Wrapping it up for this elevation in Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 2,9:
When God made me in his image and likeness, he made me to be happy like him, as much as a creature can be; and, this is why he placed in me these three things, in me who was made to be happy, the idea of my happiness and the love or the desire of this happiness. There are three things which I find inseparable from me, since I do not exist without being something which was made to be happy. As a result I carry in myself both the idea of happiness and the desire to carry it out, which necessarily follow from this idea.
When people ask me which of these three things I would rather lose, I do not know how to answer. Because first, I do not want to lose my being: I want, to say so, less to lose my happiness, as without happiness it would be better if I never was, conforming to this word of the Saviour about his unhappy disciple: It would be better if this man had never been. I do not want to lose my happiness more than my being, neither to more to lose the idea and the love of my happiness more than my happiness, as there is no happiness without this idea and this love.
If there is something in me which has always been with me, it is this idea and this love of my happiness; because I cannot have ever been without fleeing that which harms me and to want that which is appropriate: that which can only come from the desire to be happy and the fear of not being. This sentiment begins to appear from childhood and as we carry this coming into the world, one should have this, although more obscurely and more muffled, from the womb of one’s mother.
Here is an idea which is born in us and with us, and a sentiment which comes with this idea; and all this is in us before all reasoning and reflection.
When reason begins to sprout, she does no other thing than to seek good and bad means to make us happy; that which shows this idea and this love of happiness is in the foundation of our reason.
In a certain way, this idea which makes us know our happiness and this feeling which makes us love it, becomes in time our only idea and feeling. For the feeling, it is clear that all our other feelings relate to this one; and, as an idea, it follows that it is only to fulfil this one that we pay attention to all the others. Let us suppose that God gives us all and can also take away all which pleases him, then takes everything away, except for our being and the idea of our happiness and the desire which presses us to find it; we will be something very simple; but in our simplicity, we will have three things which will not divide our simplicity, but rather drive all three to its perfection.
Then will we be happy? Alas not at all! We will only want to be and by consequence we will not be, as happiness cannot co-exist with need of which the desire is the proof.
So what is necessary to fix all of this to make us happy? It is necessary to fix the confused idea that I have happiness, the distinct knowledge of the object where it consists, and at the same time to change the confused desire of happiness by the actual possession of what it is.
But where can my happiness consist except in the most perfect thing which I know, if I can have it? That which I know to be the most perfect, it is doubtless God, since I cannot find in myself another idea of perfection other than God. It remains to know if I can have it. But what is having something, if not knowing it? Can it be had otherwise than knowing its perfection? I am thus capable of having it, since I am capable of knowing it, as long as in knowing it I am brought to love it, as to know it without loving it, is in effect to know it badly. After this happy addition which takes place at the knowledge and the idea that I have my happiness, will I be happy? Not at all. But why? I know and I love God and this in itself, we have said, is to have it: and this is to have that which I know best; and we have said that this is to be happy: thus where am I? Thus if I be happy, I will desire nothing; can I say that I have nothing to desire? Far from me be this blindness; I am thus not happy.
Thus it is necessary to search in myself what I lack. I know God, I admit it, but very imperfectly; that which makes up my love for him is very weak, and from there also comes the weakness of wanting both good and bad things. I have the desire to know God more perfectly than I do: to know him, as Saint Paul says, as I am known; to know him without covering, to discovery, in a word to see him face to face, without shadow, without veil, without obscurity. When God repairs this, may he say to me as Moses: I showed you everything well; then I will say like Saint Philip, Master, it is enough for us. But this is not for this life: when this happiness comes to us, we will have nothing left to desire for his knowledge. But for love, what will this be? When we will see God face to face, can we make something more than to love? Doubtless no; and Saint Paul said that love lives eternally without ever being lost. So will our love be more in this eternal and happy state, unless it is perfect coming from a perfect knowledge? And he will not be able to change as he does in this life; and he will absorb all of our will into one which will be that of loving God and there will be no more wailing and our tears will be dried forever and our desires will come with our needs. Then we will be reduced to perfect unity and simplicity; but in our simplicity, we will carry the perfect image of the Trinity; then God, united at the foundation to our being and showing himself, will produce in us the happy vision which will be one sense God himself, he along being object as he is the cause. And by this happy vision, he will produce an eternal and insatiable love which will not yet be another thing but God himself seen and possessed; and God will be all in all, and he will be all in ourselves; one God alone in our depths, producing himself in us by the vision and completing himself in unity with us by an eternal and perfect love.
Then our perfect unity will be accomplished in ourselves and will all those who have God with us; and that which makes us all perfectly one, that is what we will be and we will see and we will love, and all that will be in us all the same single life. And so what the Saviour said will be accomplished: As you my Father are in me and I in you, so they will be one in us; one in themselves and one with all the members of the body of the Church which they make up.
Let us form in us the holy Trinity: united with God, knowing God, loving God: and as our knowledge, at present imperfect and obscure, will come; and that the love in us be the only thing which will never arrive and which will never be lost: let us love, let us love, let us love: let us do without end that which we will do without end in eternity. O that time is troublesome! The needs weighing down our time carry us! Who can endure the distractions, the interruptions, the sad necessity of sleep, of nourishment, other needs? But those of temptations, of bad desires, are they not as shameful as they are afflicted? Unhappy man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? O God, time is long, it is heavy, it bears down. O eternal God, take time away from me, fix me in your eternity! In waiting, make me pray without ceasing, and pass the days and nights in contemplation of your law, of your truths, of you yourself who is all truth and all good. Amen, Amen.