The Samaritan woman of the Gospel, who went to draw water from the well of
Jacob was drowning in fleeting pleasures in an impossible search for
happiness.

Nonetheless, she multiplied those pleasures, hoping that the dazzle of
their novelty would replace the emptiness that she found in them. Every new
pleasure deepened her wounds and she was unable to find anything to calm
her thirst for happiness. She was sinking in a downward spiral leading to
despair. The happiness to which we are called cannot be found in the
unrestrained use of creatures.

As we are freely created by God, because He loves us, our life must become
a song to the Uncreated Love. Let us join our voices to the chorus of those
who want to love God by acting only by His love.

Admittedly, this love is incarnated in our daily duty of state and allows
us to know the sweet joy of deeply loving those who are dear to us, to love
our country and the beauties that God has abundantly spread in nature. We
are not angels and the beauty of a sunrise or a flower or a work of art
raises our souls and leads us towards unsuspected summits and gives us
healthy and necessary joys.

Nonetheless, these joys are only samples of a higher joy because a
creature, however noble and beautiful, will never be more than a pale, dim
image of its Creator.

Man cannot taste these joys and flourish, unless he sees in them -- keeping
the order established by God, who is source and end of any joy -- only a
ladder that enables him to ascend in the Divine Love.

Our sensible nature (sensible precisely because it is given to us to
vibrate with the human and divine joys that beat in unison) has difficulty
in apprehending this very simple law of the divine hierarchy of happiness.
Our nature does not understand it and, since original sin, tries to find
for and by itself a happiness in which it can rest forever.

The total happiness of the senses is, by nature, folly and yet… too often
it is our leading purpose. Even without losing divine grace, man inclines
to satisfy his animal nature before seeking the happiness of the soul,
forgetting too often to seek, first and above all, the happiness of God.
Even though God wants the happiness of His creatures, man too often forgets
to answer this loving will by loving in return.

The Christian lives in the state of grace, but without living by God’s
grace; he lives in God’s love without seeking to live by God’s love. He
remains at the periphery of the divine love and does not enter into its
intimacy, in spite of the pressing invitation addressed to him.

He wants to remain in the love of God but also to be free to escape towards
creatures. He tries -- without succeeding in anything but deceiving himself
-- to love with equivalent loves both the Creator and the creatures.

From this attitude results, in practice, the extreme difficulty that man
has in offering with joy the small sacrifices that he finds in his path.

He is ready and wants to make such sacrifices, for doesn’t he live in a
state of grace? But concretely, he rejects or postpones them with multiple
good, careful and credible pretexts. Where to find the reason for all these
excuses?

The reason is simple: he does not live out of love, but by calculations. He
loves God, but with reservations.

Saint Augustine judges this attitude in a concise formula that has become
famous: “He who loves does not keep counting.”

In this difficulty in loving God as He wants to be loved, we find the major
reason for our present evils.

To love is simply to know what is true, to live it and to radiate it
without any regard for our comforts, so that others may know the happiness
of living in the intimacy of God, seeking Him in all and in everything. To
love is to be willing to give God to those who are dear to us, so that they
live that love.

If we could know the gift of God, if we knew how much He loves us and how
much He works in our lives, at every moment, inviting us to love Him above
all, then our souls would be eager to live on love alone.

Our hearts would be thirsty and would not hesitate to go to the well of the
eternal Love. It would then be God Himself who would give Himself to us and
would satisfy our thirst while pouring in our hearts sources of living
waters, which will become pledges of an eternity of happiness.

Let us approach and draw those waters.