Publish date 24-09-2020
In the midst of so many news in the newspapers whose meaning it is not possible to understand, there are sometimes articles that strike the intelligence and set it off towards the elaboration of a thought that nourishes the heart.
Leafing through a newspaper, I came across a sentence from a contemporary philosopher who expresses himself on a theme that is very dear to me and of which I feel more and more urgent: "Try to eliminate the idea from your conscience and from the narrative of your existence of gratuity, and you will no longer even be able to support the idea of being happy ».
The pursuit of happiness is a human duty, but it is such if it is the choice of true happiness, of what is not simply a superficial and passing well-being.
Happiness is not a matter of a moment, but a state of life: in the Bible we find the expression "dilated heart", which seems to me to describe happiness well: a heart that breathes freely, that does not make a noise, that is not tight nor compressed by petty desires, by anxieties due to greed, by fears aroused by hatred. Gratuitousness is free from all this: it neither eludes nor hides the difficulties of life, nor those of relationships, but allows the heart to breathe freely, to give without expecting, to love without calculation, that is, to live the most beautiful things in life without see them wasted in feelings that degrade the beauty of the human creature.
Children are taught to say "thank you", but perhaps they forget to teach them the importance of recognizing how much gratuity each of us is surrounded by and also to discover how much gratuity makes human relationships beautiful; makes them true. Without real human relationships it is useless to seek happiness. In the sentence quoted we speak of eliminating from conscience and therefore losing the sense of mutual dependence and justice: both for what we have to give and for what we receive. Without the gratuity of others we cannot live: everything would be permeated by aggression and demand. Without being ourselves capable of gratuitousness, we become sterile, machines that produce, but whose heart, that is, the organ that gives meaning and joy, dries up and becomes arid, lifeless land.
We also talk about the narration of our existence: it is not a question of telling ourselves, but of preserving the memory of the good received and the awareness that we have been the object of much gratuitousness, even if our life has had difficulties, great difficulties and if wounds have accumulated throughout our being. Making an effort to remember the good received is the first and essential cure for the malaise of existence. One cannot be happy if one does not yield to the recognition of the gratuitousness received and does not collapse the wall that we believe defends us, but in truth it suffocates us. Giving in has the flavor of losing, and actually in the climate of gratuitousness the impression of losing, both in giving and in remembering, is always great, but if we do not know how to lose, we will never be victors, against the unhappiness of life.
It is precisely in the light of happiness, which God wants to give us as a dowry of the creature that we are, that the words of the Lord have meant which testify that to find one's life one must lose it.
The risk of believing that these words want to incite us to deserve a happy life through renunciation and suffering is a dangerous pitfall. We lose the sense of God's gratuitousness, which is sum, infinite and absolute gratuitousness. The Words of Jesus are a teaching to make us know the Father, and only by knowing him and recognizing the total gratuitousness of his goodness, that is, of Mercy, can we also resemble him in happiness, which God can never lose because God is Love.
NP June / July 2020