How to Be Truly Happy

sillouette of girl with arms raised, balloons in background
Photo credit: <a href="">Camdiluv</a>

Luke 11:27-28

As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd interrupted him, yelling, “Your mother must be so glad to have born and raised you!”

He called back, “Yes, and those who hear and then do what God asks of them are truly happy!”

At it’s beginning, Luke’s gospel focused on Mary’s having been called and obedient to God in agreeing to give birth to Jesus. In the Magnificat (Luke 1:48), Mary claims that “all generations shall call me blessed.” The woman in the crowd seems to be confirming Mary’s words.

Jesus’ response is that the happiness and fortune Mary experienced was not hers alone. Rather, it’s the result of following your calling: “doing what God asks.” The same happiness is possible for everyone.

I’m not saying that everyone is going to get angelic visits, or hear the voice of God audibly speaking to them. But I think Jesus was convinced that everyone is capable of knowing what they were made to be, who they authentically are. Like the woman in the crowd, though, we get star-struck by the good fortune of others. It’s easy to get so caught up in how much we admire someone else, or wish we could be like them, that we forget how much we have to offer the world ourselves.

If Mary’s story is any indication, saying yes to what we’re called to do takes a huge amount of courage. It’s hard work. Ask anyone who has born and raised a child.

According to Jesus, though, mustering the courage and putting in the effort is the only way to be truly happy. Living vicariously through someone else is never quite the same as living life yourself.