Author and television personality Fr. Robert Spitzer delivered a lecture at Christendom College on Monday, September 18, speaking on the “Four Levels of Happiness.” The engaging talk delved into Fr. Spitzer’s summary of how to reach the greatest level of happiness in this life and the next, as he encouraged students to go out in the culture and spread the good news about true happiness to others.
“Happiness has been trivialized in our culture,” said Fr. Spitzer. “If we are going to evangelize the culture, we have to talk about happiness. These people are suffering.”
Fr. Spitzer, former president of Gonzaga University, spoke at length about our culture’s views on happiness, dubbing it predominantly “Level 1” or “Level 2” happiness. Level 1 happiness, for Fr. Spitzer, is primarily material happiness, while Level 2 is egocentric. This can be seen throughout today’s social media-obsessed culture, a culture that Fr. Spitzer ultimately condemned.
“We’re likely to live a life that doesn’t make use of its full potential if we follow today’s idea of happiness,” said Fr. Spitzer.
Turning to the works of St. Augustine and Plato, Fr. Spitzer laid out a better path to happiness in Christ, both in “Level 3” happiness, which denotes doing selfless acts, and “Level 4” happiness, which is transcendental. By moving up these levels of happiness, one comes closer to God, who is true happiness, according to Fr. Spitzer.
“The higher we go up the levels of happiness, the longer the effects will last — dare I say, unto eternity,” said Fr. Spitzer.
Concluding his talk, Fr. Spitzer encouraged students to not dwell too much on the evils of today’s culture, but instead to look for the good in others and help them to come closer to God.
“It’s much easier to look for the bad news than for the good news. Bad news can be too riveting. Instead of focusing on the bad, look for kindness. Look for the good news in others. This causes empathy,” said Fr. Spitzer. “My point is: God died for you. He loves you that much.”