Be-happy attitudes

Published February 17, 2019, 12:20 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat


By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD        

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Johnny has been a charitable, God-fearing man so one day the Lord told him, “As a fitting reward on Valentine’s Day, ask three wishes and I’ll grant you.”

“First, I want one million dollars.”  Poof! There’s a flash, and a paper from the Central Bank with a bank account number appears in Johnny’s hand.

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“Next, I want a Mercedes Benz.” Poof!  Another blinding flash, and shiny Mercedes Benz is parked in front of his house.

“Finally,” Johnny says, “I want to be irresistible to women.’  Poof!  There’s another flash, and Johnny turns into a box of chocolates.

Lesson: God grants only what’s for your own good.

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Everybody wants to be happy. But happiness is a very elusive thing. And the reason is we don’t agree on what it means to be happy.

Many maintain that you can be happy if you have lots of money. Others believe in the saying: “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die.”

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Ivan Kruger was a Swedish multimillionaire, who amassed his vast wealth through highly dubious and immoral ways.

He cheated the bankers of the United States of $250 million in the 1920’s through fraudulent financial statements and forged bonds.

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From 1918 until his death, the living expenses of this bachelor, who maintained seven city homes, three country estates, and several yachts, averaged eight million dollars a year.

Did he find peace and happiness? By 1932 his life had become unbearable to him. To end his unhappy and turbulent life, he committed suicide in Paris.

Poor Kruger, he died a lonely man. And not all his millions and few cronies could make him happy.

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When Christ came, he taught a blueprint or guideline for living which turned upside down the prescriptions for happiness the world offers. That prescription is contained in this Sunday’s gospel on “Beatitudes” or “Be-Happy Attitudes” according to St. Luke (6,28-38).

Jesus declares “Happy are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”

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What Jesus meant by being poor was not just material poverty.

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The rich can be “poor” if they have the spirit of DETACHMENT from their wealth or don’t forget God as the source of their blessings and can share their wealth to the poor and destitute.

This is the spirit of the Consunji family, especially Victor Consunji  who managed  the Semirara Mining Corporation and some plantations in Mindanao, and passed away recently.

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I knew Victor quite well. Despite the family’s affluent stature, Victor was a simple man who was diligent and so dedicated to his work that he did not get married for which I joked that he was a celibate “monsignor.” Victor was religious and very charitable. It wasn’t surprising that in his wakes and funeral, so many bishops, priests, nuns and all walks of life paid their last and highest respect to the man who had done a lot of good for them quietly and without fanfare.

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In the third beatitude, “Blessed are the meek,” meekness is not synonymous with weakness. The meek person is not silent in the face of evil or does not stand up when other people’s rights are trampled upon.

Mahatma Ghandi, the charismatic leader of India, who courageously and vigorously fought against the injustices in his native land, was a strong man. Although he was not a Christian, he was a “meek” and holy man. 

The rest of the beatitudes: being hungry for holiness, merciful, pure of heart, peacemaker, persecuted for righteousness all spell out God’s prescription of happiness for us.

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ASK YOURSELF: Is your life on earth guided by Jesus’ prescription in achieving a true and lasting happiness? What motivates you in life: is it only worldly riches or the heavenly riches, too?

Remember St. Augustine who, after a mundane life lived in worldly pleasures, said in the end: “Lord, our hearts are made for you. And our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

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APPEAL Talking of sharing wealth, there are indigent sick we’re helping like Dante C. suffering from renal failure,  five-year-old leukemia  patient Alison L.

How about contributing an amount to buy medicines? Your help may save the lives of these people.

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For inquiries, e-mail me at: [email protected].