The great resignation

Francis and Teresa, what they most wanted was not to be saints, but to be happy. And looking for this happiness, they found the pearl for which it is worth leaving everything.

October 4, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
teresa lisieux

The beginning of October brings with it the feasts of two little great saints, little because they were distinguished by their humility and poverty, but great because their witness continues to impress the whole world: Francis of Assisi and Therese of Lisieux. What do they say to us today?

When I am asked about the message of the saints in general, I usually reply that their main characteristic is that they were happy. What else does a personal encounter with Jesus Christ produce but happiness and fulfillment? What is faith but the conviction that God exists and that he loves us just as we are, satisfying our longings in an extraordinary way? "How many things I have to thank Jesus for, who has been able to fulfill all my desires!" exclaims the young Doctor of the Church in her famous "Story of a Soul."

Francis and Teresa, what they most wanted was not to be saints, but to be happy. And in seeking this happiness, they found the pearl for which it is worth leaving everything. Although their lives followed very different paths, they both found their way to happiness (to holiness) in their detachment from material things and from themselves.

The race to be and to have is one of the deadly traps in which the human being stubbornly participates without realizing that it is tricked. Like hamsters on their spinning wheel, we run and run to get nowhere, because I don't know any rich person who is satisfied and doesn't want to earn a million more; and I don't know any personality who, no matter how high he has reached, doesn't want to climb one more rung.

The tabloids have turned this bloody race into their own business. In the arena of the media circus, the rich and famous gladiators duel. One day they are crowned and proclaimed champions, while the next day they are plunged into misery. Their lives are sliced open for all to see, and the public, envious of their success, loves to see them fall and fail.

It also happens on a small scale. In villages, in neighborhoods, in the heart of companies and institutions, in large families, among classmates, in any human group there are those who rise and those who, much to their regret, fall. But to go down for pleasure? to seek to be the last? to refuse the temptation to earn more, to be more than the other? And all this, not because of masochism but because it makes them happier? Let's see if it is true that money does not bring happiness!

I am convinced that this truth revealed to us by the Gospel (and which, as an objective truth, applies to both Christians and atheists) is behind, if only as an intuition, the phenomenon that has come to be called "the great resignation". This is a movement detected above all in the USA, but which is spreading throughout the Western world after the pandemic, whereby millions of workers are abandoning their jobs, sometimes extraordinarily well paid, renouncing their careers and opting for simpler and more satisfying ways of life.

Perhaps none of us will ever be like il poverello of Assisi who described "perfect joy" as arriving at one of the convents of the congregation he founded on a freezing night, tired, starving, wet and terrified and, after begging to be welcomed, receiving a door slammed in his face; but it is certainly the Gospel ideal that Jesus taught us and that St. Paul sang so well in his famous hymn in the Epistle to the Philippians.

Teresa and Francis, Francis and Teresa, teach us that poverty and humility, "not to act for ostentation" and "to consider others as superior" are not vices of weak do-gooders, but heroic virtues of those who are able to make the leap from the lie of competition to be more, to the truth of humility inscribed in the heart of the human being and manifested in Christ Jesus. In the face of our insignificant but necessary renunciations, He left nailed to the cross the greatest message of love ever written. That really was the great renunciation.

The authorAntonio Moreno

Journalist. Graduate in Communication Sciences and Bachelor in Religious Sciences. He works in the Diocesan Delegation of Media in Malaga. His numerous "threads" on Twitter about faith and daily life have a great popularity.

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