Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Looked for Happiness Everywhere ...

I was reading recently the story of the famous convert of the 19th century, Hermann Cohen,* a brilliant musician, idolized as a the young prodigy of his time in the salons of central Europe: a kind of modern version of the young Francis.

After his conversion he wrote to a friend: "I looked for happiness everywhere: in the elegant life of the salons, in the deafening noise of balls and parties, in accumulating money, in the excitement of gambling, in artistic glory, in friendship with famous people, in the pleasures of the senses. Now I have found happiness, I have an overflowing heart and I want to share it with you. ... You say, 'But I don't believe in Jesus Christ.' I say to you, 'Neither did I and that is why I was unhappy.'"
Reading Fr. Cantalamessa's homily a couple of weeks ago, this quote struck me immediately. It is exactly how I feel, have felt, since I found God. Can anyone explain it until it happens to them? Not really and it sometimes seems unrealistic, unworldly to those around us.

Sometimes people accuse me of not understanding the unhappiness, the sorrow, the rage that is going on in the world. Most recently, I was told to come out of my "trance." It is not a trance. I live in the world right along with everyone else. The news, the blogs, my friends, the daily prayer list ... it is impossible to ignore the evils and sorrows that daily life can bring.

Of course, I do not exude joy all the time ... only the saints are close enough to God to be able to do that and I am so far away from being a saint. But today ... today I feel that wonder and gratitude and joy once again for all I have been given ... for my happiness, a happiness that sustains me through the bad and good, the happiness that is Christ in my life.

I am not participating in our parish's CRHP retreats right now, but if I were giving a witness right now (and I suppose I am doing so right here) this is the song that I would play after speaking. My life has been changed. I have found that happiness.
So Far Away
by Staind

This is my life
Its not what it was before
All these feelings I’ve shared
And these are my dreams
That I’d never lived before
Somebody shake me
Cause I, I must be sleeping

Now that we're here,
It's so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
All the mistakes,
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we're here its so far away
And I feel like I can face the day
I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today

These are my words
That I’ve never said before
I think I’m doing ok
And this is the smile
That I’ve never shown before

Somebody shake me
Cause I, I must be sleeping


I'm so afraid of waking
Please don't shake me
Afraid of waking
Please don't shake me
Photo by Hey Jules who also knows that joy.

*Read more about Hermann Cohen here.

No comments:

Post a Comment