I had the great pleasure of attending the ordination of Bishop Robert Christian this Tuesday in San Francisco. In addressing the congregation, Bishop Christian made a statement about the Church that immediately stuck in my imagination: “We seek to promote the pursuit of happiness by promoting the pursuit of holiness.”
This is what sets the Church apart from the rest of human society. Our Church guides us to seek our fulfillment in God, whereas the world invites us to seek pleasure in sin and disobedience. Our first impulse often is to make excuses for our sins, like Adam and Eve in the garden. We treat God like an impediment to our happiness and the Church like a nagging mother who doesn’t want us to have any fun.
Bishop Christian’s exhortation reveals the genius of the Christian life: our greatest happiness can only be found in holiness. We were made to live a godly life! Any lesser pleasures we pursue will ultimately undermine our progress toward the fullness of joy in heaven. Our Christian faith is not at odds with the pursuit of happiness; our faith is the surest path to happiness. We can fight against God’s plan for us and seek our own pleasures instead, but we will never be as happy without God as we could be in union with Him. If you want to be happy, strive to be holy. The Saints are the happiest people alive, both on earth and in heaven.