Catholic happiness and joy begins with selflessness and emanates outward in love and service to others. The secular lie is that happiness and joy centers on the self and all love and service should emanate inwards toward the self. The true root of all evil is the disordered love of self. Selfishness is at the heart of every deadly sin.
Lust – Lust is the intense desire to have something for our own, whether that is a lusting for sex, power, or knowledge. Adam and Eve lusted for the knowledge God was not willing to give to them when they ate from the tree of good and evil.
Gluttony – Gluttony is the intense desire for food or drink. It causes us to overindulge. We want food even when we do not need it.
Greed – Greed is the intense desire of possession. No matter how much of the object of our desire we have it never satisfies the desire for more. Adrenalin junkies push the limits of sanity with ever increasing dangerous stunts for the high they get by doing the stunt. Greed also presents itself as an intense desire for control or power.
Sloth – Sloth is intense lack of desire to be spiritually, emotionally, or physically active. Work has redemptive value to it. Scripture tells us that God does not like people who are lukewarm, people who lack passion. Sloth is the intense lack of passion.
Wrath – Wrath is an intense emotional response. Anger is both good and useful when it is just. Wrath is unjustified anger that often leads to the desire for revenge or other malicious intent.
Envy – Envy is an intense sadness when looking at the goods or goodness of another. Envy often drives us to find a way to justify our shortcomings. This is usually done by comparing our shortcomings to ones who are worse. God, I thank you that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Pride/vanity – Pride is unrestrained and disordered appreciation for one’s own worth. I am the best, the most knowledgeable, the most beautiful, etc. It is listed as the worst of the deadly sins for where pride leads the rest of the deadly sins usually follow.
All deadly sins reside and grow within a self-centered heart.
The foundation of this lie is Moral Relativism. God is sacrificial love and he gave us laws that flow from his very nature to insure that we live selfless lives in love for the other. For Satan to turn us from God he had to get us to freely choose selfish lives over selfless lives. He had to get us to think of the law as something subjective. When we allow morality to be personally defined by each and every person morality loses its meaning. What good is a speed limit when everyone is allowed to drive as fast or as slow as they personally deem safe?
Take the commandment Thou Shall Not Murder. Pretty cut and dried. One human shall not kill another human. Moral relativism allows a person to define murder for themselves so we get things like – one human shall not kill another human unless that human is an unborn baby residing inside the first human or one human shall not kill another human unless the other human is terminally ill and is going to die anyway. Moral relativism allows each individual to define what is morally right for them, rendering morality a useless measure of anything.
Hedonism is all about personal pleasure. Eat and drink as much of anything you wish. Do any drug you want. Have any type of sex with any person or object of your desire. With the restrictions of morality diminished or gone one is free to do whatever brings the self pleasure.
When one is the center of one’s universe it becomes easy to believe that one is owed everything just for being alive. The sense of entitlement grows proportionally to size of one’s self-centeredness. To receive something one is due is the definition of justice. To be owed something that one is not due is entitlement.
The cornerstones of this lie are pleasure, power, and money. The secular culture would have us believe that the more pleasure we have, the more power we have, or the more money we have the happier we will be. We are bombarded relentlessly with images and suggestions of things that would make us happy if we only had them. Even people become nothing more than objects to be used and thrown away. For someone caught up in this lie there is never enough. They never reach a point where they have enough money or possess enough objects. Pleasure becomes harder and harder to obtain. Extremes must be pushed to get the same response they did in the beginning. They are never satisfied. They crave more.
In the Catholic secret of happiness and joy everything starts with Jesus at our center and radiates outward in love for others in the form of service, stewardship, and shepherding. In the secular lie everything comes in from the outside in the form of I, me, and mine. Everything for a self-centered person revolves around what “I” have done, what has happened to “me”, or about the things that are “mine”.
The secular lie is a bright, shiny object that looks to be the greatest, most fun thing ever but it is nothing more than a card house built on a sand foundation. It is only a matter of time before it comes crashing down and the only thing that remains is agonizing despair and loneness.
Be a blessing to all you know and allow them to be a blessing to you.