Monday, February 14, 2005

What is a sign that you are stuck on the first or second level?

Recall that Fr. Spitzer's first level of happiness is physical pleasure and his second level is ego gratification.

The best sign of being stuck on the lower levels is ingratitude. If you are more likely to spontaneously complain that God is not being generous to you or responsive to your obvious needs rather than spontaneously giving thanks for all the generous and wonderful gifts God is showering upon you daily, hourly, by the minute, then you are stuck on level one or two. If the people God puts in your life daily seem to you to be either obstacles to your happiness or at least irrelevant, then you are seeking ego gratification. God never withholds opportunities for pursuing happiness on the third and fourth level (service and spiritual growth respectively). We are never at a loss for opportunities for service nor for spiritual growth and deepening our relationship with the Lord.

I think about this when I want to complain about something not being right in the Church or at the seminary. If something in the Church, such as an approved liturgical translation, is not gratifying me, then it is because I am seeking a lower level of gratification that God is offering me at this time.

The Schoenstatt movement has a wonderful saying: Mother takes perfect care. We are NEVER abandoned, even when we feel abandoned (as Jesus seems to have on the Cross).

Remember the Suscipe of St. Ignatius:

Receive, O Lord, all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire
will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You
and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and
your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.
Exercises, #234)

Or this prayer, also by St. Ignatius:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to
give without counting the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and
not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for reward, except to know that I
am doing your will.

No comments: