Church Persecuted November 13, 2022

Last week we introduced the Four Levels of Happiness from the book, Healing the Culture by Rev. Robert Spitzer, explaining how our ego-centered society is at conflict with the Christ-centered Church. Level 1 happiness is physical pleasure and material possessions. Level 2 happiness is ego-gratification. Both of these are self-centered.

We now move beyond ourselves and consider others in Level 3 happiness which focuses on our need to contribute to family, friends, and community. Helping others centers around the second greatest Commandment — love of neighbor. But, when Level 3 happiness becomes an end in itself, we can become cynical and frustrated by our own limitations and our imperfect world. Level 3 should always be subordinate to Level 4.

Level 4 happiness is faith in God’s unconditional love and mercy. Level 4 comes when we surrender ourselves to God allowing him to act in our lives in the ways of love, truth, justice, and goodness. When this level becomes our focus, the other three levels are in balance.

Father De Celles recently addressed the decrease in Mass attendance. The Mass is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324).  Let us each move ourselves out of levels 2 or 3 happiness on to level 4, focusing on God’s unconditional love. In doing so, others will join us as we move society toward level 4 happiness.

Church Persecuted November 6, 2022

So much of society is egotistic and focused on self. In his book, Healing the Culture, Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. writes about happiness as “one of the most significant subjects that we can ever think about — both individually and as a community.”  The way one thinks about happiness is related to what is important in life. Our culture sees happiness as personal achievement, being on top, winning, a happy marriage, etc. But, as Father Paul Scalia said during the recent Men’s Conference, held at the parish success is “being true to Christ… [investing] ourselves into the Sacrifice of Christ.” Thus the conflict. With society, happiness is personal; with Christians, it is “being present with Christ,” seeing Christ as someone real and present for us.

Spitzer defines happiness at four levels. Level 1 is physical pleasure and material possessions. “I am happy when I am having a great meal with family and friends.” Level 1, as a goal, leads to addiction to things and loses focus on what is truly important in life and should always be subordinate to higher levels.

Level 2 is ego-gratification. “I am happy because I am successful. When Level 2 happiness becomes an end in itself, we often advance ourselves at the expense of others and lose focus on what is truly important in life.” Level 2 happiness as an end, leads to aggression and arrogance; losing focus on what is really important in life. Unfortunately, much of society today is at either Level 1 or 2 happiness.

Continued next week with Level 3 and Level 4 happiness.

Section I. Father De Celles: Religious Liberty

Section II. Special Column

Section III. Chronology of Attacks on Catholic Church Facilities and Statues

Section IV. Previous Church Persecuted Columns and Various Religious Liberty Articles