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Wise and Happy
How many people today are unhappy? One would imagine it is a fairly great number. Usually, this is not because of severe extrinsic circumstances, but because of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and the like. These are not inconsequential! Loneliness has become an epidemic. Even if adolescents are home with their parents, everyone is busy on their phones or otherwise distracted. Certainly, clinical anxiety and depression are health related issues that often need to be addressed by psychological analysis and counseling or the use of medicine.
But what about those who are depressed or anxious because of controllable circumstances or because of their self-chosen perceptions of the world? What about the people who are angry and frustrated because of the prisons they have made for their own minds because of pride or a lack of hope? We see this among atheists, especially, but also among people of faith who neglect their own formation.
In Wisdom 13, we hear:
“All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan…”
We can see the effects of God all around. And the Church unequivocally states that we can know God from the light of human reason alone. So, to not see Him at all is to not have sought Him. For as Jesus says, those who seek will find, those who knock will have the door opened to them, and those who ask will have their questions answered. To live in ignorance of God because of a disregard for Him is a foolish way of life.
The French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal once broke it down this way. He said that there are three types of people in the world. First, there are those seek God and find Him; these people are wise and happy because they seek and find. The second type are those who seek God and have not yet found him; these folks are wise but unhappy. And the third type neither seek nor find; they are unwise and unhappy.
So, if you want to be wise and happy: seek God constantly!
And of those who neither seek nor find, who are unwise and unhappy, I will echo the words of Blaise Pascal: “I have no words to describe so silly a creature (Pensees 194).”
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