All of us want to be happy without exception. The motive of every human action is to find happiness or at least to escape pain. Our desire for joy is driving us to search for it anywhere. Pope St. John Paul II, while addressing thousands of young people in Toronto during the 17th International Youth Day in 2002, said “Dear young people … I have felt the deep longing that beats within your hearts: you want to be happy! Already now there is an inner urge to look for joy, the heavenly eternal joy.”
Such joy and happiness are possible only through a personal and significant connection/relationship with God and a connection with others. When things in life become chaotic, spiritual people are able to cope with stress and derive joy as a gift from God. This is what those who have lived their faith heroically have manifested by their life-example. Spiritual people accept their life’s enjoyable moments with gratitude and gracefully process the challenging ones. It is because spirituality helps them to identify their values and appreciate the same values in others. Thus, it leads them to identify what connects rather than what separates. Hence, they are more altruistic, compassionate, and forgiving of others. In their pursuit of a joyful life, spiritual people are generally optimistic about their life.
One may ask, how one can strengthen spirituality. There are simple ways: Spending some time daily in prayer; invite God to be the source of your life; spending a few minutes at the end of the day to recall what you are grateful for during that day. Gratitude amplifies positive thoughts about things, people, and experiences in life; volunteering your time to someone who is less well-off than you are can make a difference in his/her life by way of your presence. Hardships are prevalent in everybody’s life; but it is up to us to overcome them through our spiritual connection with God and attain true happiness.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.