Thursday, June 09, 2005

Happiness

Another good quote from Ratzinger's Salt of the Earth, page 29:
Question: Is the Catholic happier than others?

Answer: * * * We [normal humans] would say that the happy man is the one who has sufficient possessions. Who has the means to be able to shape a nice life for himself. We would say that someone who is cheerful and who succeeds at everything in life is happy. He says: Blessed are those who mourn. This means, in other words, that his doctrine of happiness is very paradoxical, at least compared with what we understand by that term. It is not happiness in the sense of comfort. In this respect, one can grasp quite well what conversion means. One must relinquish the customary criteria -- 'happiness is wealth, possession, power.' For precisely when one makes these things the measure, one is on the wrong path. So Catholics are not promised an 'exterior' happiness, but rather a deep interior security [Geborgensein] through communion with the Lord.

2 Comments:

Blogger nshumate said...

I'm not sure I trust his exegesis here, because of his fragmentary quote from the Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes on the whole aren't a string of parodoxes (a la "Whoever saves his life shall lose it"); each is presented in "Blessed are A, for they shall B" format, and it's nigh impossible to understand the A without the B. The full verse that Ritzinger quotes partially is, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Given the construction and in comparison to the rest of the sermon, it seems more reasonable to me to understand that those who mourn will not be blessed/happy BECAUSE they mourn, but BECAUSE they will be comforted. His exegesis seems to rely entirely on leaving out the second half of the thought.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

At the same time, perhaps it can be said that Catholics can approach physical suffering not simply as an experience of painful deprivation, but rather as an opportunity for communion with the Lord, to offer up one's experience in solidarity with the suffering of Christ -- as was aptly demonstrated in the final days of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.

6:37 PM  

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