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3. What Happiness Is

1. Ultimate subjective happiness is the state of fulfillment and satisfaction in a person who has obtained the end for which he is made. Ultimate objective happiness is the reality which, when possessed, will render the possessor subjectively happy by completely fulfilling and satisfying his entire nature. God is man's objective happiness. Possession of God in the beatific vision is man's ultimate subjective happiness.

2. Man's subjective happiness is a state and an operation. As a state, it is the permanent possession of fulfillment. As an operation, it is an act by which man lays hold of, and possesses, the object which renders him happy.

3. As an operation, man's ultimate subjective happiness is an operation of the intellective faculties, not of the senses. The senses cannot behold God in the beatific vision. Yet, as St. Augustine says, after the general resurrection, when souls and their bodies have been reunited, the happiness of the soul will overflow into the senses and make their operation perfect.

4. Man's ultimate subjective happiness, as an operation, is an act of intellect rather than an act of will. St.John (17:3) says, \"This is eternal life, to know thee. . ..\" Yet the delight or enjoyment consequent upon the attainment of happiness belongs to the will. The intellect possesses the object which gives happiness; the will rests delighted in its possession.

5. The intellect is speculative inasmuch as it knows and contemplates truth; it is practical inasmuch as it knows how to go after and possess good. Man's ultimate happiness is possessed in heaven; it is no longer sought after. Hence the act of ultimate happiness is an act of the speculative intellect.

6. The knowledge which a man acquires during earthly life, such as scientific and philosophical knowledge, will be, in heaven, an accidental item in his perfect happiness, but not an essential element of that happiness.

7. In heaven a man will have some happiness from contemplating the angels, but his pure and perfect happiness must come from contemplating God in the beatific vision. Man's intellect, which possesses the vision with the aid of the light of glory, is made for truth, and God alone is essential truth. God alone is the boundless fulfillment of the human intellect, as he is of the entire human nature.

8. Only in the beatific vision will the human intellect find its perfect object. Possessing this object, the intellect will have nothing further to desire or to seek.

"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will. Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God's will. For the future, embrace God's good pleasure and say to him in every happening: "Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight." "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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