by Maria Cossell
How many times a day does someone pass you by, say hi, and ask how you are doing? For me, this is multiple times a day. Stating that I am fine or doing great and asking how the other person is has become so repetitive that I just spit it out of my mouth like a robot. I do not even think before I speak that I am actually flat out lying to someone. I am never one-hundred percent great or fine, nor am I always a sad person or a “Negative Nancy” either. What I am saying is that I am not perfectly content. There always seems to be a part of me that longs for more of something. From time to relax and spend quality time with friends and families to desiring more of a specific food or new clothes for my wardrobe, I am constantly searching for more.
For the majority of my life I thought that my happiness was based completely on my actions and what society said would make me happy. From studying hard in grade school and playing those good old CYO sports to going to college and landing a job. As each birthday passed I would always dream about how next year I would be happier with life and would continually try harder to make happiness come my way. I was driving myself crazy because I was never living in the present moment and was always wanting more.
Then a couple years ago I heard a talk that turned my world upside down. I heard that I will never be completely happy on this Earth even though we are all on a quest for it. The desire for happiness is too big for any material possession, perfect job, or friendship to complete. The Catechism states that…
“the desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (27).
The Lord is using this longing for more to draw us to Himself. However, as humans we do anything possible to try to quickly fill this ache for happiness within us, from searching for the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend to having the best material possessions. For example, we think that if we just have that new iPhone then we will be happy. However, over time that happiness fades and we desire more. So what do we do? We buy the newest version of the iPhone, and the cycle continues. We fail to realize that the finite can never fill the infinite desire in our hearts. Only God can.
As all these new concepts started to sink into my head, my heart ached to know the Lord better. I desired for Him to complete the longing in my heart for more. I began to aim my desires to Him and take time to learn more about Him on my own. For example, as I took the time to learn more about Eucharistic Miracles my love for the Eucharist sky rocketed.
One day I discovered that in 1999 when Pope Francis was a Cardinal in Argentina, he had a consecrated host that was part of a Eucharistic Miracle from 1996 taken to New York for testing. Upon examination, a lab reported that what they were testing was tissue from a live heart. Think about this for a minute. Every time you open your mouth to receive our Lord, you are receiving His heart!! God could have chosen to give us any part of His body, such as His hands or feet, but He did not. He gave us the part of a body that is associated with love.
Even more shocking to me about the lab results is that the living heart tissue was showing signs that it had been in distress. I couldn’t believe science was backing up what I had always been taught about the agony Jesus went through on the cross. Then I started to think about how not only did His body go through agony while dying on the cross for us, but His heart is still in distress for us now. His heart aches for us. He sees us searching for happiness and love and desires to give us His perfect love.
The Lord sees that we are all broken. We have all been the victim of someone’s selfishness. We all long for people to love us authentically instead of using us for their own pleasure. We have also all been guilty of diminishing people to objects that we use on our quest for personal happiness. God wants to take these wounds and aches in our hearts and use them as channels for His mercy and love. He desires to put His perfect heart in the most embarrassing and weakest spots of our hearts so that our hearts may become truly filled.
My senses to the beauty of the Eucharist have been awaken. When I receive Jesus at mass I pray for His perfect heart to come in and heal my heart. I beg Him to give me the grace to carry my crosses in this life, heal my wounds from the past, and help me be happy for the blessings He has given me. It is through the Eucharist that I have gained more happiness and peace in my life than I have ever experienced. Unrealistic expectations for friendships have gone out the window. Things that use to stress me out do not anymore. Instead of focusing on what I feel I need to accomplish in a month or a year, I find joy and excitement living in the moment and seeing where the Lord guides me. Besides, why would I turn anywhere else for happiness when the creator of the universe continually gives me His heart.
Maria Cossell is a parishioner at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel where she teaches sixth grade religion and social studies. What she enjoys the most about her job is teaching her students “Theology of the Body.” When she is not busy teaching she enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, singing, and traveling.