Smile! Life is Beautiful!

Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls.
– Mother Theresa.

Often (as I am sure has happened to all of us) people ask me why I look so happy. The answer, this one time, was simple: I had just stepped out of confession and was practically beaming at the thought of receiving Holy Communion in a few minutes. However, when my 10-year-old self tried to explain that overflowing happiness and flat out joy, the only thing I got was a frown and a subsequent raised eyebrow from the person I was speaking to.

Happiness is a funny thing. Human beings search for it far and wide, in the skies and below the ocean, between pages of self-help books and even in food. No matter how much the human race evolves it will still look for the perfect bliss, the Eden on earth, fulfillment.

Then why is mankind still walking in circles, unsure of where to look next? The answer is absolutely logical: what they’re looking for is not here. Period. Happiness is not an emotion. It is a state of being, a state of peace and contentment in which the soul is aligned with its purpose.

This is where God comes into our equation. As a Father who wants nothing else but what’s best for His dear children, there’s a simple definition for each and every one of God’s actions: to give his children the real, never ending, always present happiness.

Conclusion? Stop looking for happiness and listen to God.

That’s right. Listen. There’s no need to look for God. God is there, always present, in every single breath each of us takes, in the grass that cushions our feet and the sun that goes up each day. God is inside each of us since we all possess a spark called ‘soul’ that comes from God the Father himself. There’s no need to look. But there’s need for understanding.

Once people understand and the wordless love of God transforms and translates into something that lives inside them, they start to smile. And their smiles become so wide that their faces are barely able to contain it. Then there are those random bursts of joy in which much hugging is involved and even skipping through hallways looks like a good idea.

I like to think that my happiness comes from the revelation of how beautiful life is. In the midst of all its injustice and pain, life is an opportunity to make someone else’s day better through the love of Christ. The peace and love that come from Holy Mass are reflections of the true happiness, of God’s loving embrace, that people – who may not know much about the wonderful being who died to rescue them but still instinctively recognize what their souls crave – look at with wonder. Life becomes a living apostolate through a smile, some words of consolation, or maybe just a loving gaze. The beauty of this vocation, that each and every one of us carries, is outstanding. It is the vocation of love.

Yes, the vocation of love. The calling to make someone else’s day better, to let Christ shine through our eyes and our smile. To become other Christs and help fulfill the void that is in every human being, the one many barely even notice (numb, as we are, with materialism), the part of themselves that screams for God.

So, smile! Life is beautiful! It is a challenge, a game of love. The smile you are carrying today may become an interesting way to start a conversation, one that I’ve had multiple times.

“Why are you always smiling so much?” people may ask.

Well, why aren’t you?

They may look away and stutter and recognize that they feel there’s nothing to be happy about. But there is…there is! There’s someone who loves them because they’re the image of God right there and then. There’s a beautiful morning sky that was created just for them. There are birds singing.

There is God, a being who loves each and every one of us more than we can ever dare to hope. Isn’t that reason enough to smile?

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