Is it Christian to seek happiness?

Human beings cannot stop searching for happiness. The mistake is to seek it for its own sake. What gives happiness is to follow the conscience.

February 22, 2021-Reading time: < 1 minute

Photo: Stan B./Unsplash

Yes and no. We can't stop looking for happiness. It comes from the factory, we wear it. St. Augustine formulated it: "You made us Lord for You...". And St. Thomas argues it: our intelligence in desiring to know, and our heart in desiring to love, are seeking God, even if we do not know it. All our tension towards happiness is tension towards God. And that is why we turn so many things into idols and substitutes.

We can tear anyone apart just by asking them flat out: are you really happy, is this what you expected from life, is this what you expected from life, is this what you expected from life? Of course, we all expect more from life, because we are made for heaven. That's why begging for happiness alone is frustrating and smacks too much of selfishness.

C. S. Lewis, in his wonderful autobiography (Captivated by joy), which is a search for the joy of happiness since childhood, comes to the conclusion that happiness is a result. It is a mistake to seek it for its own sake. What gives happiness is following conscience, which is following God.  

The authorJuan Luis Lorda

Professor of Theology and Director of the Department of Systematic Theology at the University of Navarra. Author of numerous books on theology and spiritual life.

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