“We all want to be happy, but some are happier than others. To an extent, it depends on how we define happiness. For Aristotle, happiness meant the ability of each person to realize his potential. He knew that this didn’t come easily; it required the inculcation, and exercise, of virtue. This meant the complete rejection of excess – moderation was mandatory. Happiness, in other words, took work. It was not to be confused with pleasure. But the effort was worth it: happiness was not simply a goal – it was the most defining element of our existence.
St. Thomas Aquinas saw Aristotle’s idea of happiness as commendable, albeit incomplete. True happiness, he counseled, could not be achieved on earth: it could be achieved only when we experience oneness with God in the hereafter. Put differently, both emphasized the role of virtue in achieving happiness, but for Aristotle the employment of virtue was secured by reason. Aquinas was adamant in his conviction that Aristotle’s position was deficient. In the Summa Theologica he maintained that ‘a man becomes happy solely through the agency of God, if we are talking of perfect happiness.'” – Bill Donahue
While many of us seek health and happiness, faith, and the goal of achieving heaven is often pushed aside in favor of worldly distractions. Bill Donahue, the president of the Catholic League, has collected diverse and compelling evidence that faith makes a difference in one’s life. Catholicism offers boundaries, altruistic opportunities, community, beliefs, and optimism for the afterlife. The secular life, however, takes a narcissistic view on he world; focusing on intellectuals and Hollywood celebrities, Donahue, makes a compelling case for the positive impact of religion on the lives of contemporary adults.
Although the emphasis of this book is on Catholic faith, Donahue acknowledges that other faith systems offer similar benefits. Ultimately, though, this book serves as an excellent resource for anyone examining the benefits of their faith and the power of God’s love in your life. It is a great read for anyone who wants to reinforce the beauty of their faith or grow as a Catholic.
The following interview with Bill Donahue is an excellent overview of the whole book – well worth a watch.