Friday, April 15, 2022

#105 / A One-Line Guide To The Happy Life

That is Bishop Robert Barron, pictured above. He is Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is one of the most followed Catholics in the world on social media. The Bishop sends out Daily Gospel Reflections, for anyone who is interested. Here is what he said on Friday, February 18, 2022, apropos of the Gospel of Mark 8:34 - 9:1:

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus lays down the conditions of discipleship. In this scene, he gathered the crowd with his disciples and pronounced the formula for following him... 
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” The path of discipleship is the path of self-sacrificing love, and that means the path of suffering.
Then the great paradox: "Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake ... will save it.” Put that over your door, on the refrigerator, on your screensaver. There is no better one-line guide to the happy life (emphasis added).
I don't have that statement pinned over my door, or on the refrigerator, or as a screensaver, but I have always thought that the advice provided in that Bible quote is exactly right, and I link the "lose your life to save it" admonition to my "Two Worlds Hypothesis." 

To the degree that we identify "our" life with what we do, and with our own creations - and to the degree that we believe that "our" life is all that counts - we are missing the fact that we ultimately live not in a world that we created, but in the "World That God Created," or the "World of Nature," for those who find it difficult to use the "G" word. What is important, to me, is not the "G" word, but that we let go of human primacy enough to stipulate to the fact that we are not, ourselves, responsible for the lives we have, but that our lives come from somewhere far beyond us. 

If we could just lose the idea that our own, individual life is what is most important, we would actually find that our lives have, by virtue of this understanding, been placed in a proper perspective, with the "ultimate" meaning, grounding, and importance of our lives coming from beyond what we do ourselves, individually.
So, I'm with the Bishop. Those who are willing to "lose" their lives, will truly find them. 
There is no better one-line guide to the happy life.

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