Often I hear from people, “Why do I need God? Can’t we be satisfied and happy without Him?” When we theologians and philosophers say “happiness” is union with God, we certainly don’t mean the contentedness that most people think of when they answer us by saying “We’re already happy.” What we mean is something more:
“Satiety can come about in one of two ways: either appetite is quenched because it desired things that are trivial, or because it becomes nauseous by becoming drawn to what is base and repugnant. In the latter case desire turns into loathing. But for those who enjoy fellowship with God who is infinite and beautiful, desire becomes more intense and has no limit” (St. Maximus the Confessor, The Cosmic Mystery of Christ, trans. Blowers and Wilkin, 64-65).
(This is in line also with what Saint Ignatius says about consolations and desolations from the evil spirit versus those from the good, and with the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas)
THOSE desires we have for the Good that are “satisfied” or bring worldly “contentedness” always terminate in goods with a lower case “g,” whereas what we really desire is the ultimate Good – that Good which has no limit and, when pursued in a virtuous life, satisfies desire with a deep and abiding sense of peace but also inflames the desire to love all the more greatly. Sin is precisely to keep trying to wring that blood of true happiness out of the stones of sensual or worldly pleasures. Those goods never inflame us to seek the greater Good – knowledge of the awesome, ineffable, Triune, and Consubstantial Godhead.
We are called to find that white stone, a little loaf of bread, out of which flows the true blood we are seeking – the blood of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Logos of God.
Yours in Christ,
Br. James Dominic, OP