This is the second half of Pope Francis’ secrets for a happy life listed by Catholic News Service. You can find part 1 here.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
“It’s not enough to give them food,” he said. “Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home” from one’s own labor.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”
8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
9. Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the pope said.
[Note: To proselytize means “to make converts,” which is a good thing. But in contemporary use it often has the negative connotation of enticing converts from one religion to another using intimidating or questionable tactics.]
10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.
Two of these stand out for me:
Eight says to avoid negativity. That’s not easy. We are surrounded by negativity, especially on the Internet, but not only there. So, I need to remember the exhortations of my father in this regard, even if they are platitudes. He said, quoting a poster in a doughnut shop, “As you ramble on through life, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the doughnut, not upon the hole.” Also, especially when I was bad-mouthing someone or something, dad would say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” He lived what he preached, and I heard about it at his funeral from many people, our family, his friends, and his co-workers.
Ten is the other one that means a lot to me. I don’t know if I work for peace enough. But I pray for peace daily. Do I live in peace? I hope I try to do so. Where can one work for peace. I think home comes first. Create a peaceful family environment.