We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thomas Jefferson

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When God’s agency recedes, man’s agency ascends.  Western man’s ascendance in the last two to three centuries included man’s pursuit of happiness.

What can be said of this quest?

Well, perhaps our present circumstances might simply have us ask this: Can one be happy without God?

Is happiness possible without the grace of God?  Without mercy?  Is man alone capable of living in such a way that he or she can be called good?  The ultimate in good? Without misstep?  Without sin or the need for atonement?

Can anyone not help but conclude, if they think about it, that man is neither capable of absolute good nor absolute evil but rather that we are, President and Pope included, stuck in the middle – the Great Golden Mean – capable, within humbling human limits, of being both good and not very good and hence live within that realistic boundary in which happiness (not perfection) must be found – so too modest improvement in how we live.

In secularism access to wisdom is remote.  The pursuit of happiness without God – an impossibility and an illusion cranking out disappointment, frustration and grievance.

Our task – find the middle where Truth can be known and happiness realized.   Yes, happiness requires humility due imperfect humans and the recognition of the existence of the Divine, our Creator.

God, let me see your face, that I might know happiness.

Shalom.

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