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  • Fr. Robert Spitzer on happiness: An effective approach to God? | Catholic Culture
    four and prioritizing them properly The four desires which must be fulfilled to achieve happiness are Desires connected with biological instinctual opportunities and dangers arising from our brain and sensory faculties Ego comparative desires arising from our self consciousness Contributive empathetic desires arising from our empathy and conscience Transcendental spiritual desires arising from our transcendental awareness Clearly these four levels of desire and the happiness that is achieved when these desires are fulfilled both derive from and point to the full nature of the human person Fr Spitzer goes on to explain that the depth and duration of the happiness resulting from fulfilling these desires increases as we move up the scale The happiness of a good meal level 1 does not last as long as the happiness of a significant personal achievement level 2 by the same token the happiness of a personal achievement does not last as long as the happiness of having contributed to the good of others and finally this contributive happiness does not last as long as the happiness of being in love with God Moreover Spitzer points out it is often necessary to discipline our desires at the lower levels to facilitate happiness at a higher deeper and longer lasting level Thus habits of discipline concerning sensuality and pride levels 1 and 2 are not embraced as deprivations but for the sake of achieving higher levels of happiness which are ultimately rooted in love The Rest of the Story The first five chapters of Finding True Happiness cover these levels of desire and happiness Along the way Fr Spitzer offers considerable evidence in answer to the question Are we really transcendent Once again drawing on both science and philosophy he also documents the self defeating character of what he calls the comparison game in which we constantly compare our personalities wealth and achievements with others to determine whether we are really happy This he shows is a misguided process which too often locks us into a kind of personal hell The key to true and complete happiness consists in being able to move from happiness at levels 1 and 2 to happiness at levels 3 and 4 which offer greater self realization and again are essentially fueled by love But this brings us once again to the problem of the transcendent and how we are to know Who God is and how to respond to this yearning for the transcendent He has built into our nature Here the exploration of reality through philosophy and science must give way to the possibility of something communicated more directly to us by God namely Revelation If the most interesting thing about Fr Spitzer s approach is his exploration of the nature and levels of happiness the second most interesting point is that he not only explains what God has revealed in Christ but provides the basic principles of spiritual discernment necessary to open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit and to follow His lead within

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1311 (2016-02-11)
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  • Acedia and the Unbearable Lightness of Being | Catholic Culture
    ourselves and to the rest of creation Snell takes as the key to this question the mystery of the Trinity which teaches us that the fundamental structure of reality is self communication Each person of the Trinity communicates itself to the others without being diminished either by giving or by receiving love We learn from the Trinity that to give oneself is not to lose oneself nor is to receive from another to be dominated by him Being is an act of self communication Yet human beings finite and contingent do not fully communicate themselves merely by existing Like God finite things self communicate Unlike God finite things are rich and poor Being rich they operate and have something to give but as poor they must become full In keeping with the paradox richness tends to imply a concomitant poverty A stone for instance has very little to give but gives all that it has simply by existing An animal is richer capable of acting in the world through motion nutrition and reproduction but must do a lot more to accomplish these ends Humans as free persons are even richer for freedom is rooted in the truth about man and it is ultimately directed toward communion and yet our experience of communion seems largely to stand in potency Created more like God than other beings we are oddly less ourselves less fully in act because we have more to do before we have given well While our contingency in a sense is our poverty it is also our richness because despite the fact that we did not need to exist God chose to make us anyway Creation is gratuitous and so takes on the character of a gift Rather than rebelling against our contingency and even preferring not to exist rather than depend on another we should see that being created does not diminish but establishes the worth of creatures It is essential that we understand that God s utter transcendence means that he is not merely a quantitatively greater being with whom we must compete with for space dignity and power Consequently we avoid viewing the glory of God and our own worth as a zero sum game As Snell quotes Fr W Norris Clarke to be fully is to be substance in relation This implies that contrary to the modern notion of freedom an individual does not have an atomistic existence free of responsibility to other beings Yet it also implies that in self communicating in giving ourselves to other beings we most fully receive ourselves as individuals As beings in relation we discover ourselves not only in self gift but in receiving what other beings including lesser ones communicate of themselves to us Before we can hear what they have to say though we need to recover a sense of the thickness the dignity the giftedness the presence of God in things This is another aspect of Snell s work which finds agreement with Laudato Si for

