Pope Francis Gives Keys To Happiness In New Interview

Pope Francis just revealed his opinion of 10 ways to find peace and happiness in a new interview. These principles are clearly based on a more generalized understanding of human nature and not so much on any religious interpretation, so he offers it to the whole world Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Here are his principles:

1. Live and let live.
This seems to go along with his 3rd principle. What is to be gained by trying to force others to live as you would have them live? Some might say, “their soul” if this is a religious point of view. There might be others still that claim it’s important to stop others from self harm. I think “let live” implies you should intervene if someone’s life is on the line, but anything other than that requires a deeper evaluation. Inherent in this first principle is a respect for the dignity of the human person in his or her free will. This is one of the first principles also of John Paul II’s book “Love and Responsibility.” A person’s rational and interior life, which gives rise to a sense of freedom in choosing one’s own path, is one of the basic tenets for why the human person has such value and dignity. “Live and let live” seems to be a clear way of observing this dignity.

2. Give oneself to others.
“If one gets tired, one runs the risk of being egoistic. And stagnant water is the first to be corrupted.” Here is the basic gospel message. From the Church document Gaudium et Spes: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word (Jesus) does the mystery of man take on light… By suffering for us He not only provided us with an example for our imitation, He blazed a trail, and if we follow it, life and death are made holy and take on a new meaning.”

3. Move quietly and peaceful.
Like ”a running river.” The Pope said the elderly have the wisdom to move with “kindness and humility” and have the “calmness of life.”

4. Make time for playing with children, leisure, reading and enjoying art.
“Consumerism has led to the anxiety of losing this culture,” he said. This sentiment echoes the findings from recent research in Positive Psychology. Martin Seligman proposes that five principles are necessary for happiness. Engaging in leisurely and enjoyable activity, accomplishing goals and enjoying healthy relationships especially with ones family are all part of his prescription.

5. Share Sundays with family.
Again a call to leisure, and family. Even the mafia Pope Francis called out in Southern Italy were praised for not working on Sunday.

6. Help young people find employment.
The Pope suggested the youth could be taught skilled work, which would allow them the “dignity of bringing home the bacon.” This would help reduce the amount of depression in the young, and ultimately suicides as well. Makes sense.

7. Look after nature.
He talked about the need to use nature intelligently, to master it but not to destroy it. We have to think about nature holistically in our pursuit of happiness. While it is good to use nature for its resources, we need to think about how we are ultimately hurting ourselves in the long run but using it with such short sighted mentality.

8. Rapidly forget the negative.
This seems to be wisdom found naturally among the elderly. For some anyway, they seemed to have learned that most negative things are simply not worth holding onto.

9. Respect those who think differently.
Here again we see the theme from principles 1 and 3. It’s important to engage in dialogue with those who think differently and respect who they are first as human persons before any sort of fundamental judgment against them because of a certain way they think.

10. Actively seek peace.
Peace doesn’t just come accidentally. This is also present in Seligman’s work. While some people are naturally disposed towards “flourishing” as Seligman terms it, well-being can actually be learned. One must actively engage in the process to attain it.

What are your thoughts? Anything you’d add? I’d love to hear what people think about this interview. The Pope’s words are usually anticipated with a lot of expectation, how did this interview measure up?

1 Comment
  • M
    Posted at 21:57h, 29 July Reply

    I am a Teacher’s assistant in a special needs classroom and the children that I work with I deeply feel need interventions. But this would seem to go against point number one listed above. These are still people, but their behaviors if not corrected (for lack of a better term) will lead them down a much harder path than if we can work on them. Where does that fit into this philosophy, or is this one of the times that is meant to be considered and looked at on a case by case basis?

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