Posted February 26, 2015
Recently, Pope Francis listed ten tips for happiness. I will outline the first five today and continue with the next five in a subsequent column. Perhaps these could be a good guide for us as we begin this holy season of Lent:
1. Live and Let live. All of us will live longer and more happily if we stop trying to arrange other peoples’ lives.
2. Be giving of yourself to others. Happiness lies in giving ourselves away. We need to be open and generous because if we withdraw into ourselves we run the risk of becoming self-centered.
3. Proceed calmly. Move with kindness, humility and calm. These are the antithesis of anxiety and distress. Calm never causes high blood pressure.
4. A healthy sense of leisure. Never lose the finer pleasures of art, literature and playing with children. We don’t live by work alone, no matter how important and meaningful it might be.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because Sunday is for family. Extended accomplishment, productivity and speed should not become our most valued commodities or we will begin to take everything for granted – our lives, our health, our families, our friends, those around us and all the good things in life. That is why God gave us a commandment to keep the Sabbath holy.
May this Lent be for us a selfless road to happiness.
Rev. M. Joseph Casey, S.J., Associate Pastor
Change Our Hearts: Our Parish Lenten Journey
Most of our small groups will be holding their first home gatherings this coming week. Here are a few reflections on next Sunday’s Gospel and Chapter Two of our shared text “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.”
The first sign of a dynamic Catholic is prayer. Dynamic Catholics begins their days with some sort of a prayer routine: short is OK, but be faithful. You can see a short parable on page 44: “deciding to start your day with prayer is not the same as doing it.” Next in the chapter are quotes from various people with their ideas about starting the day with prayer. I enjoyed the passage about C.S. Lewis and the “Classroom of silence.” God speaks to us in silence. Noise is often the lure of the evil spirit. Later in this chapter is a very good 7-step routine for a prayer process that might be of help. Next Sunday’s reading shows Jesus cleansing the temple. If your body is a temple, consider how you sit and position yourself in prayer. Or, meditate on the way you bring your body into our church temple each week: Do you genuflect? Spend time chatting? Or do you quiet your body and mind so as to prepare for the great prayer of the Eucharist when you come in? Read on.
Fr. Patrick Fairbanks, S.J. Pastor