Aleteia

Why the key to happiness is spiritual peace

Holy Spirit
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If you want lasting happiness in this world, try to establish peace with God, yourself and your neighbor.

All humans desire happiness at some level. It is a natural inborn desire that motivates most of our actions on a daily basis. We seek to do things that provide happiness while avoiding those things that bring suffering.

However, what often happens is that we seek a momentary happiness that only lasts for a short time. This happiness is fleeting and leaves us just as fast as it comes.

The key to lasting happiness is to find peace, a peace we cannot grasp, but a peace that comes from God.

Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance explains the three areas of our lives where we need to establish peace in his early 20th-century book My Prayer Book.

All desire happiness. But peace brings happiness. It is a threefold peace, that is accompanied by heavenly happiness; peace with God, peace with one’s neighbor, and peace with oneself.

Lasance then explains how to achieve peace in these three areas.

Peace with God means union with God, perfect conformity of one’s own will with the divine will, the state of grace, the joy of a good conscience, which surpasses every joy on earth.

Peace with one’s neighbor means the exercise of fraternal charity, the observance of the golden rule, “do unto others as you would that they should do unto you,” the avoidance of contention, the patient endurance of others’ faults, the forgiveness of injuries, the joy of unselfish, disinterested well-doing.

Peace with oneself means the victory over self, the mastery of one’s passions and emotions, self-poise, self-control, and the sweet joy of the consciousness of duty well done — done with the best motive and the purest intention … Perfect self-mastery is the grand achievement of the humble follower of Christ.

If you are struggling with peace in your life, evaluate each of these three areas and see where you are lacking. If we are honest with ourselves, we likely have room for improvement in all three areas, but for right now, we should choose one area to improve before moving on to a different area.

This is the peace the saints possessed, a peace that led to a supernatural happiness on earth, but more importantly, an eternal happiness that never ends.

Above all things, Fr. Lasance suggests that there is one principle that we should focus on if we want any kind of lasting happiness, “Much more, however, does our peace depend upon our trust in God, submission to His holy will, and perfect confidence in His providence.”