It’s the first week of the year. And as a tradition in the Christian world, let me greet everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.
2018 is Year of the Earth Dog. The year, according to the Chinese calendar, will be influenced with canine traits like kind, faithful, intelligent, warm and full energy. In sum, the year will not only be full of love, it will also foster economic prosperity.
But while astrologists see a good year in 2018, it is still up to us to do what is right, to forgive those who may have hurt us, to share part of what we have, and to feed those who are hungry, if only to live a happy life. For what good are your riches if you live an impoverished life of peace and self-esteem.
In his New Year’s message, Pope Francis shared his thoughts about living a happy life. “You can have flaws, be anxious and ever angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust,” Pope Francis said.
According to the Pope, to be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear and love in discord.
“To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our souls. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life,” Pope Francis added.
Indeed, we are the masters of our own lives. It is us who leads the way to where we would want our destiny to take us. And it is never too late to start discarding the bad traits and to embrace the good ones. But the best time, however, to start living the happy life is the start of the year.
Life, no matter how it is lived, has its failures and successes, joys and sadness, fears and triumphs. But being happy, according to Pope Francis, is not being afraid of your own feelings. It is to be able to talk about you, it is the courage to hear a “no” , it is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified, it is to kiss your children, pamper your parents and to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us. In short, to be happy is to be forgiving.
But forgiveness should not be exploited to further the greed and laziness of men. Able-bodied persons must not seek forgiveness for their being poor and/or for a wrongdoing borne out of laziness. Otherwise, they would forever be mendicants.
According to the Pope, to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But we should use the tears to irrigate tolerance, loses to train patience, mistakes to sculptor serenity, pain to plaster pleasure and obstacles to open windows of intelligence.
“Never give up… Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show,” Pope Francis said in closing his New Year’s message.
Therefore, as we celebrate the New Year, let us look forward for more happy years ahead, even as we reflect on the lessons of the past. Change can happen if we want to. But remember that real change can only happen if we take, with all sincerity, that long lonely road that leads to the bottom of our heart.
“Happy New Year to each and every one of us!”
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