Are You Happy?

A Homily

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Are you happy? If you are not happy, why are you not happy? St Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” If you are not happy could it be a sign that God is calling you to a closer friendship with him and you are not answering that call? If you do not perceive that this unhappiness is arising from God calling you to a deeper relationship with him, you may try to substitute that deeper relationship with God with things that will never make you happy. Maybe you think money will make you happy but can you take one dollar or pound to heaven? (Here I take money from my pocket and show it) Maybe you think alcohol will make you happy. Will alcohol make you happy? It will make you happy only if you drink so much that you forget your troubles but when you are sober again you have all your troubles back and then you have to drink again to become happy. And what happens to all the money that you drink? It turns into urine and goes down the sewer! Does that really make anyone happy? I have met many families whose lives were ruined through alcohol abuse. Maybe you are committing some sin thinking that will make you happy. Does sin make you happy? No. It gives you a guilty conscience and then you go to the priest for confession and if it is a big sin you complain that even after confessing you still are not happy. How can you get rid of that guilty conscience? By answering God’s call to a deeper relationship with him. If you are not happy draw closer to God who is the only source of genuine happiness.

You will be happy only in God. If you have a beautiful goldfish and take it out of the water to sing a song to it will it be happy? No. If you put the fish on the couch and turn on the TV for it will it be happy? No. But if you put the fish back in the water it will be happy. It is the same with us. We will be happy only in God. You might say God is cruel making you in such a way that you will be happy only in God. But God is not cruel. God is love, total love. God loves you even if you have not yet discovered the love of God for you. Draw closer to God, total Love, who can lift you up from despair to hope.

God loved the world so much that he gave his only son for us. That shows us how much God loves us. Only Jesus has shown you this much love. Nobody else has shown you this much love. Jesus died for you so that you may not be lost but may have eternal life. When we were dead through our sins God brought us alive in Christ (Eph 2:5). When you have problems, seek whatever human help you need, but never forget to go to Jesus. If you are not happy could it be a sign that God is calling you to a closer friendship with him and you are not answering that call? Draw closer to Jesus spending more time in prayer. “You have made us for yourself O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More Homilies on Happiness

Jesus’ Prescription for Happiness - the Beatitudes

Jesus’ description of happiness


Jesus is Our Treasure