<<to say that the point of life is "to be happy" renders our existence virtually pointless, while the alternative, "to know God," offers us dignity and significance. If all that is available to me in the face of the death of my child is "to choose happiness" ~ well, that seems to me to represent the epitome of triviality. However, if knowledge of God ~ which would also mean knowledge of love, knowledge of ways to remain present to those I care for, knowledge of my life having some purpose ~ remains a possibility, then there is a point to life. >>
Today, Tim Muldoon, a writer over at Ignatian Spirituality, offers the following:
As a historical note, when Ignatius wrote the Spiritual Exercises he was using a tradition that was already long established in monastic history, so what Jamison has to say about happiness is very much in the same vein as what Ignatius was aiming for. The idea is common in the Church Fathers and Mothers, Aquinas and the scholastics, and Ignatius: remove sin so that God’s grace may work in your life. That’s happiness. (Not necessarily pleasure–they all followed Aristotle on this point, that pleasure is passing but happiness is a way of being at work in the world. Pleasure is fine, but it comes and goes.)>>
Perhaps my own (and my friend's) confused thought was merging happiness with pleasure. I am willing to hazard a guess that in talking about "knowledge of God" I was in the vicinity of Jamison's discussion of happiness, and that what perturbed me so much about my friend's insistence on happiness was my perception that she wanted me to find a way to have some fun.
I believe that I can say with some authority that mothers who have lost children to suicide are not thinking much about fun ~ but we are focused intently on meaning of life questions. And on questions such as whether our own lives will ever again be about anything beyond endurance.
And so: I am thinking I'll take a look at this book.
AFTER ordination exams.