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1307 (2016-02-11)
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  • Marion Cotillard in Joan of Arc at the Stake | Catholic Culture
    long before her canonization in 1920 had become a powerful symbol of French nationalism yet Claudel chose to de emphasize her political and military actions and instead focused on her spirituality by portraying her as the innocent child she was The story begins with Joan at the stake wondering why she is being accused of heresy and witchcraft and confused as to how she has been brought to this moment Brother Dominique St Dominic played by Éric Génovèse descends from heaven with a book the book of her life and we see her memories in reverse order beginning with her trial In order to emphasize Joan s naïve perspective Claudel portrays some events in simplistic symbolic terms the trial is a circus with a pig and a donkey officiating and little sheep the Brooklyn Children s Chorus cheering on while war is explained as a game of cards played by kings In this present production first staged in Japan under the artistic direction of Seiji Ozawa theatrical stage director Côme De Bellescize opts for a literal and very colorful visualization of these scenes Thus the judge is not just referred to symbolically as a pig but actually wears a bright pink pig costume and so on This not only makes for an amusing satire of injustice but puts us more fully in Joan s psyche as we see events through the memories of a child Honegger s inventive orchestration including unconventional in 1935 colors such as prepared piano and the eerie electronic wail of the ondes martenot gives the story a rich emotional and symbolic texture The composer occasionally makes effective use of pre existing material such as Gregorian chant and the French children s songs of Joan s youth sung by the Brooklyn Children s Chorus now attired as

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1303 (2016-02-11)
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  • Climate change, Catholic mediation, and taming the wolf | Catholic Culture
    Academy of Sciences for the moral and political aims of the global warming movement I commented on this briefly in What was the climate change conference really about Taming the Wolf Institute is devoted to peacemaking according to the principles exemplified by Saint Francis of Assisi who easily tamed wolves Their goal is to have peacemakers in every parish who knows how to help bring peace and unity out of conflict It s an interesting project In this case Greg Stone applies principles of Christian mediation to the conflict that is brewing over Pope Francis forthcoming encyclical on human ecology a conflict seriously exacerbated by the rather shameless use of two pontifical academies for largely secular propaganda purposes It s a very interesting article and not without its own striking point of view See Don t Publish Mediate On the Good OTG is a service of CatholicCulture org Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph D in intellectual history from Princeton University A co founder of Christendom College he also pioneered Catholic Internet services He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture org See full bio Read more from The City Gates Next post Previous post Sound Off CatholicCulture org supporters weigh in All comments are moderated To lighten our editing burden only current donors are allowed to Sound Off If you are a donor log in to see the comment form otherwise please support our work and Sound Off Show 2 Comments Hidden Hide Comments Posted by Thomas429 Jun 07 2015 12 46 AM ET USA It sounds as if it is too late for this advice to be taken The conference is over Their findings must serve as the bases for the Pope if not why have the conference There may be hope then that the Holy Father will

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1079 (2016-02-11)
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  • A blacklist for Catholic universities | Catholic Culture
    number of gifts this month Goal 1 000 769 to go OTG A blacklist for Catholic universities By Thomas Van bio articles email Mar 24 2015 Earlier this month almost 400 U S corporations filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of same sex marriage Since many universities give commencement honors to business leaders every year the Cardinal Newman Society has released a statement urging Catholic schools not to honor any leaders from these companies The Society advises We will publicly warn Catholic families and their bishops and pastors about any school college or university that chooses to honor any board member or senior leader of the 379 corporations and business groups that joined in the March 5th brief Any such honor does harm to the Catholic Church and undermines our bishops who have clearly explained why Catholics must defend marriage without compromise The statement includes a list of the offending corporations who have argued for national recognition of same sex marriage on the basis of the economic burden supposedly caused by differences in marriage law state to state On the Good OTG is a service of CatholicCulture org Thomas Van is an administrative assistant and writer

