“The human soul, by its very nature, is endowed with the faculty of knowing God and the capacity for loving Him. The intelligence of the soul, transporting itself above all that is created and finite, has power to raise itself even to the contemplation of that Being who alone is uncreated and infinite, who is the source of all good and all perfection; it is able to form of Him an idea that is clear and accurate and indelible. The will of the soul is made to love this sovereign Good, which the understanding presents to it. The desires of the soul, which no created object can ever satisfy and which reach far beyond the limits of this life, tend necessarily toward a Good that is supreme, eternal, and infinite, and which alone can content the soul and make it happy.”
— Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 3-4, AN EXCERPT FROM, THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
Though many of this country’s founders were deists, they did grasp the truth that the pursuit of happiness was a key drive for humankind. The make this ideal part of the fundamental aspects the rights this country would offer. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are written into the constitution of this country.
I used to enjoy finding a cartoon in the newspaper that showed a smiley face and said, “Happiness is…” and then would add things like getting and ice cream cone, a new puppy, a warm blanket, etc.. I know this dates me in a couple of ways. First, that I read a newspaper, and secondly, the fact that I could remember this cartoon. The point being is that happiness is seen as being relative to each person.
In the both the Old and New Testament, the word of happy can and is often translated as blessed. The idea being that in order to be truly happy, the ultimate source of that happiness must come from God.
Today, people spend a lot of time and money seeking happiness. Yet, today, it seems that people are more depressed and angry than any other time human history. Why is this? Why is it that suicide rates are going up? Why are there more mass shootings, more murders and more violence in this country? Are people killing themselves and others because they are happy?
Antidepressant Use Up 400 Percent in US. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics found that 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 takes an antidepressant, with about 14 percent taking the medication for more than 10 years. (psychcentral.com/news/2011/10/25/antidepressant-use-up-400-percent-in-us/30677.html) Did you get that? The use of antidepressants is up 400 percent! It doesn’t seem that the pursuit of happiness is being very successful.
I believe, and through experience found to be true, that the only real happiness we can experience for any length of time, is the happiness we can receive from God-given spiritual consolation. This spiritual consolation cannot be created by our desires but it should be one, if not the most important desire, we can receive. For from true spiritual consolation come the ability to transform our thoughts and lives in such a way that we can discover the true good spoke of in the beginning quote of this post.
Blessed (Happy) is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
(Ps. 118:26-29 NRS)