Yet we are constantly reminded that financial success is no guarantee of happiness: far from it. From rich and alcoholic movie stars to lottery winners whose lives subsequently implode to zillionaire athletes who make wrecks of their personal lives (and more), we see this lesson played out day after day.
Neither money nor fame nor love guarantee joy, yet joy can be had without any of these things.
I am reminded of the wonderful words of Friedrich von Schiller set to glorious music by Beethoven in the Ode to Joy.
"Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Ecstasy is granted even to the worm
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott
And the cherub stands before God!"
Joy is ultimately a choice. It is also a gift: a gift from God for which we should pray, as Saint Paul remind us in today’s second reading (Philippians 4:4-7):
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all,
but in everything,
by prayer and petition,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God
that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus.