a good Catholic? To think that I must only act one way and that way is to be fueled entirely by however I am feeling at the moment doesn't make me anything special. Contrary to that, it makes me either an immature baby woman or an animal. Take your pick.

Ever since it was suggested to me that my ambitions for myself should be higher than what level of job I attain or the boyfriend that looks fabulous in both a 500.00 suit AND a pair of wranglers, I have been challenged to think of myself in a different manner. Being an actress, writer, songsmith and multi-media artist I felt it was my duty to be run by my emotions. What I felt was who I was and so, to expect me to act in any manner that is contrary to my FEELINGS was asking way, way too much. It was not fair.

The same people who cyber-scream about organized religion being the 'reason' for wars are those who are incapable of seperating what a person feels from how a person acts. If members of a religion - whether it be the Buddist Monks who regularly beat the crap out of each other over who is REALLY the Dali Lama or the Methodists who taught generations of children that Catholics are pagan Christians who need to be rescued from the Whore of Babylon - fall short of the ideals espoused by that religion then it must be the RELIGION that is to blame. It cannot possibly be that the Buddist Monks are behaving badly or that the Methodists who wrote their 'catechism' got it wrong. So let's throw out the religion and all be Bill Maher, because he is such a charming individual.

Those people who shout at the top of their lungs that heterosexuals get divorced, therefore marriage is up for grabs for anyone and everyone are approaching the conundrum incorrectly as well. They would never, for instance, use that same reasoning to ok the incarceration of all males past the age of 10. Afterall, most of the crimes against women are committed by men...therefore, men must be bad...so we should not allow them outside without a shock collar and a galvanized steel chain fastenned firmly around their left leg.

That's ridiculous. Right?

Of course it is - and the problem with the approach the majority of those people writing letters to the editor are making is one in which the institution or the ideal is attacked because we, as people, are incapable of meeting the standards set by those ideals or that institution.

I can't do algebra very well. Therefore, we should not teach algebra.

Rather than setting our sights on something higher and then asking ourselves honestly WHY we have such a problem reaching those heights, we run to tear down that which we cannot attain. Somehow, this makes it ok...because God forbid we ever feel badly about ourselves!

The Catholic Church teaches that the moral absolutes set down for Her children are impossible to attain, unless one is willing to do two things: a) set aside the standards of the EARTHLY realm and b) take advantage of the sanctifying grace available to us through regular reception of The Sacraments.

We must be willing to cooperate with that grace. There has to be an actual, out loud assent of faith - a fiat, if you will - that says, "I cannot do this on my own but I acknowledge and thank you for the power you have just given me through Reconcilliation or The Eucharist and by participating in prayer and The Mass or attending Adoration to do that which on my own I cannot do".

The reality of my life is I cannot stand smug, self-serving, screaming-meemee types of people. I cannot stand people of any age who sit and just chatter about nothing and do not listen to anyone around them. I hate having conversations that consist of me having to repeat myself three or four times at ever increasing volumes because the listener keep interupting me with the word "huh?" only to finally say, "Well, you don't have to shout". I hate spending my time with people who have no manners, have not read a book beyond The National Enquirer or Mother Jones Magazine and cannot even entertain another point of view without threatening to hurt their audience.

However....I do all of that on a very regular basis and do so because I make a decision to cooperate with the grace afforded me by The Sacraments.

Catholics are a Liturgical and Sacramental people. It does not matter if the Catholic YOU know or the Catholic YOU WERE did NOT approach The Church in the right way. That does NOT reflect upon this teaching: we are a Sacramental people. The source and summit of our faith is The Eucharist. We cannot get to heaven unless we participate in worship in the manner Jesus Christ told us to and knowing that, we throw ourselves and our loved ones on the pyre of God's Mercy. It is not up to us to say who is in Hell.....we know what sin is but we also know that God loves the sinner.

Recently, I read an article in which six people who survived suicide attempts which involved jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge spoke to their thoughts the moment they propelled their bodies off the railing.

Every single person said that the minute they leapt from the bridge, they regretted their action.

I know that my search for happiness will not be fullfilled here on earth. What I also know is that my purpose is to make YOUR search for happiness one that is more pleasant. The highest form of power is service. And that is why I believe that the greatest thing we can say to one another is, "How can I help YOU?".



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