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1013 (2016-02-11)
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  • For teachers: Augustine Institute course on Catholic education | Catholic Culture
    Methods will be taught at the campus in Denver and also available online with videos and other materials From the course prospectus The lead instructors of the course will be Christopher O Blum Academic Dean of the Augustine Institute and Andrew Seeley Executive Director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and a Tutor at Thomas Aquinas College There will be additional presentations by a distinguished team of educators Pageants Plays and Processions Teaching Catholic Culture through Performance Gwen Adams M A Ph D candidate Diocese of Lafayette Indiana Renewing a School Renewing a Community Teachers and Parents in Partnership Rosemary Anderson M A Principal Our Lady of Lourdes School Teachers in His Image Imitating the Pedagogy of Christ Ed Hogan Ph D Director of the Paul VI Institute and Professor of Theology Kenrick Glennon Seminary The School as a Setting for the Moral Formation of Students Jonathan J Reyes Ph D Executive Director for Justice Peace and Human Development USCCB Catholic Education in Twenty First Century America Perils Promises Robert Royal Ph D President of the Faith Reason Institute and Editor in Chief of The Catholic Thing org Participants in the course will develop an account of Christian maturity and acquired wisdom as the twin goals of Catholic education gain a deeper understanding of the office and craft of the teacher reflect upon the perennial and contemporary challenges posed to the teacher by the moral and intellectual condition of the student and most importantly chart a path toward wisdom in their lives as teachers and toward renewal for their schools The class will revolve around the writings of some of the most notable educators in the Catholic tradition especially Blessed John Henry Newman and St Thomas Aquinas but also contemporary Catholic educators including St John Paul II Pope Benedict

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=974 (2016-02-11)
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  • Evangelizing the Culture for Marriage and Family | Catholic Culture
    issues involving them may be interested in a six part miniseries on EWTN which begins on January 12 The episode schedule RESOLVING CULTURAL CONFUSION ABOUT MARRIAGE Monday January 12 Learn about the marriage debate by understanding its true meaning and purpose and how to witness the truth about marriage and stimulate a meaningful and productive engagement with family members and friends RECONNECTING MARRIAGE WITH CHILDREN Tuesday January 13 The crisis of the breakdown of marriage is touching almost every extended family Learn how marriage has become separated from children the foundation of the family and why more people are choosing not to marry REBUILDING A MARRIAGE CULTURE Wednesday January 14 The breakdown of marriage in our country has become more obvious and puts a child at risk in developing a distorted understanding of it Our culture is in need of a new marriage movement QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE Thursday January 15 Discover how to ask key questions that provoke thought open new avenues of discussion and help people discover the truth about the reality of marriage Learn how to differentiate between false rights and true human rights AVOIDING CONFLICTS AND MISUNDERSTANDING WHEN EVANGELIZING FOR MARRIAGE Friday January 16 Learn how to express authentic Catholic teaching in non religious language especially when talking to young people and how to avoid common mistakes made when witnessing the truth about marriage that lead to misunderstanding and conflict NEXT STEPS RESOLVING CULTURAL CONFUSION ABOUT MARRIAGE Monday January 19 Learn how to effectively respond to frequently asked questions that keep the marriage conversation focused on the truth Learn about the marriage debate by understanding its true meaning and purpose and how to witness the truth about marriage and stimulate a meaningful and productive engagement with family members and friends On the Good

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=959 (2016-02-11)
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  • Aid for Christians in Iraq and Syria | Catholic Culture
    Popular Archives Action Alert SOLIDARITY MONTH 10 is as good as 1 000 Help set a new record for the number of gifts this month Goal 1 000 769 to go OTG Aid for Christians in Iraq and Syria By Thomas Van bio articles email Jan 05 2015 If you read CatholicCulture org regularly you re probably aware of the suffering of Christians in Iraq and Syria who have been displaced from their homeland by Islamic extremists Pope Francis has repeatedly asked Catholics to pray for our beleaguered brethren in the Middle East Aside from prayer there are a few other things we can do to help One of them is to donate to Aid to the Church in Need USA a Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy Father ACN has recently received a pledge from an anonymous donor to match donations up to 500 000 meaning that if that maximum is met 1 000 000 will go to helping the Christians of Iraq and Syria All of this money goes straight to things like the construction of schools for 7 500 displaced Christian children the funding of rental accommodation for families care packages for children and emergency food water and medicine In addition to making a personal donation you can form a fundraising team in your community or parish for which ACN s website provides materials You could also organize a prayer vigil for our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria and for peace in the Middle East ACN will provide as many prayer cards as you need On the Good OTG is a service of CatholicCulture org Thomas Van is an administrative assistant and writer at CatholicCulture org A jazz pianist with a music degree he often takes the lead in our commentary on the

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=953 (2016-02-11)
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