Happiness (or A's Apologia)
|It’s rare to find a 17 year old who is religious. Most
teenagers usually worry about girlfriends, boyfriends, sex, clothes,
movies, etc. A religious person who goes to a public high school is very
much looked down upon. However, I do have a similarity with these
people. Actually, it is a similarity that all people have. It’s called
a desire for happiness.
Think about it. Why do people do the things they do? Why do people try to have fun? Why do people want to have a lot of money? Why do people want to be successful? It’s because they believe that by having those, they will be happy. In fact, they desire eternal happiness; something that lasts forever. The only difference between those people and I is that I already know how to be happy.
The first question people ask me is why I am religious. The answer is the same as why other people are religious. Many skeptics say that people believe in God because they want comfort, peace, happiness, and fear death and suffering. There is much truth in this. Just as we have hunger for food, there is hunger for happiness. And every innate desire corresponds to reality. There is no innate desire that doesn’t. Since I desire eternal happiness, it is reasonable then to conclude that there must be a place in which I can satisfy my desire.
This is what Christians call heaven. Everyone desires this place, even though unconsciously. However, not many people know how to get to heaven or even realize that the only way to be happy is to love God. Many people love other things in place of God such as friends, wives, husbands, parents, money, sex, etc. Not that they shouldn’t love their friends, wives and parents, but they forget that they need to love God. If you don’t have God in your life, you will think of your husband as a god or your friend as a god expecting them to give you what you want. And what you want is to be happy.
However, they cannot give you those things. People are imperfect. They cannot give you what you truly desire. Money can’t buy you happiness. And sex is pleasure, not happiness. This is why many people lay down in their bed at nights thinking, “I wish I was a better person” or “If only I can have a better life.” They don’t know that only God, who is Love, can give them those things. This is not a proof for the existence of God, but it is a good reason to believe.
I have believed in God all of my life. I remember when I was a kid; I asked questions such as “Why do people pray to Jesus and not the Father? Does the Father feel left out?” I remember watching a Jesus movie and my favorite part was always the crucifixion for some reason. I asked about Jesus whenever I had the chance to. I was in love with this Person, though I was soon to find out that this Person was a Divine Person and the crucifixion was His love for me. That is what I found out. That He loved me and died for me. He did the same for you whether you know it or not. The least I can do is to love Him back.
To love Him is to proclaim the Truth and love your neighbor. After that I can say, “For I no longer live, but Christ who lives in me.” As I have said, Christ is not just an ordinary person. He is a Divine Person. Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius tried to teach the truth, but they never claimed they were the truth. It was Jesus who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
If anyone wants to have a fair and balanced view of who Jesus was, one must have to say that He was a unique individual who believed He was God. He was the only one to have been prophesized and He proved His claim by His resurrection. In fact, from the historical data, one must accept the fact that Jesus resurrected. Simon Greenleaf, the person who wrote a Treatise on Legal Evidence, has concluded that Jesus resurrected. If one denies these facts, then we should ask what John the Baptist has asked. That is, is Jesus really the Christ or should we look for another?
I, on the other hand, have made my choice. I truly believe that Jesus Christ was the Incarnated Word and died for my sins and rose from the dead. One might ask why I am a Catholic. This will take books to explain, but I will explain it briefly. The main reason why I am a Catholic is because Catholicism is the only true religion. Why should I be a Muslim or a Buddhist if Catholicism is true? Contradictory religions can’t be true at the same time. One must be true. Either Jesus resurrected or He didn’t. Either Jesus founded the Catholic Church or He didn’t. Again, both cannot be true at the same time.
We know that Jesus founded a Church (Matthew 16:18). But which Church is it? He promised the Church divine protection by saying, “He who hears you, hears me.” He also said, “I will be with you always.” He speaks of the Church against which Hell will not prevail. These are big promises. If anyone has faith in Christ, he must believe in those promises. Another thing I should point out is that Jesus made Peter the visible head when He made him the foundation and gave him the keys to the kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19). Just as any kingdom has a head, this kingdom, which is the Church, has a head. Chop off the head, and the body dies. Therefore the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, ought to have a head too.
The Catholic Church is also a fool. She is a fool because she teaches chastity. She is a fool because she teaches celibacy in a sex-obsessed world. She is a fool because she has a head to teach the truth in a relativistic world. She is a fool because she teaches the importance of a family when the world forgets that word.Yes, she is a fool, but God’s foolishness is wiser than man.
Another reason why I am Catholic is because of her saints. No group of people can even compare to our Saint Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, etc. These saints endured through sufferings, weaknesses, and humiliation. In other words, they endured the world. They were right when the world was wrong. If anyone can match these people, I would gladly stop being a Catholic. These people called themselves Catholic because Catholicism means to sacrifice themselves for Christ and His Church. These people died for Christ.
Many people doubt whether they should believe in God or not. Many people believe in God, but have no faith. If you are one of those people, think about your life very hard and ask yourself if you are happy. If you are, that is fine. If you are not, I can tell you that God has freed me from anger and hatred. He has given me peace. He has given me joy. Most of all, He loves me. You desire perfect happiness too because you were made for God, and your heart will be restless until you find rest in Him.
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