2020-03-20 – Love and Happiness

Much has changed in the past few days, in Austria and in many other countries. We’ve had to hold back in many areas, while in others (hospitals, food supplies, personnel management, emergency services, etc.) work has become much more intense? To what purpose? In many areas we cut back out of love of neighbor, in order to protect others, as ourselves, from infection. In other areas more work is done, also in the service of love of neighbor, who have basic needs even in crisis situations.

What has true value?

If the current situation is unaccustomed and, in some respects, uncomfortable and unsettling, we can still use it to reflect on what is truly important, what makes us truly happy, what is truly meaningful?

When I moved from Zillingdorf to Vienna last year, I used the occasion to clean out various things I don’t really need, that had and have some value but that taken as a whole were just to much. The coming weeks and months can be for all of us a time of reflection and rethinking, in our own household or family, country and in the whole world. Many things are good, but does it really make sense, to build the economy on the basis of unending growth? Do we have to get in the car and drive to the mountains or lake, in order to get some exercise and enjoy nature?

Love of God and Neighbor

Jesus takes up and confirms the Mosaic Law: „You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart and soul, with all your thoughts and with all your strength… and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these two.” (Mk 12,30-31) Might the events and changes, even the concerns of these days, be an occasion to focus more on this fundamental aim and outlook?

This is not simply moralizing or preaching, it’s a matter of our happiness, just as that is the goal of the commandments themselves. What makes us truly happy? Travelling for vacation, the ability to consume fresh fruit from all over the world at any season of the year, the concerts, etc.? Or is it rather attentiveness for one another and concern for another, solidarity and cooperation, everything that we summarize in the short word “love”?

We will make it through this time, and we may, I hope we come out with a greater love for life itself, for the simple things in life, a greater love for god and our neighbor, and a greater awareness, that that is what counts most in life.

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