Happy Are You
Our family is of one mind and one heart in a beautiful and holy way that can only be attributed to the grace of God. I thank Him for this wonderful and somewhat unique, I think, characteristic of our little clan daily. Physically, however, we are separated geographically by many miles. So whenever we are all together it is a cause for celebration and Nana and I can never contain our joy, with happiness leaking out of our eyeballs almost constantly during these visits.
Today, anticipation is at its peak with everyone (all 15 of us) coming to Kentucky for Christmas!
Finishing devotional thoughts on the Lord's Prayer yesterday I want to move now to the Beatitudes in the gospel of St. Matthew chapter five. And as it the case often with me, in getting started I can't get past the first word… Beatitude.
Beatitude means 'Supreme Happiness,' which, as you can imagine, causes me to think of our upcoming family gathering.
But happiness is a curious thing. People tend to discover happiness in external experiences, like our family Christmas, or in a wonderful meal or a new smart-phone – experiences and things that will end, be digested or become obsolete in a few years. So happiness can be fleeting, situational even occasional. Is that really supreme happiness?
St. Nectarios, a Bishop in Greece who lived in the early 1900's, explained supreme happiness when he wrote: "Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts: "I will visit them, and will walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people" (II Cor. 6:16). What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself!"
This is the key to lasting, unflinching happiness, happiness independent of circumstance or situation – a pure heart. His presence animates our lives with joy, beauty, wonder and mystery – in a word, with supreme happiness.
And as for the good things of the world, like running to meet children and grandchildren in the driveway at the end of their cross-country drive? Well, His presence makes that happiness all the more blessed.