Friday, October 2, 2015

The Four Levels of Happiness

The Four Levels Defined

Level 1

Happiness derived from material objects and the pleasures they can provide.  This is the most basic level of happiness, and it can come from eating fine chocolate, driving a sports car, a cool swim on a hot day, or other forms of physical gratification. Level 1 happiness is good but limited. The pleasure it provides is immediate but short-lived and intermittent. It is also shallow; it requires no reflection, and it doesn’t extend beyond the self in any meaningful way. 

Level 2

Happiness derived from personal achievement and ego gratification. You feel Level 2 happiness when people praise you; when they acknowledge your popularity and authority; when you win in sports or advance in your career. Level 2 happiness is usually comparative because the ego measures success in terms of advantage over others. You’re happy when you’re seen as smarter, more attractive, or more important than others, and you’re unhappy when you lose the comparison game. Level 2 happiness is short-term and tenuous. You can be happy that you won today, and then anxious you might lose tomorrow. Level 2 is not inherently bad because we all need success, self-esteem, and respect to accomplish good things in life. But when Level 2 happiness – self-promotion – becomes your only goal, it leads to self-absorption, jealousy, fear of failure, contempt, isolation, and cynicism.

Level 3

Happiness derived from doing good for others and making the world a better place. 
Level 3 happiness is more enduring because it is directed toward the human desire for love, truth, goodness, beauty, and unity. It is capable of inspiring great achievements because it unites people in pursuit of the common good, whereas Level 2 happiness divides people. Level 3 is empathetic, not self-absorbed, and it looks for the good in others, not their flaws. It sees life as an opportunity and an adventure, not an endless series of problems to overcome. Because people have limits, Level 3 happiness also has its limits. None of us are perfect, so we can’t find perfect fulfillment in other people.

Level 4

Ultimate, perfect happiness. When others fall short of our ideals, or we fall short ourselves, we’re disappointed. This disappointment points to a universal human longing for transcendence and perfection. We don’t merely desire love, truth, goodness, beauty, and unity; we want all of these things in their ultimate, perfect, never-ending form. All people have this desire for ultimacy, which psychologists call a desire for transcendence – a sense of connection to the larger universe. Some express this desire through spirituality and religious faith. Others express the same longing through philosophy, through art, or through scientific efforts to solve the mysteries of life and the universe. 

Benefits of the ones that wear the Scapular of Mary:

Promises of wearing the Scapular

On July 16th 1251 the Blessed Mary made this promise to Saint Simon Stock: “Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” She continues, “Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.” Partial indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XV to those who devoutly kiss their scapular.
Amongst the myriad of miracles attributed to the Brown Scapular, there are a few more famous occurrences:
In May 1957, in Westenboden, Germany, an entire row of houses had caught fire. The inhabitants of one of the houses fixed a scapular to the front door of their home. Five hours later, 22 homes on the block had burnt to the ground. Yet amidst the destruction, the home with the scapular attached to it stood unharmed. This miracle was witnessed by hundreds of people.
Three holy men devoted to the scapular, Pope Bl. Gregory X, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St. John Bosco, all died wearing the scapular. When their graves were opened years later, the bodies and vestments had decayed but their scapulars remained perfectly intact.
In November of 1955, a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed in Guatemala. All the passengers died except for one young girl. She related that when the plane was going down, she clutched her scapular and cried out to Our Lady for help. She was burnt and her clothes were tattered and burnt as well, but the girl was overall unharmed and her scapular free from any burns.2

