The Bible reminds us that if we want to be happy in this life, we need to be more charitable towards others.
We all desire happiness in this life, whether we realize it or not. Few desire to live each day in a state of despair, and most simply want to be happy. It is an honest desire, one that God does not negate.
In fact, God shows us the true path to happiness in this life.
Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance explains in My Prayer Book how happiness is intimately connected to charity.
Our happiness depends to a great extent on our observance of the law of fraternal charity: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and of the Golden Rule announced by our blessed Savior: “As you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner” (Luke 6:31). In doing good to others we become like to Christ, of whom we read in the Gospel that “He went about doing good to all.” “This commandment we have from God,” says the disciple, whom Jesus loved, “that he, who loves God, loves also his brother” (1 John 4:21). And St. Paul observes: “He, who loves his neighbor, has fulfilled the law” (Rom. xiil. 8).
It is interesting to think how the more we think and care for others, the more our own personal happiness grows.
We reap what we sow. Kindness begets kindness. Man can scarcely enjoy sweeter satisfaction than that which results from good deed generously performed or a kind word unselfishly spoken. “Happy is he, who has charity for every one,” says the Blessed Egidius of Assisi; “happy is he, who performs great services for his neighbor, yet does not trouble about receiving anything in return.”
The key is to be truly charitable in thought and deed, not simply performing kindness out of obligation, but because of our sincere desire for the good of another person. If we regret the charity we give to another, our happiness will likely decrease, as we will be disappointed when the other person does not return the charity.
However, when we are not worried about what others think and simply do a kind deed out of the love we have, our happiness increases in this life and in the next.
Our deeds of disinterested charity are recorded in the Book of Life. On the great day of recompense, our blessed Savior will say: “Come, blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; naked, and you covered Me; sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me; As long as you did it to one of these little children you did it to Me” (Matt. XXV. 34-36).
If we want true and lasting happiness, we must make the effort to be charitable on a daily basis, seeing Jesus Christ in every person we meet.
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