Kumbaya, my Lord, gather us in on eagles’ wings…

I know I’m late on this, but I just wanted to review the pope’s recent Decalogue of Happiness, found in his 77-minute filmed interview with the Argentine magazine, Viva, and see if anyone has thoughts on it. As I was reminded this week, effective and intelligent evangelism begins with the things you and your interlocutor agree on. Why stress the small stuff like dogma and morals? It’s exactly these kind of deep thoughts, pitched on the open field of common-sense natural law, which truly “attract” the world to the Church, instead of the persuasive efforts of dread proselytism.

1. Train Your Mind – Happiness is a mental attitude. Education, employment, and knowledge play a crucial part here.

2. Develop Calmness of Mind – A calm mind doesn’t mean to be passive; it is very sensitive and aware and it means to be in control and to respond to situations in the best way possible without the buildup of heavy negative emotions.

3. Build up Positive States – The idea is to free ourselves from negativity. Positive states have a solid basis; they are grounded in reality and are life-supporting.

4. Cultivate Good Habits (and Eliminate Bad Ones) – If we really want to be happy we have to identify the factors that lead to happiness and then cultivate them into habits. Take action. Goals alone have no meaning.

5. Welcome Change – Learning is only the first step. Necessary follow-ups are conviction, determination, action and effort. When we resist this change by clinging to something that is changing, we become attached, stagnant, egotistical.

6. Develop a Long-Term Perspective – To develop good habits and to build up positive states we need a certain inner self-discipline. If we are focused on short-term pleasures this is very difficult. We need a wider perspective, and more opportunities for youth.

7. Know the Meaning of Suffering – Suffering is the opposite of happiness. We have to identify the causes that lead to suffering and then eliminate them. If we suffer it’s not very pleasant of course, but nevertheless it might be a very valuable lesson.

8. Develop Deep Relationships – It’s clear that the quality of our relationships is very connected with our level of happiness. Deep relationships are based on openness, leisure, truth and respect. That allows meaningful communication between two human beings, not of two humans playing roles in a throwaway culture.

9. Develop a Sense of Compassion – In the western world the word compassion comes with a flavor of weakness. But what about a compassion that comes from a very strong and able mind, ah? Genuine compassion is a state of mind which is non-violent, non-harming and non-aggressive. And this is good.

10. Release Your Better Nature – The nature of our mind is very pure. It has the qualities of clarity and knowing. Be like water, my friend. Open your heart. Smile. Go for a walk.

HT to a reader at Fr. Ray’s blog for alerting me to the above translation of the pope’s ten tips for happiness.

Advertisements

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Kumbaya, my Lord, gather us in on eagles’ wings…

  1. Tony Jokin says:

    The CNS article on this interview and the Meme from Vatican news radio had a slightly different sounding 10.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1403144.htm

    But in any case, the goal seems to be to make a world happy without Christ. What comes to mind are the words of Pope St. Pius X in Notre Charge Apostolique (which I only just read couple of days ago)

    “But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, “the reign of love and justice” with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions and of no religion, with or without beliefs, so long as they forego what might divide them – their religious and philosophical convictions, and so long as they share what unites them – a “generous idealism and moral forces drawn from whence they can” When we consider the forces, knowledge, and supernatural virtues which are necessary to establish the Christian City, and the sufferings of millions of martyrs, and the light given by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the self-sacrifice of all the heroes of charity, and a powerful hierarchy ordained in heaven, and the streams of Divine Grace – the whole having been built up, bound together, and impregnated by the life and spirit of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the Word made man – when we think, I say, of all this, it is frightening to behold new apostles eagerly attempting to do better by a common interchange of vague idealism and civic virtues. What are they going to produce? What is to come of this collaboration? A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity.”

  2. Tamsin says:

    I was going to say “you only lío once!” but then I read through all the comments on Fr. Ray’s post and so I’ll say “you only Lama once!”

  3. Tony:

    Yep. Notre Charge Apostolique is a gem (though now its “brand” of Catholicism is verboten among Serious Catholics). “[T]he audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, ‘the reign of love and justice’ with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions and of no religion, with or without beliefs, so long as they forego what might divide them – their religious and philosophical convictions, and so long as they share what unites them – a ‘generous idealism and moral forces drawn from whence they can’.” That’s a bullseye on Bergoglio, who suffers from a gerrymandering spiritual pragmatism, which will leave no stone of prudence or piety unturned in his quest to level and decentralize all things. The Borgias were bad enough, but we have a Spiritual Borgia (i.e. same excesses and abuses in a spiritual mode), with a global bullhorn to go along with it.

  4. Branch says:

    That CNS article was reprinted in its entirety on the front cover of our weekly diocesan newspaper.

    But, you know, the bishops aren’t following the pope’s lead or anything.

  5. c matt says:

    The tips are not so bad as far as typical self-help handbooks go, but as pointed out above, there is no particular point to them without reference to Christ. Train your mind – for what end? What’s the final goal here? Same questions could be asked of each “tip.” In particular, No. 7 makes no sense outside of God’s plan of redemption.

  6. Branch says:

    Did you guys know that the “God of compassion” is at odds with the “God of the law”? More from the diocesan weekly:

    http://www.catholicstarherald.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9012:what-sort-of-god-do-you-say-you-believe-in&catid=85:a-pastoral-message&directory=300009

    #Franciseffect #justbenice #afterlifeanafterthought #THISisideology

  7. ABS was reading some hx of Catholics in Boston when he suddenly realized that the B of R has ideas quite in synch with the 19th Century Unitarians of Boston (The Boston Religion)

    It replaced the fierce God of judgment and punishment with a more benefit God of love and protection; it rejected the idea that all people were born sinful in favor of a belief that all persons were born basically good and potentially perfectible; and it held out the prospect of salvation, not just for the “saints” and the “elect” but for all who lived their lives in a spirit of brotherhood under the fatherhood of God.

    Since soon-to-be-canomised, Pope Paul VI, the Papacy has adopted the ideology of The Boston Religion (Unitarianism) and the Bishop of Rome is the most Bostonian of the recent Popes.

    Ain’t we got fun now that we are no longer the meanies we used to be prior to the 1962-65 B.C.E. revolution

Be kind, be (relatively) brief, be clear...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s