 Wearing the Scapular, a Form of Consecration
Wearing Mary ́s Scapular is a way to consecrate ourselves to Her service. Consecration sets apart a person or thing for a sacred purpose. Every Catholic should be consecrated to Mary.
Our Lady of Fatima, on October 13th, 1917, held the Brown Scapular in Her hand, making the three child seers, Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco, understand that She wants all of us to wear the Scapular. In a 1936 letter, written at Pontevedra, Sister Lucy quotes Our Lord as saying that He wants devotion to His Mother ́s Immaculate Heart alongside devotion to His own Sacred Heart. So consecration to Mary, as a means of giving Her greater honor and love, is God ́s will for us, and in no way detracts from His own glory.
We tell Mary that we venerate Her, love Her and trust Her every moment of the day, by simply wearing the Scapular. Saint Alphonsus says: “The Most Holy Mary is pleased when Her servants wear Her Scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to Her service, and are members of the Family of the Mother of God.” 
 More miracles:
The devotion to the Brown Scapular was authorized by miracles. God uses miracles as a witness to the truth of His promises and those of His Mother. Miracles are used by God to confirm the solid foundation of the devotions that the Church proposes to the faithful. The greater the number of miracles obtained by a particular devotion, the more it draws our attention to this devotion and authenticates the
 truth that the practice is pleasing to God. Of all the devotions adopted by the Church, none has been confirmed by more authenticated miracles than that of the Brown Scapular. What follows is a small sampling.
Miracles of Grace
A priest relates that one day in a town near Chicago he was called to the bedside of a man who had been away from the Sacraments for many years. “The man did not want to see me: he would not talk. Then I asked him to look at the little Scapular I was holding. ‘Will you wear this if I put it on you? I ask nothing more.’ He agreed to wear it, and within the hour he wanted to go to Confession and make his peace with God. This did not surprise me, because for over 700 years Our Lady has been working in this way through Her Scapular.”
On the very day that Our Lady gave the Scapular to Saint Simon Stock, he was hurriedly called by Lord Peter of Linton: “Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!” Saint Simon Stock left at once for the bedside of the dying man. Upon arrival, he placed his large Scapular over the man, asking Our Blessed Mother to keep Her promise. Immediately the man repented, and died in the grace of God. That night the dead man appeared to his brother and said, “I have been saved through the most powerful Queen and the habit of that man as a shield.”
Miracles Demonstrating
Our Lady’s Promise of Protection

