Christ is the King of Hearts
Every man is passionately fond of liberty, but there is one thing he craves even more, and without which existence and even liberty is painful, and that is HAPPINESS. It is one of the greatest of life’s paradoxes that as much as man seeks to be free, he still wishes to be a slave: Not from his liberty but he wants to be free to choose between the various kinds of happiness, he doesn’t want to be free from happiness. He wishes to be its slave. St. Augustine taught us that ‘our hearts will be restless until they find rest in God.’ Will my/your heart seek its happiness in the pleasures of the world, or will it seek them in the kingship of Christ?
Different kinds of people seek happiness in different ways. Robert J. Spitzer., S.J., in his book Healing the culture, distinguishes four levels of happiness: Level One: The Hedonist seeks happiness in bodily pleasure obtained by food, drink, drugs, or sex. Level two: The Egoist seeks happiness in competitive advantage over other people in terms of money, fame, power, popularity, or other material goods. Level three: The Altruist seeks happiness through loving and serving other people. Level three happiness does not necessarily contradict or undermine success at level two or enjoyment of level one, but it prioritises love and service to others over self-aggrandizement and self-indulgence. Level four: The Altruist of Faith, or the spiritual Altruist, seeks happiness in loving and serving God and the image of God found in every human person.
People of faith believe that the human heart is made with a longing for Perfect Truth, Perfect Goodness, and Perfect Love. We were made to love God and be loved by God. Level four happiness has to do with loving, praising, and thanking God and in turn experiencing God’s love for us. From a level three perspective, all human beings have innate dignity. From level four perspective, human dignity is enhanced because each person is made in God’s image and likeness, and each person is invited to have friendship with God.
Each one of us is a potential hedonist, egoist, altruist, or spiritual altruist. What we choose determines what kind of person we become. Although most people desire each level of happiness at different times and in different ways, not every level provides equal and lasting contentment.
Happiness is a by-product of the act of giving, serving and loving. It is a by-product of doing what is right. That is what Christ the King taught us in the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:3-12). He loved us, he taught us how to serve both our neighbour and God. He is a King who gave himself for us and died on the cross for our salvation.
Fr Lazarus Msimbe