All of us human beings want joy. Everything we do and say, all of our actions and endeavors, are meant to produce contentment, peace, happiness. Even the most morally corrupt person, ultimately, wants joy.
But how do we find it?
The most elemental mistake—made consistently across the centuries to the present day—is to seek peace by filling up in ourselves something that we perceive to be missing. We tell ourselves that we’d be happy if we just had enough pleasure, enough power, enough security, enough esteem. BUT THIS DOES NOT WORK.
It is the supreme paradox of the Christian spiritual tradition that we become filled with joy precisely in the measure that we contrive a way to make of ourselves a gift. By emptying out the self in love for the other, we become filled to the brim with the divine life.
Just one lesson learned from Mother Teresa. This article originally in July 2010 at Word on Fire, titled The Lesson of Calcutta and reprinted at The Integrated Catholic Life.