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Wired for happiness

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Fr. Alex Kirby Lancon - published on 04/20/23

Sometimes the worst thing is to get everything we ever wanted. Because inevitably we find that it’s still not enough.

We become what we love. 

Even without knowing you, I do know one thing we all share. We all desire to be happy. One of the hallmarks of the human person is that we are beings of desire. We can’t help but be attracted to what we perceive as good and go after it to fulfill this insatiable yearning of our hearts. 

And whether we realize it or not, everything we do — from the cup of coffee we make to the friendships we hold dear to the cities we visit — is for the sake of happiness. 

We are wired to seek our flourishing, our excellence, the fulfillment of our wills, to scour the earth for what will make us happy. Our wills, our hearts, hunger to be satisfied, to fill the void within. And this is good. 

But wait a minute

There’s one big problem though: Ultimate happiness, what we call beatitude, cannot be found in this earthly exile. Instead, circling around us are a myriad of lesser, particular goods which share in God’s goodness but only offer a small morsel of what we’re actually hungry for. Sometimes these goods feel like a hurricane, sometimes like a nice breeze, but if we’re honest, we all know the ache it leaves within us when they’re gone. Sometimes the worst thing is to get everything we ever wanted. Because inevitably we find that it’s still not enough. 

With the end so far away, the long middle can come with a wandering eye for what the world can offer, to gain consolation where we may not be finding it. 

Yet here’s the good news: Where there is lack, there is also a promise of fulfillment.

These sighs of soul we may experience from time to time, even at not possessing God as we wish, is well noted by God’s providence. As humans we are made on the way and not fully at our destination. But this deficiency within us forces us to broaden our horizons to what the world cannot offer. Our infinite desire coupled with an unsatisfied heart catapult us to the ultimate, to God. And God uses this for our journey back to him. We just have to fix our hunger on what will truly satisfy.

Become the greatest desire of your heart, become what you hunger for most, become godly, become Christ. Become what you love. 

~

This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

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The Human Being Fully Alive
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