• Sarah Raad


“Happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth.” (Saint Josemaría).

The Madonna of Port Lligat (Salvador Dalí)

My maternal Grandmother – God Bless Her – has always given me very good advice in my life.

You would not really think that she was capable of such a thing if you saw her. After all she is a very very old lady now (almost one hundred years old) and she was only ever a wife and mother all her life. She was a poor migrant who worked like a slave in jobs that would never be called a career. She never attended school, never drove a car, and she is completely illiterate. In fact, this wise old woman asks her eldest son for advice in most things – and has done so all her life… And yet – do not let this deceive you – my maternal grandmother is a very wise soul!

When I was first married, my maternal grandmother gave me the best advice I have ever heard in my life – though I did not understand it at the time… She told me, “Make yourself happy.”

Sounds pretty reasonable – almost silly really – definitely does not sound like extraordinary advice... After all, what does it really mean this making yourself happy? Marriage is – after all – a SACRAMENT and a VOCATION for a reason! It is the sort of thing that can significantly and catastrophically affect a person’s happiness and general wellbeing. A good marriage between compatible souls is a blessing, just as one that is made between souls who are just not a good fit, can be a sort of Purgatory on Earth…

Before my conversion – which occurred through Grace and no merit of my own, while I was praying for my little niece who was very sick a few years ago – I really did not understand this instruction to “Make yourself happy.”

After all, when I was miserable, it was far too much effort to drag myself up to happiness. And yet – after my conversion – through the light of the Holy Spirit – I completely understand this truth and see that happiness takes not effort at all. You see, Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light. And that means something! He is the Prince of Peace, and all who go to Him have Rest…

There is a sort of serenity in surrendering to Christ that cannot be shaken!

And now – finally – I can understand the words of Pope Francis who said, in his “Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi Blessing”… “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Faith begins when we believe we are in need of salvation. We are not sufficient; by ourselves, we flounder: We need the Lord like the ancient navigators needed the stars.”

You see, I have been thinking… If Daniel can trust God in the Lion’s den, then surely I – and you too – can trust God in our worries today.

And this is only possible with faith. Because when a person realises that in this life there is more than meets the eye, they can live a life reflecting that supernatural faith! And that life – well lived – changes our behaviour and our demeanour. And in this way, others can see God’s love and His peace in us…

Saint Josemaría said, “Happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth.” And his is right… For Saint Josemaría used to say, “How I wish your bearing and conversation (your smile!) were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man (or woman) reads the life of Jesus Christ.”

For we are children of God. What a wonderful wonder is that!

What could possibly disturb me as a child of God? For I am His child, in His family, and even adopted by His Mother...

I am the daughter of the King... and to use the words of my maternal Grandmother, it is for this reason that I can “make myself happy” – and you can too… For what could we children possibly have to fear?

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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