BEDROCK to Christian faith is the conviction that to be human is to be built for happiness. St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas agree that a desire for happiness is hard-wired into human character.
But contemporary psychological researchers like Dr June Gruber at Yale University are getting a lot of attention lately with claims that happiness has a “dark side”. Dr Gruber and her colleagues note that the search for happiness as an end in itself is almost always self-defeating.
They speak of it in terms of elevated expectations that cannot always be met, and which could lead to more acute disappointment, even more intense pursuit of happiness, loftier expectations, sharper sense of loss etc.
Researchers also note that a focus on happiness, understood as positive feelings of contentment and satisfaction, can lead to social isolation. Preoccupation with our needs and happiness crowds out concern for the needs and happiness of others.
The prescription for an overzealous pursuit of happiness, as these studies see it, is moderation. Scaling back expectations, monitoring our own happiness less intently, giving up a little self-satisfaction for the satisfaction of friends and family are some of the ways that people can avoid the pitfalls of pursuing “too much happiness”.
The idea that one needs to be rich or spend a lot of money to be happy is a lie, says Daniel S Mulhall
WATCHING commercials can be disheartening. Every person, it seems, is carrying a number – the amount of money or products, we are told, needed to live happily.
What makes the commercials so disheartening is that many people can’t imagine ever having the money suggested in these advertisements to live “the good life”.
The idea that one needs to be rich or spend a lot of money to be happy is a lie. The opposite may be true. If you spend money you don’t have paying for “the good life”, the debt accrued will not make you happy.
American couple Jim and Susan Vogt of Covington, Kentucky, are among the few who have found happiness by choosing to live a simpler lifestyle that centres on family activities and engagement in their community.
Jim is the director of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative, which promotes education and action for social justice. Susan speaks and writes on marriage and family topics. They have been living simply for the last 45 years.
Dear Muslim Friends,
On behalf of the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Singapore, I would like to wish you and all Muslims a very happy Hari Raya Aidilfitri. May you have reaped great spiritual rewards from the season of Ramadan.
Muslims and Christians share a common humanity, and a tradition of prayer and fasting to help us draw closer to God.
Lent is similarly a time of deep reflection and sacrifice for Catholics so we can appreciate the faith and discipline that is required of Muslims during Ramadan.
CatholicNews recently posted on its Facebook page an article on tattoos and asked users for their views.
The article, Tattoos are a Matter of Taste, not Morality, was written by a priest and published in the British Catholic publication, Catholic Herald.
In it, he says there are “good moral reasons not to have a tattoo; and few cogent moral reasons to justify them”.
Our Facebook users had mixed views.
One says: “CCC [Catechism of the Catholic Church] has already stated that it’s fine to have tattoos as long as it’s not vulgar or distasteful.”
Singapore’s Catechetical Office conducted a conference aimed at helping participants respond to the new evangelisation call
KUALA BELAIT, BRUNEI – Catholics in Brunei who attended a conference conducted by Singapore archdiocese’s Catechetical Office say they found it inspiring.
“I found the sessions simple yet profound,” said Fr Robert Leong, parish priest of Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. “I could feel the Spirit of the Lord moving in powerful ways in the hearts and minds of all the participants.”
Married couple Hermi and Josieline Galvez said they left the conference convinced that “catechesis is really a proposal of love that starts from your own heart, your own conversion and begins in the family before it spreads to the parish community and elsewhere”.
The Catechetical Office of Singapore was invited by Fr Paul Shie, catechetical and youth director of the Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei, to conduct the 4th Brunei Vicariate Catechetical Conference 2012.
Catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez, assisted by Ms Jane Lau, coordinator of Parish Catechesis, and administrative officer Sylvia Stewart, conducted the conference titled Feed My Sheep.
SINGAPORE – President Tony Tan officially opened Assumption Pathway School (APS) on Aug 15.
He was given a tour of the school and attended a reception at the school’s training restaurant.
