God’s deepest desire is that every man might choose to receive the true and lasting happiness Jesus Christ promises in His Gospel, which might be called the Gospel of Happiness. While every man pursues and can often experience pleasures and happiness in the world, many men experience periods of unhappiness and the relentless pursuit of happiness never ends. In the Incarnation, Jesus promises every man that he can share in Christ’s true and lasting happiness and dies so that every man might be saved and receive the perfection of happiness.
Every man’s pursuit of happiness in the world
Every man desires happiness and pursues various kinds of happiness until the last day of his life.
Every man desires happiness
Embedded deep in the soul of a man is the desire for happiness. From the first moments of life, a baby boy cries out for comfort. As a boy grows to become a man, his cries become less obvious but his craving for comfort, for happiness, expands to include all sorts of things: meaning and purpose, relationships, sensual pleasure, health, work, service, leisure, wealth, religion, possessions, hobbies, sports, independence, self-esteem, power, dominance, and many other things.
Men’s happiness varies
Men’s happiness varies significantly. Some men are very happy. Many men are not happy, and some men are profoundly unhappy.
A man’s happiness ebbs and flows during his life as he makes choices in his pursuit of happiness. A man chooses to pursue different things at different points of his life which he believes will make him happy. Attractive opportunities present themselves and a man strives to seize them so he can grow in happiness. Situations arise which cause severe unhappiness which a man chooses to avoid or confront, including various kinds of threats, attacks, and serious losses, such as the inevitability of illness, aging, and death. Large trends in society such as definitions of success, materialism, and social conflict can lead a man to choose to stew in anger and become discontent.
The pursuit of happiness is a constant call
The pursuit of happiness lasts until the moment of a man’s death. While a man may not want to face it, his choices to pursue particular types of happinesses and his choices of how to react to life’s challenges through his thoughts, words and deeds, have a big impact on his happiness; a man can be happier if he correctly chooses to pursue things that will make him truly happy and learns to be happy in challenging situations.
Jesus Christ promises true and lasting happiness to every man
Jesus Christ, the Savior of Man, knows every man desires and pursues happiness because God is the One who embedded the desire for happiness in every man’s soul. God plants the desire for happiness in every man’s soul so that he will turn to God, the only One who can fully satisfy a man’s pursuit of happiness (The Catechism of the Catholic Church; CCC 1718-1719).
Jesus begins and ends with the promise of happiness
In His very first words (Mt 5:1-12) in His very first sermon (The Sermon on the Mount; Mt 5-7, CCC 1716-1717), Jesus begins His public ministry with the promise of happiness in The Beatitudes (meaning, “happinesses” and “blessedness”) both in this world and the world to come. Jesus makes the spectacular promise of eternal happiness in the Beatific Vision (“the vision of happiness”, CCC 163, 1028) in Heaven (CCC 1042-1060) that every single man can receive after his life on earth is finished. Jesus promises every man happiness now and forever.
The true and lasting happiness – Beatitude
The beatitude, or happiness, that Jesus promises is true and lasting happiness that goes beyond the kinds of worldly happinesses with which men can be temporarily satisfied, beyond pleasant thoughts, sensations, emotions, and contentment. The happiness Jesus promises is true happiness, a happiness that comes from being united with God and with every soul in love, it is a flood of exquisite joy that washes over a man’s outer experience and fills a man’s soul till it overflows; it is beyond human understanding and expression, but it is experienced as the peace and divine joy of being united with God. The happiness Jesus promises is beyond the passing pleasantries of the world, for it is everlasting happiness, a profound joy and peace which a man can experience today, tomorrow, and forever in the perfect happiness of Heaven.
Jesus dies so that men can find happiness
Jesus’ entire Gospel is a Gospel of Happiness; Gospel means “good news” and every man is happy when he hears good news. Every word of Jesus and every act of Jesus including His Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, and the establishment of His Holy Catholic Church, are all divine gifts from God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit so that every man might receive the Beatitudes in this life and the Beatific Vision in the life to come. God the Father so loves every man that He gave His only Son to die on the Cross so men might be saved and receive happiness today, and forever in the eternal life (Jn 3:16); Jesus dies on the Cross so that men might choose to accept His promise of true and lasting happiness.