Choose a topic from Part 2A:

5. The Attainment of Happiness

1. Man is manifestly made for happiness or fulfillment. His mind or intellect grasps the notion of universal good; his will tends to it. And the all-good God who made man has not given him deceiving gifts of mind and will. Happiness must be attainable.

2. In heaven, the objective happiness of man is God, and hence the happiness of heaven is objectively one. But subjectively one man can be happier than another in heaven, for one man may have a greater capacity (because of greater charity and a consequently larger endowment of the light of glory) for the happiness of heaven. Capacities will vary, but all capacities will be completely filled up.

3. In the present earthly life man may attain a degree of happiness, but cannot have perfect happiness. On earth limitations and drawbacks are associated with happiness. Only God possessed in beatific vision can make man perfectly happy, and this vision cannot be had in earthly life.

4. Once perfect happiness has been attained, it cannot be lost. For perfect happiness fills up man's capacity and all his appetites for good; there is no tendency left in man which might lead him astray and cause him to reject his happy state.

5. Man's natural powers can bring him happiness, but not perfect happiness, for man's nature tends to what it cannot itself achieve; it tends to, needs, and desires the supernatural. Man's true end is supernatural, and is to be attained only by the aid of grace in this life, and the elevating and enlightening light of glory in heaven.

6. Only God can confer upon the soul in heaven the supernatural gift and grace called the light of glory which raises and illumines the intellect to enable it to behold God in his divine essence as the beatific vision. No angel or other creature can serve as intermediary in the bestowal of this gift of the light of glory; it is bestowed directly and immediately (that is, without intermediary) by God himself.

7. From a man who spends a period of responsible life on earth, good works are required for the attaining of heaven. The will must choose the good it wishes to attain, and the will expresses its choice by its acts. To attain heaven, the will must choose and exercise works of virtue. Each meritorious work represents a step towards the supreme good.

8. All men have a connatural and inescapable desire for their own fulfillment, for their crowning good and what it will give them; that is, all men necessarily crave happiness, complete and unending. Although all men do not have the right notion of what true happiness is, and of how it is to be attained, all men, without exception, crave it.

"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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