Friday, June 24, 2011

God Wants You Happy by Father Jonathan Morris

Father Morris was struck one morning by John 10:10. “God wants me and everyone around me to be profoundly happy!” he realized. Yet our “underlying doubt about whether God is capable of intervening in our lives for the good is the engine of the self-help industry... If we begin with the premise that God cannot make a real difference in our lives, it only makes sense to try to work things out all on our own...” (5)
Morris says that never works. True happiness comes through a relationship with our Creator. This is the narrow road Jesus invites us to take. Morris' message in this book is that we can find supernatural happiness in our union with God.
Morris has divided his book into three sections. The Problem explains how we get stuck in our pursuit of happiness and what we can do about it. The Faith-Hope-Love-Cure explains God's plan for bringing us personal fulfillment. And The Program provides daily inspiration for the journey.
Morris likens us to Junior Partners (to the Holy Spirit). We are people who know there is a higher power, a personal God, know we are not Him, and that we need Him. Morris encourages us to take moral inventory then design and follow a practical plan for accountability. He reveals how the devil keeps us stuck and how to break that. He recommends theophostic prayer as a way to heal the damage and pain from past experiences.
He offers a simple model for spiritual growth and personal fulfillment, the Faith-Hope-Love Cure. Through it comes the healing of the mind, memory, and will. The faith involved is not a mere mental exercise. It is an experiential knowing I am loved by God, who I am called to be, etc. We must allow God to enlighten our intellect with the gift of faith.
He offers a simple outline for prayer time, a suggestion for beginners. “Prayer is conversing with God and allowing him to transform your mind and heart according to his perfect will and timing.” (121)
Cynthia, whom Father Morris knew as she was dying, had the following family motto:
“Remember the past with gratitude,
live the present with passion, and
look to the future with confidence.” (190)

“The man or woman of living faith knows and experiences why this present moment is worth living fully. And as a result, that person lives the moment differently, more profoundly, more gratefully, and with transforming intentionality.” (99)

Morris' book is written from an evangelical viewpoint and is wise advice.  He knows where true happiness is found.

Father Morris is a news analyst for the FOX News Channel and serves as parochial vicar at Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York City.

HarperOne, 211 pages.
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