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March 18, 1994     The Message
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March 18, 1994

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Lenten series-- Lenten series reflection: Happiness Following is the fifth of six arti- cles taken from Father John Buckel&apos;s book, "Free to Love: Paul's Defense of Christian Liberty in Galatians," dis- tributed by W.B. Erdmans, Grand Rapids. Father Buckel teaches New Testament Studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology. "Those who have been baptized into the new life of Christ have been liberated from the oppressive power of sin, so that they might find happi- ness. By happiness, I do not simply mean "feeling good" physically nor the vague sense of general well- being. Rather, I define happiness as something much deeper. True happiness is finding value in oneself, in others, and in all of life. It is associated with coming to terms with a world in which sin, suffering, and death exist. Happiness is loving and being loved. It is enjoyed by those who freely share what they have with others. Individuals who have professed allegiance to the risen Lord have discovered new meaning in life. They detect the love of God in a remarkably different way. Baptized Christians are no longer By FATHER JOHN BUCKEL St. Meinrad Seminary burdened by their sinful past. They personally experience the compassionate mercy of God the Father. In light of the redemptive death of Jesus, they recognize the tremendous value they have in the sight of God who sent His beloved Son into the world for the salva- tion of humanity. Because of Christ's resurrection, their faith assures them that suffering and death do not have the last word. Those in Christ are confident that, as they have been immersed into the death of the Lord, they will also arise with him on the last day. People often have the mistaken notion that happiness comes in having money, fame, good health, and so forth. If that were the case, then all rich people, all famous people, and all healthy peo- ple would be happy. That, obviously, is not the case. The alarming number of people who have turned to alcohol, drugs, immoral behavior, and the like, and the ever increasing number of those who have at- tempted suicide, many of them successfully, bear witness to the depth of unhappiness in Western so- March II !4 ciety. Perhaps we can say that Scripture "guidebook" for finding happiness in life. thor of Genesis informs us that human beings made in the image and likeness of we have been created out of love for love. 0ttrq ator's fundamental concern is with God has revealed to us that true through Jesus Christ. Christians have been called to a life of ness. This is not a naive type simply ignores all the pain and hardship world. On the contrary, those in Christ aware of the imperfect state of Nevertheless, Christians perceive the different light in view of God's their love for Him. 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