What is happiness? And how do I find it?
Declarations on true happiness in the modern world may lead faithful astray, but one of Denver’s Catechetical School instructors Daniel Campbell has the answers to help put seekers on the right path.
This is the third year the Augustine Institute graduate and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton parishioner has taught the course “The Art of Living: Mastering the Virtuous Life” at the St. John Paul II Center in south Denver.
The secular culture claims happiness is a feeling, he said.
“In a culture of relativism, it’s really whatever you want to feel,” Campbell said.
Rather the truth lies in Catholic tradition which taught happiness is not a feeling, but a particular way of life that is attained.
Philosophers including Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas taught “you can only attain the state of happiness, where there’s really a flourishing in life, if you live a life of virtue,” he said.
The course includes an in-depth study on the cardinal virtues—prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance—through the eyes of Aristotle and the theological virtues—faith, hope and charity—as taught by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Campbell will lead students in extensive study to understand the virtues and then acquire and practice them.
“It’s to get people to have a real desire for the life of virtue and give them the means to understand how to pursue that,” he said.
Pursuing virtue, with regular participation in the sacraments and prayer, is foundational to the moral life and hopefully, evangelization of others, Campbell explained.
Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, once stated that there’s a relationship between evangelization and happiness. He said evangelization means showing others the path to happiness, or teaching the art of living.
“It is necessary because there’s an element to modern culture today where people don’t like being told certain things without there being some particular witness,” Campbell said.
The course is appropriate for students of all levels and requires no homework outside of class. No prior philosophical or theological training is necessary.
Students have the option of a morning or evening course and may pay per semester or for the entire year.
Campbell said the goal is for students to leave the class understanding the art of living that fulfills one’s purpose in life, and to understand the repercussions from rejecting a virtuous life.
Learn more at http://sjvdenver.edu.
‘The Art of Living: Mastering the Virtuous Life’
When: Tuesdays between Sept. 9-June 2 from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. or 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: St. John Paul II Center, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver
Cost: $225 per semester or $425 for the full year
Information: call 303-715-3195
Recommended reading on virtues
“The Three Ages of the Interior Life” by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
“The Four Cardinal Virtues” by Josef Pieper
“Faith, Hope and Love” by Josef Pieper
“Confessions” by St. Augustine
“The Rule of St. Benedict” by St. Benedict
“Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales
“The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A. Kempis
“The Sinner’s Guide” by Venerable Louis of Granada
“Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle
“First part of the Second Part” and “Second Part of the Second Part” by St. Thomas Aquinas in “Summa Theologiae”