Saturday, May 29, 2010

God’s Desire for Human Happiness

From the third Psalm of Sunday’s Office of Readings;
They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.
From the heavens the Lord looks forth,
he sees all the children of men. (Psalm 33)
As people consider their relationship with God, many think only of their obligations and duties. (We can blame this on the philosopher Kant but that is a different subject).  Such thinking begins to focus the spiritual life around feelings of guilt, or fulfilling obligations in a legalistic or minimalist way.  If we look in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is interesting to point to point out that the moral section begins not with the duties of the Commandments but with a discussion of happiness.  What unfolds in the Catechism is not a morality of duty but of excellence.
True happiness comes from God.  This is not the fluffy happiness of self indulgence, but finding life’s deepest meaning.  God desires our integral human fulfillment.  I think that if we could even taste this happiness even for a moment we would pursue nothing else in our life.  On the surface a morality of happiness and excellence might look the same as a morality of duty, but the underlying motivation for a morality of excellence is love. It is love that give energy to our souls and provides the motive for our interior life. “They are happy, whose God is the Lord.”

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