“Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good and since the highest good is above, no one can be happy unless he rises above himself, not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart. “
— St. Bonaventure
What does it take to make you happy? Money, relationships, possessions? What about your spiritual life? Are you happy with your spiritual connection with God?
I remember certain Christmas mornings as a child. We lived in a colonial style two-story brick house in Champaign County, Ohio on Dog Leg Road. There was a reason why they named it “Dog Leg,” it was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.
Christmas Eve meant we left the Christmas tree lights on all night. Afterall, Santa needed a little light to find the Christmas tree. I remember how difficult it was to get to sleep but, finally, I would close my eyes and it was just amazing how that the next morning there would be gifts under that tree.
That year I got a red wagon and it was filled with small gifts. It was always a great season during my childhood. There was a lot of happiness during the holidays. The house was filled with aromas of baked goods, holiday scents and always a bowl of mixed nuts with a hammer laying close by. All of the holiday gifts, aromas and decorations are temporary at best. They leave us with memories but, temporary happiness at the time.
To be sure, there were some very happy times but those happy times, as great as they are, are only a part of the circle of happiness. For me, the circle is only completed when my spiritual life is also in tune with the Lord God.
If you are not experiencing happiness at it’s fullest, take an inventory of your life which includes; relationships, finances, career/work, spiritual life and your health.
In the book of III John verse 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health as your soul prospers.” Bonaventure nailed it when he said, “no one can be happy unless he rises above himself, not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart. “
So, where does your happiness come from? Think about your answer, then, take a good look at that answer. Does it really explain your source of happiness? Prospering spiritually doesn’t mean that you live in such a religious fog that tends to separate one from the reality of what’s really going on around us.
Personally, my spiritual life brings much happiness to me. I believe it is important for me to be aware of my environment so as to not be sensitive to the needs of others around me.
Find happiness, and in your search, ask God for direction in your life. Be aware of others around you and make a determination to help where you can, love as many as possible, live a peaceful life and search for happiness.
I will close with this word of wisdom from St. Clare of Assisi: “Have caution in not allowing yourself to be struck down by adversity nor becoming vain by prosperity.”
This article was written by Dr Michael Layne who serves as an Archbishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and is pastor of FaithPoints Lutheran Church in Greensburg, IN.