How do you and I find true happiness in this life? Can we truly be “happy” or is it only attainable on a temporary basis? Well, as we live our life, we start to realize that living a happy life is more difficult to achieve in reality. Mainly because of what we think the meaning of happiness is supposed to be. It is then that we seek a new meaning for happiness. One that goes beyond our physical well being and comfort in this life. That is where faith in God becomes instrumental in attaining this happiness.
The concept of happiness in the Christian faith is far more than just our psychological well being, although that is clearly an aspect of it. Jesus makes that clear when He speaks in the Gospel of Matthew ch. 5 in the “sermon on the Mount.” Jesus tells us things such as:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
He identifies many things that would not have been considered ingredients of happiness. And so Christ’s definition of happiness is more akin to what we might say is true blessedness, which has ultimately a transcendent end in mind and not merely the well being of body and mind in this life, but our “eternal life.”
True blessedness or happiness has to include the ability to find the meaning behind and bear up under suffering. Because for most people, life consists of suffering and sometimes a great deal of suffering. It may be self-inflicting through poor choices that they have made, but many times it is because of no fault of our own. For instance, we find in the Gospel John chapter 9, the man born blind. It was not of his own doing or the sins of his parents.
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be manifest in him’ (verses 1-3).”
Many times the purpose of our suffering may become apparent to us in this life, but many times it may not become apparent to us. And so the blessedness we seek is the ability to bear up under such sufferings. But in the mean time, we trust in faith and surrender to God’s providence and believe that our life has meaning in that suffering. It is then that we find a happiness that transcends and exceeds mere psychological well being.
One key element of life, is a life that knows the nature and end of human life. One of the most deepest questions that the human hearts ask is “Why!” Well, the answer to that question we hold in this life to a large extent is faith. Some part is known by reason, but what is known by faith is much more satisfying. Much more satisfying than a full bank account or a nice car in the driveway.
Secondly, happiness is an activity that brings out all of our being, natural and spiritual, to completion. A life according to virtue. To take a supreme satisfaction in a life well lived. A deep conformity to Christ, believing that He will lead us to a life in heaven. It is these things that transcend our own particular situations we encounter in this life.
Until next time, God bless.