What is the meaning of life? What is love? How can I be happy?
These are questions that people today often ask rhetorically, as though there were no answer. Others hunt down answers in self-help books, guides from experts, or television.
The great Dominica Venerable Louis of Granada, best known for his work The Sinner’s Guide, penned this treatise—The Quest for Happiness—to help us see that we cannot trust in man’s own work to bring about happiness. What is the meaning of life? It is not a rhetorical question; rather, the Church has the answer! To know, love, and serve almighty God. This book gives the answer of how to proceed on such a quest out of the unhappiness of the world and toward the happiness of God.
One of the most prominent and exceptional spiritual teachers of the sixteenth century, Venerable Louis stands as a master of the spiritual life throughout the whole Christian tradition. Born in extremely poor circumstances, his mother was widowed when he was five, and the pair subsisted on alms gathered from outside the gate of a Dominican priory. Eventually, Louis became a Dominican himself, and began a career of preaching that resulted, at length, in traveling throughout Spain and Portugal. He attained—despite the humble friar's best efforts—various posts in the Order of Preachers and served at courts of nobles and the queen regent of Portugal. He was offered bishoprics and the cardinalate, but declined all offers.
He suffered much in his life, accused by the Spanish Inquisition of heresy unjustly; he was later vindicated by the Council of Trent and the witness of subsequent saints. Indeed, he counts among his readers and recommenders such pillars of sanctity as St. Rose of Lima, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Louise de Marillac, and St. Francis de Sales, who recommended Venerable Louis's work be read as a "second Breviary." Venerable Louis's Sinner's Guide has been compared to The Imitation of Christ for its breadth, intensity, and usefulness for devotion and has been translated into Italian, French, German, Polish, Latin, and Greek. Some of his books have even made it into Turkish and Japanese. But Venerable Louis's primary mission, quite unusually for his time, was to write and preach for the laity. Indeed, a disapproving observer said Venerable Louis wrote for "wives of carpenters," maybe forgetting who the Blessed Virgin was. Let, then, the words of this venerable Spanish preacher illuminate your heart with the light of Christ, speaking, as it were, straight from the bosom of the Master.
This new edition of Venerable Louis’s work The Quest for Happiness, lightly edited and adjusted for the problems that modern man faces today, is a map to navigate the wasteland of modernity and discover true happiness.
- Venerable Louis of Granada
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