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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.

"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."
St Philip Neri

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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