The happiness this life promises is vanity and lies

October 25, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 310

How long, then, O sons of men! will you be dull of heart? Why will you love vanity and seek after lies? [Ps. iv. 3.]

Wisely does the Psalmist term them vanity and lies, for if there were nothing in worldly things but vanity, which signifies nothingness, their evil would be tolerable. But their most dangerous characteristic is the false assurance with which they persuade us to believe that they are what they claim to be.

In this the world manifests its excessive hypocrisy. Hypocrites endeavor to conceal the faults they have committed, and worldlings the miseries under which they groan. Some who are sinners would pass for saints. Others who are miserable would pass for the favorites of fortune.

But draw near to them, study the pulsations of their restless hearts, and you will see what a difference there is between appearances and reality.

There are plants which at a distance appear very beautiful, but touch them and they give forth a disagreeable odor. So it is with the rich and powerful of this world. When you behold the dignity of their position, the splendor of their dwellings, and the luxury of their surroundings, you would suppose them the happiest of men; but draw near to them, search the secret recesses of their souls, the hidden corners of their homes, and you will find how false is much of the happiness they seem to enjoy.

O children of men, created to the image of God, redeemed by His blood, destined to be the companions of Angels, why do you love vanity and seek after a lie? Why do you seek in false blessings a peace which they cannot give? Why do you leave the table of Angels to feed with beasts? Will not the calamities with which the world visits you determine you to break the chains of this cruel tyrant?

Reason and experience clearly prove that the happiness we seek is to be found only in God. Is it not madness to seek it elsewhere? “Go where you will,” says St. Augustine, “visit all lands, but you will not find happiness until you go to God.”

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