The true secret to happiness

Feb 7, 2018 | Philip Kosloski

“God, you are my God, I pine for you; my heart thirsts for you, as a land parched, dreary and waterless.” (Psalm 63:1)

The second step of the “Way of the Heart,” is entitled, “The Human Heart, Restless and Needy.” It corresponds to our innate desire for happiness and our constant quest for it in this life.

According to an article on Aleteia, the most popular course in Yale’s prestigious history is on “happiness.”

Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life, had about 1,200 students signed up within a week after enrollment period opened. That’s almost one-quarter of Yale undergraduates. It has earned the distinction of being the most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history.

The course tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” psychology professor Laurie Santos, 42, told the New York Times

Happiness, it is what our hearts long and crave for, yet we are still struggling to find it. Often we seek many selfish pleasures in life in hopes that they will make us “happy.” Unfortunately, we typically search for happiness in created things, thinking that they will provide some sort of comfort in a world full of disappointment.

Pope Francis laments the state of many young people who seek aimlessly these created joys. In an interview with a radio station in Argentina Pope Francis said, “I would ask the young people, ‘are you really happy?’… Do you know what it means to have joy in your heart? … It makes me very upset when I see a sad young person … who has aged prematurely, who has already ‘retired’ to ‘wait for life to pass by.’”

He then shared with the audience the “secret” to true happiness, “If you take risks to achieve great things … doing things for others, working hard to make them happy … you will know joy and happiness.”

Pope Francis shows us that true happiness consists of living for others and participating in the mission of the heart of Jesus.

Saint Augustine famously put it this way, “You have made us for Yourself [O Lord], and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

Physical things may provide a few moments of happiness, but at the core of our being we recognize the emptiness that is there. It is an emptiness that only one person can fill and that person is Jesus Christ. Once we realize that, our hearts will no longer be restless, but unified with the heart of Christ.

Then and only then will we experience true “happiness.”


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We pray that religious women and men, and seminarians grow in their own vocations through their human, pastoral, spiritual and community formation, leading them to be credible witnesses to the Gospel.