Clearing the Heart to See the Truth

Blueprint For Happiness

imagesP9RDIVPTI am now in the second year of a two-year walk through the Catechism sponsored by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas during the Year of Faith. This spring we are focusing on Section Three of the Catechism. The response has been amazing, as we have taken hundreds of Catholics on a journey of faith through the doctrinal patrimony of the Church. I have received the most enthusiastic feedback from this current section of the Catechism, perhaps because it is the most controversial: the Moral section.

Recently, our class examined the sections pertaining to the moral law and how it relates both to  the human person and to Jesus. As the Catechism explains, the moral law is the same as moral reality; it is how we can understand the difference between right and wrong. As article 1950 tells us, the Moral Law is God’s Fatherly instruction for Happiness. It is God our Father saying to us, “I designed you; I know how you work. DO what is right and you will thrive. DO what is wrong and you will diminish and destroy yourselves. I give you intelligence so that you can understand your own design.” This moral law, then, is a law written on our hearts and can therefore be known by anyone through use of reason. It is God’s blueprint for our happiness and contentment.

If we could examine every decision that we have to make in life, every option which presents itself to us, and we could recognize which choice would be the best and lead us most directly to our own personal fulfillment and contentment, and then compare those choices to God’s will for us in these same instances, we would find that they are one and the same. The choice that is best for me is always the one that God wills and plans for me! This is different than seeking which choice seems most pleasing, or appears easiest. Hence, the moral law tells us what to do if we want to be happy; what not to do if we want to avoid our own demise.

How different is this view of law compared to contemporary society. We view law as merely arbitrary rules that seek to limit our freedom. If we truly want to be happy, according to this view, we must limit law and expand our freedoms, freedom as defined as being able to choose whatever I deem fulfilling (versus what God deems fulfilling.) This is what is meant by the term rights. Any law that seeks to tell me that I don’t have a right to seek that which I deem fulfilling is therefore bad and needs to be eliminated.

This sounds good and pleasing to the ear, but reveals a sad and tragic irony. Any society seeking to define for itself what constitutes human fulfillment and contentment apart from God’s law chooses for itself the very path of destruction God warns us about. Because such laws reject Divine Wisdom, they lose any binding force and can only be enforced through coercion. This is what Pope Benedict XVI referred to as the ‘tyranny of relativism, ’which sounds the death knell to freedom, fulfillment, and contentment, the very things we moderns claim to be achieving.

At the end of one of my recent classes, a woman approached me and told me that although what I had to say was quite challenging, she knew it was right and wanted to know how to better live it.

With Lent approaching, I offer the following suggestion: perhaps we could follow Christ’s example of the 40 days in the desert, whereby He denied his flesh through prayer and fasting in order to embrace more deeply the Father’s will. When His fasting was over, he conquered the devil with these words, “ You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” (Mt 4:10.) We prefer our disordered will to God’s will because we find God’s will displeasing. By following the principle of doing what we don’t like, we can train ourselves to acquire the freedom necessary to choose God’s law at all times. I propose the following resolution: first, identify activities we don’t like but that are good for us, like exercising, cleaning, praying, getting up on time, eating and drinking with moderation, etc. and choose to do it anyway. Practice this every day for 40 days along with prayer. This is how we can overcome our own personal aversion to God’s law and, instead, find in it the way to happiness!

Clearing the Heart to See the Truth

Subscribe today to receive an email once a week.  A great way to get regular insights into the Catholic faith.
Name
Email

One Response to “Blueprint For Happiness”

  1. Pat says:

    Troy I would like to suggest making Lent a quiet time by shutting off machines like the TV and computer if possible at least one day a week. Check out good reading material from the Church library or pick up the pamphlets they hand out at Church and have a family night to say those prayers together. One of my favorite books is The Imitation of Christ a great read for anytime, but Lent especially. Prepare for the beautiful season of Easter and Spring.

Clearing the Heart to See the Truth

Subscribe today to receive an email once a week.  A great way to get regular insights into the Catholic faith. Click anywhere outside of the text fields to go to the website.
Name
Email
Skip to toolbar