Happy Are We: The Teachings of Jesus

Cheridan Sanders

Friday, March 14, 2014

I’ve often puzzled over what Jesus meant when he said “Blessed are they who mourn”. Thankfully, in Episode 2 of Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series we’re introduced to the teachings of Jesus and Fr. Barron explains that the beatitudes are a formula for practicing 'detachment'. Now, most moderns conceive of happiness as freedom to do whatever they please, but Fr. Barron qualifies this understanding. For Christians, the freedom to choose is simply the first and necessary condition for attaining a much higher spiritual good through detachment from worldly goods. But how are these worldly things preventing us from being truly happy and living with joy? Fr. Barron uses the language of addiction to break it down for us. Let’s return to the beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”. Another way of understanding this Fr. Barron explains is, "happy are those who aren’t addicted to good feelings" . He suggests that those who aren’t addicted to pleasant psychological, emotional, and physical sensations are truly free because they aren't dependent on these things. They're not mastered by their desires. Some of the language used in the beatitudes can be confounding but the concept of addiction is something we can all relate to. We see the devastating effects of addiction everywhere from alcohol and drug abuse, to pornography, even shopping! Fr. Barron makes an important distinction though, its not so much a puritanical renunciation of these things but learning to develop a healthy detachment from pleasant feelings, the pursuit of honour, wealth and power. All these things are potentially good, it all depends on how you relate to them. Lent is a time for spiritual renewal, a time to recommit ourselves to breaking free from our unhealthy attachments, andwith God's grace all things are possible. This and so much more on Episode 2 of Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series. Sundays at 9pm ET / 6pm PT

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