One day, a monk, while walking through a village, found himself accosted by a man out of breath. “Give me your riches”, the man demanded. “Last night a voice told me to get riches from a monk passing through my village.” The monk thought for a moment and then, with a smile, answered, “Do you mean this?” He showed the man a huge jewel, the size of his hand. “I found this in the woods. You can have it if you wish.”
The man eagerly grabbed the jewel and ran off with it. However, the next day, he searched out the monk and handed him back the stone. “Here, take this jewel back. Give me instead the riches of your heart which enables you to give this gem away without even a second thought.”
Jesus reminds us that joy doesn’t mean having a “high.” Many misled people try to find this “joy” in the “highs” of drugs and intoxicants. We cannot chase after happiness for its own sake. Happiness is not found in other people or in external things, but rather, within ourselves.
Here are four ways to bring joy to ourselves:
- Try saying, “How lucky I am.” “How grateful I am.” It is impossible to be grateful and at the same time, unhappy.
- Say, “I can do the loveliest things in the world. I have all the loveliest things in the world. I can discover love, taste, hearing and sight.”
- Think of yesterday and its events. At each good happening, say “thanks.” For the difficult things that took place, say, “They were placed there for my growth.”
- Think of the things of today! Say, “It is well, it is well. All the earth is in the Hands of God.” Concerning the happenings of tomorrow or the future, say, “All shall be well, all shall be well.”
Fr. George Mc Kenna
Some years ago, while working with the Eskimos in Western Alaska, I lived in the town of Bethel. The word, “Bethel”, is found in the Scripture of the Old Testament, being a village in ancient Palestine. “Bethel”, a Hebrew word, means “The House of God.”
I thrilled at that time that I lived in “The House of God.” To be worthy to live in this town meant a greater urgency to be holy and pleasing to God. But, truly, each one of us is a Bethel, a House of God, because God lives in us, in all His Beauty, Graciousness, Love and Mercy. His Presence fills every part of our human being.
We need a goal in life; something to aim for and strive for, otherwise life loses its meaning. Life is a game, much like the sports we play. Through my 75 years of playing golf, I was constantly aiming for the flagstick on the fairway green. The stick gave me something to shoot for.
Because God lives within us, we can make our goal personal holiness of life. We want to make ourselves worthy of His Presence. To accomplish this, we need not be praying all day long, or be thinking of God all the time.
St. Paul wrote, “God chose us to be holy and blameless in His sight, to be full of love.” As every game has rules to be kept, so too, life has its own – the Ten Commandments.
If someone asks us, “What is your goal in life?” we hopefully will answer, “Personal holiness in life.”
Fr. George Mc Kenna