Friday, March 30, 2012

Salvation or Happiness?

This unusual reflection suddenly came upon me when I read Prof. Ratzinger's (before he became Pope Benedict XVI) lesson on happiness.

He said something which shook me to my foundations. 

The word “happiness” has gradually replaced the classic term “salvation”, in the common sentiment and speech, outside the theological context.

But how is salvation different from happiness? 

The professor says the term “salvation” meant the salvation of the world, within which the salvation of the individual person is brought about while happiness reduces salvation to an individual level, a well-being relating to the “quality” of life a person enjoys while excluding the world as a whole.

It then suddenly hit me that my entire relationship with Christ was centered around the hope that I could or would be happy being with or knowing Christ. In Catholic circles, happiness is often corrected to feeling is that, in our minds it means more or less the same thing- individualistic aspirations.

To change my mindset from the pursuit of happyness to the salvation of all mankind, makes my tiny purpose in life so much more bigger, so much more profound and yes, so much more dying to myself. It is difficult to take my eyes off 'what's in it for me?' and do it for a greater purpose.

Take the example of Mary. Did she have a happy life? Maybe; there might have been moments of happiness. Did she suffer? Dearly. The sword was prophesied from the very beginning. Why did she embrace her calling? 


Only love can bring a person to undertake such great suffering. Suffering, not for herself or for her own but for the sake of the world. Today, for her silent participation in the salvation mystery, she is hailed as Co-Redemptrix. 

What great love Our Lady must have had to embrace the very perpetrators of her sons' death as her own children? Her immense suffering expanded her heart to love a broken people like us. Hence, the Queen of Heaven also bears the title of Mother of Sorrows

Mary gave her all. For in love, you don't count the costs.

Coming to me. Would that I be able to give up all my hope for a happy life to full life of suffering, hope, pain and peace that many may live through me?

Discerning marriage as my vocation, I always looked to the Lord to send me the 'right' one. But what if the right one is someone who is a difficult person ? God may choose to bring about his salvation through my patient bearing and love. What if my children choose to desert the faith of their fathers and walk away? God might still ask me to bear witness to his truth, to love them, correct them, pray for them and offer my pain for their redemption...

But am I willing?