Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pursuit of Happiness

Purfuit of Happiness…(in honor of Stan Freberg…see the current “Big Salute”)

Last night was one of the rare occasions that Mother Superior and I can actually get out of the convent at the same time. Most of the times our duties mean one or the others of us has to be in the convent 24-7. We took the opportunity to go see a movie called “Pursuit of Happiness” starring Will Smith and his real son Jaden.

Will Smith is certainly a versatile entertainer. He has done everything from rap, to comedy to serious acting. This time it is serious acting and he is good in the roll – to good in fact. If you are in need of a movie to lift your spirits, this isn’t the movie for you. It doesn’t lift your spirits until about the last five minutes of the movie. If on the other hand you are in the mood for a movie that will grateful for your life if you are living just about anywhere but in a box under a bridge, then this is DEFINITELY, a movie for you.

You thought YOU had a tough life?

…and I thought I had a tough life. This movie, based on the life of a real person, is about a man whose life was so tough I wanted to hang myself half way through the movie. Rest assured however, the movie does end up “happily ever after.” One of the more poignant parts of the film is where the main character points out that in the declaration of independence, Thomas Jefferson only wrote the everyone has a right to the PURSUIT of happiness. Finding it, as we almost all know, is quite another matter.

Will Smith’s character (Chris Gardner) is a salesman that is so down on his luck he ends up giving new meaning to the phrase “Death of a Salesman.” In trying to make a good life for himself and his son, he even ends up homeless at one point. He goes from humiliation to humiliation in pursuit of happiness for he and his son.

Our dear sister Therese once said that the occasional humiliation is good for us, as it reminds us of our nothingness before God. Here is the advice that Therese gave to her dear sister Marie of the Trinity:

“If you are nothing, you must not forget that Jesus is all. so you must lose your little nothingness in his infinite all and think only of his uniquely lovable all…when we see ourselves so miserable, then we no longer wish to consider ourselves, and we look only on the unique Beloved!…Dear little Marie, I know no other means of reaching perfection but love, how well our heart is made for that.”

I won’t bore you with the many humiliations I have gone through in my life. Suffice it to say that there is a large difference between humility and humiliation. There is an even bigger difference between the occasional humiliation and living a life of humiliation.

The words of St. Paul, as he tells us what God tells us, sheds additional light on this subject:

“My [God’s] grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak: I am most happy then to be proud of my [St. Paul’s] weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak I am strong.”

God was certainly watching over Chris Gardner, even in his most difficult moments. Therese tells us the best way to get through the most difficult of times. That is simple. One word – Trust.

The Little Way was originally intended on being called the “Little Way of Trust” for that trust, which will in turn bring love, is the central aspect of The Little Way. Trust in God. Yes, it is easier said that done in difficult circumstances, but THAT, my friends, is what faith is all about.

As far as my own pursuit of happiness is concerned – well let me just reiterate that I would certainly have been voted “Least likely to become a nun” back in high school – but here I am.

In my case true happiness didn’t come until I stopped pursuing my path to happiness, and pursued God’s path for my life.

God Bless you all,

Sister Julie

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