This is the Jubilee year of St. Paul the Apostle. This selection from Philippians 4 highlights one of his most famous teachings: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Paul does not mean succeeding at a job or doing impressive feats like many think. Rather, he is writing about contentment or happiness.
As a missionary, I’ve experienced that some weeks the food is great, the crowds large and the bed soft. Other weeks the water is soft (ever try to get that off of you?) the sound system sputters and there is no cook. Yet, despite the abundance or the difficulties there is a tranquility through Christ who infuses grace and strength in us. I’ve discovered, strangely, that sometimes when I have the least, I am the happiest. It is not circumstances that determine our attitude, rather our attitude colors our circumstances.
Many look for contentment in riches and money. The Gospel goes deeper. It is God, not mammon whom we must serve. God alone brings the contentment we crave. Contentment is not only possible, but is a fruit of living a deeper life with God. Happiness is not based on things.
I heard a verse from a song from Sheryl Crow’s "Soak up the Sun" that applies here: "It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got."
Contentment and happiness are our right in Christ. No matter what you are going through right now, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 12 books and creator of the TV program Live with Passion! airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/