Can a Christian ever be really happy in this life?

I will get rather personal here. I have a problem being happy. In fact you might call it depression. For this I am seeing a counsellor, unfortunately she is not a Catholic and I’m not sure she is even a Christian. While I have personal problems that would depress many people - poor health, not enough money, etc. - I get really bummed out when I hear about people killing each other on the news, reading the newspaper (again murder and suicide), global warming, asteroids heading towards earth, animal abuse, satanic cults, abortion, abductions, torture, war, famine, the list is endless. I ask you, unless a person is living in a bubble, can a person - especially a good Christian be really happy in this life? :frowning:

The unhappiness you feel is in a way the rejection of the worldly life. There is a lot of evil in this world. What you are not focused on however, is all the evidence of God’s acocmplishments here on earth, and that the image of God is in every one of his creatures! Getting as close to God as we can, with the Holy Spirit permeating our soul, makes me feel very good, loved, and His graces drive my life toward doing His will.

Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

I too find it very depressing that evil goes on continually. But God is in charge and will work all things for good, though we can’t see how now.
I have two suggestions: don’t read newspapers or listen to news until you feel better,
and find yourself a Catholic, or at least a Christian, counselor. At least ask your present counselor her belief system. It may make a very great difference in how she approaches your problems, whether she’s a believer or not.

my dear… when you feel the true love of God believe me, the joy in your heart will be incredible… do not focus on the world but on God!!!

I think there is a difference between what we call “happiness”, which is an emotional “feeling”, volatile and subject to our circumstances in life - and “joy”, which is in the spirit and comes from the Lord.

Joy is that underlying peace that we have as Christians when we realize that whatever this life throws at us, it is not the final word, or our final destiny, but that Christ has conquered this world with all it’s hardships, in order to redeem us to a better life in the resurrection. Only true faith in Him can brings this kind of joy, because it transcends our current situations and sorrows.

So, as a Christian, be thankful for the good times and the blessings that God has poured out on you, and know that in the bad times, He will walk you through them and raise you to a new and painless and glorious life in the resurrection, one in which you were ultimately and finally created for! :bounce:

(And by the way, if you didn’t feel somewhat depressed by seeing the pain and suffering in this world, well, then you would really have something to worry about, it proves you are sensitive to the suffering around you. Even Christ was filled with sorrow when he looked out over Jerusalem and saw what was going to come upon her and her people.)

It is funny you should write this. I was thinking last night how, among all the creatures, we alone are made in the image and likeness of God, given the perogative to love freely and given the grace and patience from Our Maker that we might to learn to do so, given the unspeakable gift of the Incarnation…the list goes on and on, but of all created things, we are the most blessed and have the greatest cause to rejoice.

Be grateful of God’s gift and do not despair of God’s ability to right that which now appears to us to be wrong. Be thankful that God has seen fit to make us even a small instrument in that work, which is to His glory. In no way be anxious that you cannot yet see how it will be accomplished, but be free of all anxiety. God’s will shall be accomplished, of that you can be certain, and in that certainty, you may rejoice always.

It has been given to you to learn faith, hope, and love. Life could not be better.

PS I get depressed sometimes, too. It helps to look on those episodes as a disorder in our spiritual vision. You can’t make double vision into normal vision by knowing that is what your affliction is, but it does help to know that there is not in fact two of everything walking around, all of a sudden.

There is a greater world than what we see, especially under those circumstances. There are days when you fly in the dark clouds, flying on instruments, as it were. Don’t let that shake your faith in the sun and the sky. Good is still there, even when we can’t see it. Keep your eyes on the instruments you have been given, which is your faith. That will help to keep things true. When that does not work, get help immediately.

What if there was no one who thought any of these things
were a problem, and if they ever thought so, they went to a
counselor for depression?

You have a long list of things that bother you, but let’s take
a fairly easy one from it: animal abuse. There have been
people who felt just like you over it, and instead of going to
a counselor for depression, they decided that God had given
them the power to do something. How can a person not feel
joy who has rescued an innocent animal from abuse? Can
a counselor tell you how to put on a smile in the face of evil?
Will this really mean you are healthy? What if we all had a
party when 9/11 happened?

