Building Catholic Character in Students: Choose Happiness over Pleasure

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The Catholic Book of Character and Success: Chapter Notes

Chapter Thirteen: Choose Happiness over Pleasure.

  • Often in life you have to choose between happiness and pleasure.
  • Of your own free will you will have to decide if wrongful pleasure will be the principal purpose of your life, or whether you will eschew it to become happy.
  • As you progress through life your observations will underline that this choice is a universal constant.
  • You will note that professional pleasure seekers are never happy.
  • On the other hand, those who discipline themselves against wrongful pleasure are generally happy and content.
  • Pleasure means enjoyment in gratifying a sensual appetite or craving of the human faculties.
  • Our eyes seek out beauty, our appetites seek food and drink, our muscles exercise, our minds intellectual curiosity and our imagination  craves amusements.
  •  In modern times, the intensity of stimulation to satisfy our cravings is intense; far greater than in days gone by.
  • Hundreds of years ago our ancestors would have lived a much more rustic life but perhaps would have been much happier without the wrongful stimulants on offer today.
  • Modern advertisements offer enticements and faulty justifications, urging people to satisfy their cravings.
  • Consciously or otherwise we succumb to these pleasures, but they do not bring happiness.
  • Although pleasure in itself is a good thing and a certain amount of lawful pleasure is necessary, our condition makes us feel that we never have enough of it and we risk chasing pleasure or its own sake.
  • Pleasure seekers are like drug users. At first there is gratification, but addiction makes the person miserable and more and more stimulation is needed to satisfy the craving.
  • Although pleasure is not a drug, it can take on that characteristic when sought and consumed in excessive doses.
  • Character and health is broken down to form a disappointed and unsatisfied creature.
  • Happiness on the other hand is inward contentment, peace, satisfaction and moral well-being.
  • It comes to those who practise the four cornerstones of character: Temperance, Justice, Prudence and Fortitude.
  • Pleasure is generally ephemeral but happiness endures.
  • Happiness is a result of a healthy balance in heart, soul and mind.
  • A person cannot be happy with a bad conscience, a lack of self-respect or an awareness of shirking of duties to God and man.
  • It is easy in this way to see the difference in pleasure and happiness.
  • One who seeks pleasure for its own sake will necessarily neglect his duties.
  • His pleasure seeking will impact on his duty-seeking: it is a sure way to ruin a character.
  • There is danger even in seeking innocent pleasures for their own sake: one has to still choose between pleasure and happiness.
  • Ultimately the choice is yours to what path you will take.
  • A person cannot chose both paths.

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