One day in 1944, a Carmelite missionary in the Holy Land was called to an internment camp to give the Last Rites. The Arab bus driver made the priest get off the bus four miles from the camp because the road was dangerously muddy. After two miles, the missionary found his feet sinking deeper and deeper into the mire. Trying to get solid footing, he slipped into a muddy pool. Sinking to his death in this desolate place, he thought of Our Lady and Her Scapular. He kissed his great Scapular — for he was wearing the full habit — and looked toward the holy mountain of Carmel, the birthplace of devotion to God’s Mother. He cried out, “Holy Mother of Carmel! Help me! Save me!” A moment later, he found himself on solid ground. Later he said, “I know I was saved by the Blessed Virgin through Her Brown Scapular. My shoes were lost in the mud, and I was covered with it, but I walked the remaining two miles praising Mary.”
Saved from the Sea
Another Scapular miracle took place in 1845. In the late summer of that year, the English ship, “King of the Ocean”, on its way to Australia, not far from Cape Hope, found itself in the middle of a hurricane. As wind and sea mercilessly lashed the ship, a Protestant minister, with his wife and children and other passengers, struggled to the deck to pray for mercy and forgiveness, as the end seemed at hand. Among the crew was a young Irishman, John McAuliffe. On seeing the urgency of the situation, the youth opened his shirt, took off his Scapular, and, making the Sign of the Cross with it over the raging waves, tossed it into the ocean. At that very moment, the wind calmed. Only one more wave washed the deck, bringing with it the Scapular which came to rest at the young man’s feet. All the while the minister (a Mr. Fisher) had been carefully observing McAuliffe’s actions and the miraculous effect of those actions. Upon questioning the young man, he was told about the Holy Virgin and Her Scapular. Mr. Fisher and his family became determined to enter the Catholic Church as soon as possible, and thereby enjoy the same protection of Our Lady’s Scapular. This they did shortly after landing in Australia.
Saved from Fire
In May of 1957, a Carmelite priest in Germany published the unusual story of how the Scapular saved a home from fire. An entire row of homes had caught fire in Westboden, Germany. The pious inhabitants of a home in the middle of this row, seeing the fire, immediately fastened a Scapular to the main door of the house. Sparks flew over it and around it, but the house remained unharmed. Within 5 hours, 22 homes had been reduced to ashes. The one structure which stood undamaged amidst the destruction was that which had the Scapular attached to its door. The hundreds of people who came to see the place Our Lady had saved are eyewitnesses to the power of the Scapular and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saved from an Explosion
In 1955, a miracle occurred in the midwestern part of the United States. A 3rd-grader stopped in a gasoline station to put air in his bicycle tires, and at that very moment an explosion occurred. The boy’s clothing was burned off, but his Brown Scapular remained unaffected: a symbol of Mary’s protection. Today, although he still bears a few scars from the explosion, this man has special reason to remember the Blessed Mother’s protection in time of danger.
Saved in a Plane Crash
A Jesuit missionary in Guatemala relayed the following incident of Our Lady’s Scapular protection. In November of 1955 a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed. All died except one young lady. When this girl saw the plane was going down, she took hold of her Scapular, and called on Mary for help. She suffered burns, her clothing was reduced to ashes, but her Scapular was not touched by the flames.
Saved from a Bullet
In France, the following was reported: As the town of Montpellier was in a state of siege, in 1622, there occurred a miracle in the sight of the entire army and under the eyes of the King of France, Louis XIII. In a general assault, one of his officers, Champrond De Beauregard, received a bullet wound in the chest. The wound should have been fatal, but the bullet, after piercing the clothing, flattened out against the Scapular, without doing the least bit of harm to the officer. Astonished by the miracle, the officer told all that were around him. Those who surrounded him, witnesses to this wonder, spread it through the army from rank to rank. Eventually news of the miracle reached the monarch’s ear. Louis XIII came forward to see this wonder that had been brought to his attention. He examined the facts very carefully, and after having convinced himself with his own eyes of the reality of the wonder, he wanted to dress himself in this heavenly armor, to receive the Scapular from the hands of the Carmelites and be enrolled as one of the members of the Confraternity.
Saved from Lightning
On August 27th, 1602 Barthelemi Lopez, a Spanish soldier, on duty in the Castle of Saint Elme, in Naples, was  saying prayers in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel whose Scapular he was wearing, when all of a sudden lightning and thunder exploded above his head. The lightning bolt hit his shoulder, and without making any sort of injury, left on his shoulder the print of a cross — as a sign of salvation which demonstrates that it was to a special help from Heaven that he owed the favor of having been preserved from the terrible effects of the lightning.
Miracle of Grace
In 1834, an elderly soldier living in Angouleme, France, no longer able to bear certain sorrows, resolved to take his own life.
He decided to kill himself with poison, thinking that he could more easily hide his crime from the public.
Upon taking the poison, he did not have to wait long to suffer the effects. Immediately he went to the hospital and asked to spend the night, thinking that the cause of his death would be undiscovered and his name would not be blackened because of commission of the cowardly sin of suicide.
But the hospital supervisor would not allow him to be admitted without an administration pass — which would mean discovery of his impending death by his own hand.
The unhappy soldier was forced to abandon the idea of spending the night in the hospital. While wondering what course of action to take, he suddenly heard a voice telling him to go to Saint Peter=s and confess to Father ***. The soldier went to the designated church and asked Father *** to hear his confession.
Father ***, overcome with fatigue, told the man to wait — it was Lent and it was three o=clock in the afternoon and he had not yet had a bite to eat. The unhappy soldier made a new plea and assured the priest that there was not time to wait.
The priest entered the confessional and the penitent confessed that he had just poisoned himself. The confessor  showed him his obligation before God, which included divulging the penitent’s secret.
The soldier, touched by this grace, gave the priest permission, and like the fire which burned his insides, the sufferings he felt threw him into a state of perfect hopelessness.
The charitable priest pulled him out of the confessional and took him to the hospital.
He immediately asked for an antidote, but while they were preparing it, he took the pulse of the sick man, and no longer found any: a deathly pale complexion, misty eyes — everything heralded the coming death.
His heart pierced with sadness, but full of confidence in the Divine Mercy, the fervent priest threw himself to his knees, and recited the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. At the first invocation, he sensed the pulse of the dying man return, and a short time later he heard the soldier speak a few words. ‘O my good Father,’ he said in a weak voice, ‘my Father, pray, pray some more!’ And he let out a breath and said: ‘Holy Mary, pray for me!’ And soon his consciousness returned. Father ***, in his enthusiasm over such a marvelous change, asked the soldier if he hadn=t kept some pious practices — ‘No, my Father, I have not said any prayers in a long time.’ But after having reflected for an instant, he showed a Scapular: ‘Here is the only sign of piety that I have preserved.’ — ‘Ah! My friend,’ notes the priest, ‘I am no longer surprised by the miracle which just occurred; it=s Mary who protected you, it=s to Her that you owe being alive.’ Nevertheless the doctor arrived, and after having heard the necessary details on the condition of the patient, he assured them that only a superior power could prolong his life for longer than two hours after having taken the poison, one of the most active that we know; and five hours had gone by since the fatal moment! ... The antidote became useless. The doctor proposed to record a statement to attest the truth of the miracle; but the humble priest, fearing that they would  perhaps attribute the miracle to the fervor of his prayers, did not think about making the miracle public. It was told to me by others, that it may give you a new confidence in Mary.*

No comments:

Post a Comment