Ever since I was 5 years old, I was aware of an acute desire for happiness. It wasn’t like any other desire – for food, rest, security, entertainment – but was the desire that encompassed all other desires. If I possessed the vocabulary to articulate my experience, even then, I would’ve been aware of a desire for the Infinite: for Infinite Happiness, Love, Beauty, Goodness, Truth. But the question was: does it exist, can it be found?

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” – Mt 13:44 - 46

There's a line from a popular song that acknowledges, "…I still haven't found what I'm looking for." Like the treasure-seeker and merchant described in the Gospel, even as a child, I became aware of being on a quest, being on the move, in search of happiness. Not a fleeting happiness, but in search of something far more valuable than the fountain of youth: a happiness that's perfect, superabundant, and everlasting.

Though I was growing up in a good, loving family and had everything I reasonably needed materially and opportunity-wise – I couldn’t ignore the universal human desire, which is why I couldn’t ignore my increasingly restless heart and general dissatisfaction with what the world promised to its servants: bodily pleasure, reputation, achievement, wealth, power. Why do I feel like the world… is not enough?

"…I still haven't found what I'm looking for…"

Can it be found? Does happiness really exist?

As my primary, then secondary years of education unfolded, a nagging fear began to surface: it was the fear that happiness… was merely a fairy tale (“…and they lived happily ever after”) and that the harsh reality is… I’m going to have to settle for a mediocre life. Just the thought of having to settle for mediocrity deflated the life out of me, it was almost equivalent to giving up on life. I thought to myself: “I’m 17 years old, and you mean to tell me that the one life I have to live, I need to throw away and settle for a life of mediocrity, by coming to terms with impending decades of a life of quiet desperation in an attempt to suppress these desires for deep fulfillment?” I felt angry and cheated that life might be so trivial.

Years later, while reading the following quote from C.S. Lewis, I wept quiet tears of joy in the author’s ability to give expression to my experience… and point toward the Fulfillment of all desire.

"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists… If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing…I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let itget snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same."

- C.S. Lewis

In God's superabundant Mercy, he saved me from a life of quiet desperation and much worse… swift despair. My quest for happiness ended in earnest when I was 18. The quest didn’t end because it turned out to be futile; no, remarkably, beyond one’s wildest dreams and hopes, the quest ended because I found what I had been looking for: the Fulfillment of all desire.

The Fulfillment of all desire, which encompasses all other desires, which is not imperfect but perfect, not insufficient but superabundant, not short-lived but everlasting, can only be experienced in God through a deeply personal, life-transforming, and life-giving relationship in Jesus Christ.

One might ask: how does one experience God, the Fulfillment of all desire? How does one concretely experience happiness?

Ultimately, we experience happiness when we are completely loyal to fulfilling God’s will in our lives. “In your will is my delight” – Psalm 40:8

Through the gift of receiving spiritual direction during my college years, I discovered 3 regular encounters that have become the concrete means by which I experience deep happiness in God, through Jesus Christ: daily encounter of pondering and listening to Him through Sacred Scripture, participation at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, frequent reception of God’s Divine Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The “Good News” is that happiness is not reserved for the exclusive few, the spiritual elite, or for certain priests or nuns. Happiness is accessible to all because Jesus Himself is the source of happiness. When we love Jesus with all our hearts as evidenced by conforming our desires and wills to his desires and wills, we will be happy. We will increasingly experience He who is the answer to our restless heart: Infinite Love, Beauty, Goodness, Truth.

"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."

– Pope St. John Paul II