The guests for the event included Archbishop Nicholas Chia and Gabrielite Br Dominic Yeo Koh, Provincial Superior of the St Gabriel’s Foundation.
Life is like the Olympics. God wants His people “to run fast and jump far by going through the pressures and difficulties” of life.
Fr Stephen Yim said this to some 250 people attending a National Day Cantonese Retreat held at the Catholic Spirituality Centre.
“We can get a ‘gold medal’ from God” if we go through these trials well, he said.
Members of Catholic missionary groups in Singapore have been doing their bit to help flood victims in the Philippines.
Ms Sherlyn Kong from acts29, together with a few other volunteers, and Ms Audrey Leong from ACTS (A Call to Share) were in Manila to help provide much needed food rations and other material aid to affected communities.
Both groups are affiliate organisations of CHARIS.
Belgian Scheut Missions priest, Fr Paul Staes, was conferred a Knight in the Order of Leopold, the oldest and highest of Belgian honorary orders of knighthood, on Aug 6.
He received the award from the Belgian ambassador.
“This high distinction is given to you in recognition of your dedicated work as missionary and on the occasion of the celebration of your Golden Jubilee as a priest,” said ambassador Roland Van Remoortele during the ceremony.
A recent talk sought to answer the question of whether they should take up such cases
Several Catholic lawyers recently attended a talk on canon law, divorces and whether Catholic lawyers should take up such cases.
The event, organised by the Catholic Lawyers Guild, was titled Catholic Lawyers and Divorces, and held on Aug 4 at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Mr Andrew Kong, who has studied canon law, gave a 30-minute talk introducing the moral aspects of accepting civil divorce cases.
Fr Adrian Yeo, a canon lawyer who is on the archdiocesan marriage tribunal, then spoke on divorce and marriage annulments.
An Amazing Race and the creation of tunes to well-known prayers were some activities young adults took part in during a recent retreat
Thirty young adults “walked” in the footsteps of St Francis Xavier during a pilgrimage-cum-retreat in Malacca organised by the Verbum Dei Missionaries.
The Aug 4-5 retreat saw participants taking part in a “Malacca Amazing Race”, composing tunes to well-known prayers, and spiritually journeying with the famous Jesuit missionary to the countries he had travelled to.
Hearing and deaf Catholics who attended workshops conducted by a deaf-blind priest said they found them inspiring.
Ms Judy Ong, 48, who is deaf, said she was able to understand the sessions conducted by Redemptorist priest, Fr Cyril Axelrod, and found them interesting.
Ms Angie Woo, 64, a hearing participant, said the workshop she attended was beneficial for hearing participants as well, as it helped people to deal with the crises in their lives.
When he came to Singapore to work in 2000, his faith was – in his own words – “almost dead”. Fr Samuel Lim, who was ordained on Aug 9, said he was then “going to Mass out of obligation and saying my prayers out of habit”.
However, things changed.
One day, while attending Mass at the Church of St Francis Xavier, he bumped into some young people who invited him to help out in a Confirmation retreat.
Win or lose, God is looking out for me, says Gemma Rose Foo, who is taking part in the Paralympic Games
Gemma Rose Foo, a Holy Spirit Church parishioner representing Singapore in the London Paralympic Games, says her faith has given her the “strength to go ahead and reach for her goals despite the challenges” she faces.
“Win or lose, I know that He will be looking out for me as he always does,” said the 16-year-old who, together with two other teammates, is set to compete in the equestrian or horse-riding events.
The CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent student suffers from cerebral palsy, and experiences impaired muscle coordination and difficulty processing information at times.
CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY – Pope Benedict XVI has asked Catholics around the world to pray and offer material assistance to flood victims in the Philippines and China and to people affected by an earthquake in northwestern Iran.
The natural disasters have caused death and injury and left thousands of people homeless, the pope said on Aug 12 after reciting the Angelus in the courtyard of the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo.
“I ask you to join me in prayer for those who lost their lives and for all the people so harshly tried by such devastating calamities. May these brothers and sisters of ours not lack our solidarity and support,” the pope said.
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