Go to school, go to college, get a good job, get married and have kids, enjoy grandkids, retirement, travel . . . these are typical steps that people will tell you will lead to a good life and happiness. But so many are actually unhappy, working hard and gaining little, not able to properly raise their kids and divorces. Life is hard. But what if we have had a tour guide all along and just didn’t know it? The true stairway from our time on earth is happiness, holiness and heaven lead by St. Paul himself. Kevin Vost, gives us the blueprint for attaining the 3 H’s in St. Paul’s Eight Steps to Happiness. Each of steps are defined, explained and we are given a saint who lived that step. We learn that we are not alone on this earthly journey, but that God himself gave us the roadmap to the 3 H’s. Let’s see if how quickly we can climb the steps:
Obvious yet hidden. Jesus is the truth, the way and the life. Saul had to be literally blinded by the truth in order to see.
We are called to honor God, our parents, others, and ourselves. When honoring, we place these “things” in the proper place and it distinguishes them as good and worthy of respect.
Justice begins in our hearts. Distributive justice is doing good and avoiding evil. Communicative justice is correcting ourselves and others in a personal and direct way. If we all could participate in justice, society as a whole would benefit.
There are two main types of holiness; obeying God’s law and keeping our bodies and minds pure. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, honor God by treating your body and others through our body (how we act) with holiness.
This can be described as “lovely friendliness.” Be kind and loving with everyone you encounter, treat everyone as you would a dear friend. Don’t just put on an act, but be sincere, even around difficult people (we all know some of those).
The most important type of grace is given to us freely from God, sanctifying grace, the grace that makes us holy. We use this grace to give grace to others, using the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Vost covers other types of grace which help to push us up to the next stair to Heaven.
Excellence on the path to heaven is doing exceedingly well in what we were created to do here on earth. This is what makes us different from all of nature, which is guided by instinct. Instead, we have the ability of right choice and virtue.
This final step up can be broken into three “supernatural virtues”: faith, hope, and love (charity). Faith gives us the gift to believe in God. We then “hope to seek the goodness that comes from union with God and also to trust in God that he will help us attain eternal happiness with him” (Vost). Love, which is also translated as charity, is doing good not only towards others but also towards God as well.
I’m sure I have tripped on some of the steps along the way and need more of St. Paul’s guidance outlined in Kevin Vost’s, St. Paul’s Eight Steps to Happiness. It is comforting to know we don’t have to do it alone, and we have Jesus and the saints as our guides. We all are working so hard to climb our way to heaven, doing what is right and just. St. Paul wants us to join him along with all the other saints in heaven and has written so many letters encouraging Christians and guiding them along the narrow path. St. Paul, pray for us.
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