Happiness is important and the desire for happiness is inseparable for the human spirit.
Misconceptions about happiness abound. As Catholics, we are quick to point out that pleasure has its place and there’s more to life – a bigger picture.
Happiness should be part of that picture.
Morality and virtues speak to holiness and happiness. We have often lost sight of this connection, although it has been recognized since the early days of the faith:
“One huge fact stands out in the history of morality for the ancients, Christians and pagans alike. The question of happiness was primary as they saw it. Morality and its totality was simply the answer to this question.”Servais Pinckaers, The Sources of Christain Ethics
Happiness and holiness are traveling companions.
If one of them is missing in your life, you want to do something about it!
We all have misconceptions about happiness and we have misconceptions about happiness as Catholics.
It’s important to remember that our desire for the “good,” for happiness, is inseparable from our human nature.
As we necessarily and unavoidably pursue happiness, our highest values and beliefs help us prioritize our choices for getting there.
We want to be with God because we want to be happy. Happiness is good.
We prioritize our lives every day in pursuit of happiness.
It’s always driving us.
One misconception we have is we tell ourselves, “Well, I have to wait to be happy, so I have to wait for something external to happen, and then I’ll be happy.”
Or “When I see this success or when I overcome this challenge or when this changes in my situation, well, then I can be happy.”
Happiness is a choice. We must choose it, now, and cultivate it. The difficulties, obstacles, and tragedy of life will crowd it out if we don’t strive for it.
Happiness is such an essential part of being human. It’s connected with those big questions: What does it mean to be human? What are we here for? What’s our destiny?
Our destiny is happiness if we choose it as our response to God’s generous invitations.
There’s obviously a lot more to say about happiness!
We invite you to set an intention, to be a happy Catholic; to choose happiness; to work, and strive for living that beautiful, happy life that God intends for you.