Everyone dreams of being excellent: some in their physique, some in their clothing style, while others are focused on technology, talent, careers, financial security, relationships and many other things. Yes, some joy may be presently found in the accumulation of these goods and in the achievements of certain goals, however, eventually honors, objects, and even health can be taken away. For unfortunately, nothing lasts. In fact, all that is material will eventually deteriorate. Records will be surpassed. Even relationships are not guaranteed. So then, lasting happiness, if it exists, is something that cannot be trumped, or be taken away. This happiness will reside in the things that can never break down or cease; that is, genuine happiness includes the eternal: accomplishments of the soul, in particular, spiritual excellence.
The beginnings of spiritual excellence can be found in the practice of virtues, such as humility, patience, kindness, courage, justice and temperance. The practice of these healthy habits is a refinement of both the body and the soul—its ultimate goal is one of healing. Excellence is not just for the elite either; everyone can attain virtue because it is as simple as having integrity. Personal integrity is responsibility. It is when good/noble habits are mindfully lived; integrity is the only thing in life that cannot be taken away. In fact, it is the only thing in life that can be personally controlled.
Nevertheless, even with the best intentions and a disciplined will, the accumulation of virtues is not enough for the soul to be at its best. Man’s nature does have limits. “The spirit is willing. The flesh is weak.” Because of this, the soul needs the infusion of Divine Life in it— a raising up out of the strongholds of original and actual sin. This raising up is something beyond our innate power, and is a gift, that is, a grace given by God. While God distributes grace where He Will, He also gave us a means to access His grace in an ordered and visible way. He created His Bride, the Church, and in her, He gave her the power to administrate what are known as the seven Sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation (Confession), Communion, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick).
Sacraments are “powers that come forth” from the Body of Christ, which is ever-giving and life-giving. . . The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. “Thus, there is a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of spiritual life. . . By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of divine life and advance towards the perfection of charity.”— CCC 1116, 1210, 1212
Right reception of these Sacraments help with advancement in virtue, they bring about a deeper union with God, and give a happiness and personal fulfillment that nothing else can compare with.