Everyone wants a quick and easy list for happiness, right? Me too. So I was drawn to an article this morning summarizing an interview recently with Pope Francis.
Slight literary license notwithstanding it looks like some pretty good things that we can all apply. What do you think?
Need a job that you don’t hate with every ounce of your being? If only you could meet that guy/gal who is perfect for you, right? Struggling under the killing weight of bills? Wishing you were happy at least once in a while? The Argentinian guy with the funny hat might not be able to give you these directly. But I would settle for indirectly, wouldn’t you?
Pope France interviewed with the “Argentina Sunday” to give us a 10-point plan for happiness. Well alright! Finally! So what do you have for us, Pope Francis? Lay it out there! We’re ready.
1. “Live And Let Live”
2. “Be Giving Of Yourself To Others.”
Okay, but what if I don’t have enough money to take care of myself? The Pope’s pretty cool with that. He says that charity is more than money. It is time. And it is other things, too.
“No matter how it’s done.”
He has a special place in his heart for people living in poverty. And giving of yourself means getting out of your own head,
“Francis advises against withdrawing into oneself, since that runs the risk of stagnation. And as he put is, ‘stagnant water is the first to be corrupted.’”
3. “Move Quietly.”
What in the world does that mean? The Pope talks about a book he read. He said that the main character,
“…who, in his youth was a rocky stream that ran over everything, but as he became older, he was a running river and in old age was quietly peaceful.”
Francis is concerned, because a people that doesn’t care for its elderly “has no future.”
Arcgentine novelist Richardo Guiraldes, authored Don Segundo Sombra as referenced by the Pope.
4. “Have A Healthy Sense Of Leisure.”
Are you kidding? All I hear is “work harder,” so I can “lift myself up by my bootstraps!” But apparently Francis means what he says,
“Consumerism has brought us many anxieties, …people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.”
He said when he was in Argentina he often caught “mothers off guard by asking them how often they played with their children.”
“It’s hard to make time to play, and to enjoy art and literature, but “it must be done.”
5. “Sunday Is For Family.”
Interesting. When I was little my parents always took us to visit one set of grandparents or the other. I was around my Grandma Christie so much that I picked up some of her West Virginia accent. But we can reserve Sundays for football or the water-themed entertainment park. So give us a good reason for making Sunday, “Family Day.”
“The Pope stressed the importance of sharing Sundays with family. He recalled that on his recent visit to Campobasso in southern Italy, the workers did not want to work on Sundays.”
“The perfect family doesn’t exist, nor is there a perfect husband or a perfect wife, and let’s not talk about the perfect mother-in-law! It’s just us sinners.” A healthy family life requires frequent use of three phrases: “May I? Thank you, and I’m sorry” and “never, never, never end the day without making peace.”
Okay – that’s a good reason.
6. “Find Ways To Make Jobs For Young People”
Wow. Instead of beating up the people who do not have jobs with “get a job” and “raise yourself by your bootstraps,” the Pope says the people who make jobs should get creative and find ways to find young people jobs. Finally!
Getting a job is full-time work. And there just aren’t enough jobs to go around. The Pope noted that,
“The rate of drug use and suicide is high among unemployed people under 25.” [and] “Power, money, culture do not give us dignity. Work, honest work, gives us dignity.”
Work is about more than money for this Pope,
“— they give her dignity. [In a homily last May] Power, money, culture do not give us dignity. Work, honest work, gives us dignity.”
7. Respect Nature.”
The Pope links Poverty and environmental problems. And in his provocative writings he continually tries to make the point of how “degradation” effects the environment,
“Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?”
8. “Letting Go Of Negative Things Quickly Is Healthy.”
Joy is very important to the Pope. It underlies his theology. And joy can’t exist when things are negative. So it important to release all the negativity.
Instead of gossiping about negative people or frustrating things around the water cooler, he writes in “The Joy Of The Gospel,”
“One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, sourpusses.”
9. “Stop Proselytizing (Trying To Convert Others).”
You’re kidding, right? Isn’t that what preachers tell us to do? Well not this guy. He says that if you want to be happy, don’t try to persuade other people that your religion is the only “right way.”
“Each person sees the world in his or her own way, and that should be respected.”
Besides he thinks that people will come to the Catholic Church by attraction not argument.
10. “War Destroys.”
And we must cry out for peace.” I’m not really sure how war in some country I’ll never visit helps me be happy, but hey, I’m willing to try anything. So how do I do this? Protest? Send letters to those in charge of the world?
“Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness. It is always an active peace.”
The Pope said that he wasn’t just talking about those dodging bullets. This applies to the refugees. Ooooh, like those coming across our southern border? Well, looks like he included those, too, when he referred to “immigration,”
“I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace, to do everything that they can, what I can do from here. Peace is the language we must speak.”
Am I happy? Well, I’m about to be!