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The Pursuit of Happiness

Earlier this week when Lisa and I talked about our blog posts for this week, we both mentioned that we’d been working on a post about Joy. She started hers after listening to Deacon Tom & Dee talk about Vitamin J “Joy” on their podcast Catholic Vitamins last month. I started mine shortly after Gaudete Sunday Mass.

Throughout our daily lives we seek happiness, but what defines happiness? What makes us happy? Getting the Christmas presents wrapped, a hot peppermint mocha, recognition from our peers, the latest technology gadget, the coveted perfect parking spot? These things are material and only provide a temporary fix.

All around us we see people deprived of happiness, even in this land of plenty. People have so much in this world, but are not happy. Once the temporary happiness wears away, we are still looking for the next better thing. This lack of happiness is demonstrated in frustration all around us.

What good is all that we have physically if we can’t find our true happiness? Even our founding fathers recognized that happiness isn’t necessarily something tangible. In the U.S. Constitution they did not guarantee to us a fundamental right to life, liberty, AND happiness. Rather they wisely granted us the right to PURSUE happiness, which means something different to all citizens.

True happiness may be defined as JOY, and Joy is spiritual. It’s not a state of mind, it’s a spiritual state of being, one that fills your whole self. If you think about it, it’s not a word that we use lightly. When you ask someone how they are doing, you might notice they look happy, but rarely does someone reply, I’m filled with JOY!

With God as the source of true happiness, Joy must mean the presence of God in our lives. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” However, joy is the fruit that comes from all others. When you observe or perform the other fruits, then you receive Joy.

Joy doesn’t even have to come from large, heroic actions. It can be as simple as finding small daily connections with God.

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