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.

"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."
St Philip Neri

* * *

"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

* * *

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

* * *