Happiness is what you can give not what you can get

I recently heard that six weeks before he died, a reporter asked Elvis Presley, “Elvis, when you first started playing music, you said you wanted to be rich, famous and happy. Are you happy?” “I’m lonely as hell” he replied.

Fame and fortune do not automatically make a person happy, do they?

I read an article about happiness in an airline magazine on the way to Texas. The article was all about a class at Harvard on this very topic. Turned out to be one of the most popular classes on campus! Apparently, studies have shown that while fame and fortune do not necessarily make a person happy, volunteering in your community does. Having time to spend with family and friends does. Generous giving does.

I believe this is at least in part what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness…” At this part in Matthew’s Gospel, he had just been warning his followers about the dangers of anxious accumulation. Put first things first and a deeper joy will follow.

Our prayer today is attributed to St. Augustine from the early fifth century.

Let us pray: God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry are heavy on our shoulders and weigh us down, when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening, when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to your honor and glory. Amen.