Posted by: shawnjohnston | June 15, 2007

In Memorium to a Hero Just Found and Lost

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Father Laurence+, 1934-2007

An excerpt of an homily given by Father Laurence+

“We’re not made for drudgery. Drudgery in life exists because human beings are also weak. We’re defective, we make mistakes, we succumb to easily to negative attitudes. We find it hard to reach our goal, our purpose. And yet, the amazing beauty of God is that he doesn’t even make it necessary for us to reach any goal to be happy. It’s entering into the struggle to reach the goal that brings us happiness. And so what he says to us is to live life fully, completely, absolutely, without ambivalence, to put our minds, our hearts, our souls, our spirits, all our strength and determination, our whole being into the pursuit of what were doing, right here and now. Not worrying about how it’s going to come out, not worrying about this or that difficulty, despite any problems we might have to struggle with. This is where we will attain happiness.

“This means we have to know what we’re doing, being conscious of every passing moment. We can’t be happy if we aren’t conscious. If we can’t achieve a greater awareness in life, then forget it – we’ll never be happy. Happiness demands consciousness, being aware, being alert, awake. No wonder we can’t seem to attain this, for half the time we’re asleep. We’re only spottily conscious.

“Happiness never comes to us; it can only be achieved. We have to attain it, which is why the tools of the spiritual life – metánoia, self-discipline, solitude, prayerfulness, acts of love and forgiveness – are necessary ingredients to that end. And by the way, don’t doubt for a second the fact that if we’re not happy in this world, which is where heaven begins, then hell begins here. We must come to understand that God has put it into our power to attain happiness, that this is what he wants of and for us, and that it is entirely up to us to obtain it. No one can or will pride us with happiness. If we truly desire happiness, then we must struggle to do the best we can at each moment of life. Our happiness doesn’t depend on somebody else’s action or on anything else. It doesn’t depend on our success, but rather on the effort we’re willing to put into everything we do. Even if people disappoint or fail us left and right, even if people turn against us, hurt us, lie about us, don’t understand us, even if they think they know everything about us and judge us unfairly, they can’t infringe upon our happiness. True happiness means that we have a deep-seated peace and tranquility that transcends all the difficulties of life, that cannot be disturbed by the chaos and warfare that might touch our lives.

“Being happy involves the intense struggle of entering intimately into all that we do. And that is in our very nature; it’s what God has placed in us. This is what the Transfiguration is about. It’s not some pious story about going up a mountain and have light shine on everything. It has to do with the apostles gaining an insight into who Jesus really is. The reason Jesus took them up Mount Tabor was probably to show them in person what we were create for: to be like God. And being like God is always light, it is always joy, it is always peaces, it is always tranquility, it is always total consciousness, it is always being intimately connected with life. God is not separated from anything, which why we say, ‘God is everywhere.’ We can find him anywhere.

“So we have to come to understand that happiness is not only in our power to attain, but our duty to attain.”

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