All the holy ones were troubled by evil, even Jesus. Many
times He had to go off by himself to pray for as long as it
took. When He came back, He always had a new idea of
what He needed to do.

God knows the problems are too big for us alone. He wants
us to work together. Since you are feeling so overwhelmed,
I would definately pray. You must know that God is with you.
Adoration is good for this. I would go to any group or organization that is working on one of the problems that is troubling you so, and help. It will make you feel as good as taking aspirin for a headache, because you will see that God really is working on these things. And if the news is paralyzing you, stop watching it. A person can only take so much. Even Jesus never had to watch the news. He knew
about all the evil in the world, yet God gave Him many happy
days, and He will for you too.

It’s good that you see how big these problems are. God
will solve every one of them, and even use them to bring
good to the ones who love Him. But we must give our
loaves and fishes. I don’t know why, but He requires us
to give what we have. He does not require us to give what
is too hard for us.

There are four levels of happiness:

immediate gratification

personal accomplishment

Helping others

Union with God–the only trully satisfying happiness.

I just wrote a very long story in answer to your question, and read it back. I decided to pare it down to this, which is still a bit long. Sorry:

My wife and I suffer many problems and my wife especially, has severe disabilities. Her depression was profound for over 6 years. In and out of hospitals and the like. A couple of years ago through much prompting from God, that I will likely write a book about one of these days, I was called to the Church, and began the blessed road to conversion. My wife, (an atheist most of her life), began attending Mass with me, and long story short began RCIA with me after much loving pestering. From about mid way through RCIA you could notice a big difference in her. We were starting to be able to talk more and more. We developed a prayer life. We attended Mass, and really listened deeply to the liturgy of the Word, and the homilies. She was converting!! I was thrilled. By the time we celebrated our sacraments of initiation at the Easter vigil last year, she was no longer on ANY medications for depression, nor seeing any doctors for it either. She takes like 3 meds for her physical disabilities, which she now believes to be blessings. She believes herself to be healed, and I don’t doubt she IS. We have both become involved in parish lay ministry, and attend Mass regularly. The Eucharist and prayer is the central focus in both our lives. So what is the point here? We were both sad and desperately struggling people. We hated our lives, and the misery spread to everyone around us. We’re now very happy, outgoing people. It is BECAUSE of Christianity and the conversion of the heart, not in spite of it. Yes…Christians CAN be truly happy! We’re still embroiled in desperate financial problems, and we listen to the same news programs you listen to, but it’s all okay. We have faith that God will sort it all out, and furthermore point us towards the positive actions that we should take to help make things a little better in the world through giving us ministries. I don’t know if this helps you at all, but my biggest advice for anyone dismayed or overwhelmed by the world is to get more and more involved with helping others. Either through your church, or some charitible group. Take as much of your sulking time as possible and re-route it into getting out of self. Go to your Church and let them know your talents, (everybody has some), and see if they match up with something they need done. I’ll bet they do. This takes away the feeling of helplessness, and gives you a sense of community and love for your brothers and sisters you may never of thought possible. Fully involved Christians are the happiest folks in the world. You sound as if you’re without direction on your vocation. I’ll pray for you to find your happiness.

Along with everyone’s fine answers, suggestions and comments, I wanted to address bad news in the media.

The media thrives on telling us bad news–because bad news is more sensational that good news, and sensationalism gets ratings and sells newspapers and magazines.

While it is good to get involved in an organization that wants to meet some of the needs we see in the news, we cannot focus our attention on all of it. Firstly, because most of us cannot do anything about major world events. And secondly, because it does just what it is doing to you–robs us of our joy.

When you see things on the tube or read about it that trouble you, say a prayer for those involved, search your heart to see if you can be of any real help, and then give it to God. He is the one who is over all and sees all. He alone can tackle some of the larger issues you and I cannot. This is why he asks our prayers for others–to show him we care and to let him move our hearts to do what we can to help those who need us.

With all the evil in the world, I can’t help but feel bitter and angry towards it. However, I do hold on to a virtue we call HOPE. I have hope in the Lord that he will give me at least peace.

Remember the beatitudes.

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