Anytime you hear the story of a priest involved in an inappropriate relationship with a woman, or a man (or woman) being unfaithful to their spouse, or a celebrity arrested for DUI or entering rehab for drug addiction – you can be sure that they’re looking for pleasure.
As human beings, we are made to seek pleasure. We like those things that feel good and avoid things that are painful. What we tend to forget is that the ultimate source of pleasure in this life is God. St. Augustine once said, “O Lord, you have made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” When we sin, we are actually looking for pleasure – in the wrong place.
The famous Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton is purported to have said, “A man knocking on the door of a brothel is knocking for God”. While at first it seems like an outrageous statement, it actually makes a lot of sense. Ultimately, it’s not going to be sex (or food or money or alcohol) that gives us lasting pleasure, but a closer relationship with The Lord.
If you have a hard time seeing this in the midst of your daily life, join the club! I’ve spent the past few days in a general state of sadness. Work, family responsibilities and rainy weather left me feeling miserable. To make matters worse, I didn’t even feel like praying. Instead I wanted to eat, sleep and watch TV to escape from my misery. While none of these actions are objectively sinful, I certainly could have made better use of my time. I finally forced myself to say a rosary and asked the Blessed Mother to help me regain the peace of her son, Jesus. Even though the problems were still there, my peace did return. This time, it only took one rosary. Next time it might take longer, but it reminded me of an important lesson. No matter how miserable you feel about your life, always turn to God for pleasure. Sinful activities and vices might make you feel good for a few minutes, but they are ultimately going to make you feel worse.
Always seek pleasure by following Christ and you’ll ultimately find the happiness you desire. While The Lord never promised us a problem-free life in this world, He did promise it in the next…
Stay focused on Jesus!