unterberg-345560_1280No matter where we live in the world today, we are inundated with opinions on how to achieve happiness. Actually, the world offers hundreds of contradictory opinions on what happiness is — and the seeming lack of happiness indicates that most of these opinions are wrong. But God created each of us to experience true happiness, both now and forever.

The following is a brief, step by step summary of how, by grace, we can attain true happiness through Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church. Concluding each step are references to portions of Scripture where you can read and meditate further on each subject.

 

Step One

God created each one of us in His Image:

  • To live in loving fellowship with Him and each other;
  • To be His sons and daughters;
  • To imitate Him: to obey His laws and commandments; to be perfect as He is perfect.
  • To enjoy Him forever

(Genesis 1 and 2)

Step Two

BUT by the sin of our first parents, all of humanity fell away from this intimate relationship with God:

  • We all, each one of us, became tainted by this original sin;
  • Our hearts became hardened to His love;
  • No matter how hard people tried to obey, they continued to fall short of His glory and turned away.
  • As a result, death came into the world.

(Genesis 3)

Step Three

YET through all this, God our Creator and Father never quit loving us:

  • For generations He continued to visit His people, to raise up Holy men and women to lead them back to Him:
  • To teach and guide them how to follow Him and to turn away from sin and false gods.

(The rest of the Old Testament)

Step Four

Even though people, of all cultures and religious customs, have tried to walk with God, the taint of sin was too strong:

  • Not only did the people continue to sin, to disobey God laws, and turn away to false gods,
  • But even the leaders turned away under the influence of sin, providing false models for the people to follow, leading them away from God.

(The rest of the Old Testament)

Step Five

BUT…

“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

John 3:16-17

Jesus,

the son of God,

was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit,

and became man.

(John 1; Philippians 2)

Step Six

Jesus

taught what we were to believe and modeled how we were to live so that we could return to fellowship with God and each other.

(The Gospels)

Step Seven

Jesus,

on the night before He was crucified, instituted the Eucharist through which His own receive Him, body and blood, soul and divinity.

He said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (jn 6:53-54).

(The Gospels)

Step Eight

Jesus

allowed himself to be crucified on the cross in our place, for our sins, so that we might be free from slavery to sin, that we might be free to once again walk in holiness and fellowship with God.

(The Gospels)

Step Nine

Jesus

rose from the dead to free us from the clutches of death that we too might spend eternity with God.

(The Gospels)

Step Ten

Jesus

ascended to the right hand of the Father to be not only our judge but our merciful advocate, interceding continually for us.

(Acts 1; 1 John 2)

Step Eleven

Jesus

sent the Holy Spirit to live within our hearts so that by His indwelling life and grace we might be empowered to live obediently:

  • To believe in Him with new hearts of faith;
  • To look to the future with the hope of our own resurrection;
  • To love God and one another as He loved us.

(John 14-17; 1 Corinthians 13)

Step Twelve

Jesus

sent His hand-chosen apostles, under the leadership of Peter, who together had witnessed His life, death, and resurrection, and were empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:

  • To establish the Church through which all people might learn of Jesus,
  • That all might believe in Him and experience the grace of salvation through Baptism and faith;
  • That all might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by which they, too, could live in holiness and happiness, both now and forever.

(Acts and the rest of the New Testament)

Step Thirteen

Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?

  • Have you repented of your sin and asked for His forgiveness?
  • Have you been reborn by the redeeming waters of Baptism?
  • Have you entered into the fellowship of His Church, His family of redeemed sons and daughters?
  • Are you striving by grace to walk with Him in holiness?

(Acts 2:32; 1 John 1:9)

Step Fourteen

Jesus

gave us His Church through which you can receive this gift of His salvation and His sacraments of grace.

  • Call or visit a local Catholic Church;
  • Talk to a priest or Catholic layman;
  • Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • Talk to Jesus right now in prayer…

(Matthew 16:13-19; 1 Timothy 3:15)

Step Fifteen

“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God,

have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Ask Mary, his mother, to pray for you:

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;

Blessed are you among women 

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus;

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners, 

now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

If you would like help and fellowship on this journey of faith, we would encourage you to join our network and introduce yourself. May the Lord bless and keep you!

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