Mercy Word of the Week
The Mercy Word of the Week
As we progress through the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, University Ministry offers our community a "Mercy Word of the Week" to help us focus on the themes of mercy that are already so closely aligned to our mission and heritage as an institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.
The first Monday of each month will bring a brief reflection on each of the University's Core Values as expressions of our Mercy charism. We hope these focused thoughts will lead to your own considered contemplation on mercy and its role in your life.
Happiness: College is a great time to ask the question, "What do you want in life?" One answer rises above all the others these days: happiness. People say that their goal in life is to be happy; but, while good-intentioned, setting happiness as your end-goal in life is a terrible idea.
Think of it this way: happiness is a by-product, an after-effect of something that is enjoyable or uplifting. Happiness is sort of like the receipt you get after going shopping for a new item that you really love; you hold the receipt up as proof of purchase, but in the end, that's all it is: proof of something amazing, not the amazing thing itself. Nobody ever says, "I'm going to go shopping because I really want a nice receipt."
C.S. Lewis describes a young man who experiences happiness and goes on a quest to find it again in his novel, The Great Divorce. The young man seeking happiness looks and looks, but the more he looks, the more frantic he becomes because he cannot find it. Happiness, when sought on its own, is fleeting and empty. Only when the young man commits himself to seeking something deeper does he also attain happiness.
So, instead of saying that you want to be happy in life, commit yourself to the things that will bring you happiness. It takes a little more work and a little more self-reflection, but in the end, the effort will pay off. If you live your life saying that all you want is to be happy, you will never reach your goal. Only the people who set their goals in life and strive to achieve them will ever earn their happiness receipt. Here's a final hint: finding God more fully in your life is a good goal to strive towards.
Paul Stage, director of Campus Ministry