Read The Saints' Guide to Happiness: Practical Lessons in the Life of the Spirit by Robert Ellsberg Online


“What is happiness and how can I find it?” may be one of the most frequently asked questions there is. Perhaps that’s because it is so hard to experience lasting happiness.In The Saints’ Guide to Happiness, Robert Ellsberg suggests that some of the best people to show us are holy men and women throughout history—from St. Augustine to Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton to St.“What is happiness and how can I find it?” may be one of the most frequently asked questions there is. Perhaps that’s because it is so hard to experience lasting happiness.In The Saints’ Guide to Happiness, Robert Ellsberg suggests that some of the best people to show us are holy men and women throughout history—from St. Augustine to Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton to St. Theresa of Avila and Mother Theresa.These people weren’t saints because of the way they died or their visions or wondrous deeds. They were saints because of their extraordinary capacity for goodness and love, which—in the end—makes us happy....

Title : The Saints' Guide to Happiness: Practical Lessons in the Life of the Spirit
Author :
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ISBN : 9780385515665
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Saints' Guide to Happiness: Practical Lessons in the Life of the Spirit Reviews

  • Avolyn Fisher
    2019-04-24 06:45

    I grew up in the Lutheran church and I have only begun exploring Catholicism in the last year or so, and I would say that this book is one that borders on quite possibly being the best book I have ever read. A part of me worries that no other book will compare to this one for the rest of my life. I've read countless other Christian books and I would prefer to not open up the can of worms that would be arguing why Catholicism is superior, because I am not even a Catholic but I have noticed the depth of Catholic text and the way in which the Catholic teachings manage to touch the deepest corners of my soul in a way that other books that I have read previously on the topic of faith, have not done. Disclaimer: this review is about to get opinionated and I have no intentions of offending anyone....I feel that growing up, other Christian texts tended to deny the world in order to explain God and explain faith whereas Catholic text appears to mesh the two and explain how the world is not counter to faith but how the two are woven together and we should live our lives as such. This book outlined in the most beautiful way how happiness isn't a mood or a feeling we get but rather a state of being and that even though suffering can be a part of life and is still a part of God's plan, we should not feel guilty about being happy in this life because to be unhappy just for the sake of being unhappy in this life would be to disrespect the gift of this beautiful life that was given to us. And contrary to other teachings, Heaven is not only a place in the afterlife that we can never know before death, but it is also a place here on earth. We are not happy because we avoid suffering, we are happy despite our suffering.What I love most about the teachings of the Saints is that even if our lives are not as profound as to make ourselves famous like them, our work in the realm of the commoner is just as important and just as meaningful and that everyone should consider themselves as a Saint working toward achieving our status as a Saint. I can't get over how thirsty my soul has been for this book and the teachings of the Catholic church. I don't mean to suggest that any form of Christianity is "inferior" but I feel like up until now, Christian teachings felt like girl scout badges I was trying to earn on my vest of faith whereas for the first time in my life, these Catholic teachings feel like the literal hand of God molding me into the person I was created to be. They aren't patches that I want to earn because I'm supposed to and I want others to see how devoted I am or that I've checked a box in the church, they're teachings that I cannot ignore because they've literally changed me after reading them.I will be returning to this book over and over again, I stumbled upon it by accident when I was at a used book store and I have been so delighted by the depth and power within its pages.

  • 7jane
    2019-05-12 03:48

    Surprisingly great book, because you don't always know how great a book is just by looking at the cover. So this book talks about how they found happiness, both here and towards the future, beyond the fence of death. Happiness found while living, while letting go (detachment), in our work, love, suffering and during the time of dying, but also then in seeing through faith and hope and life-circumstances.The author chose a number of saints and nearly-official (in some people's minds) saints as examples here, my particular favorites being Doris Day, Flannery O'Connor and Teresa Of Avila. And I ended up also getting more book suggestions, so my shopping list gets bigger. Not a bad thing in this case :) Very well worth reading.

  • Denise
    2019-04-21 06:54

    A spiritually moving and motivating book about saints quest to attain happiness on earth. The author uses beautiful examples of saints' lives to spur one into action. Encouraged to put away the miseries and sorrows of the day, the reader finds peace in hearing of the triumphs of saints on earth - the same struggles we hold and the choices they made to be happy.

  • Dee Dee
    2019-04-23 01:47

    Fantastic book - one I'll probably buy because I want to read it again.

  • Ephrem Arcement
    2019-04-27 04:13

    I deeply resonate with Ellsberg's selections in his saints' guide to happiness. This could have been a pious and stilted read, but Ellsberg fills each chapter with great humanity and makes these saints' spirituality utterly livable. Happiness is possible in this life. These saints show us how it is.

  • Todd Putney
    2019-05-13 00:02

    Ellsberg is the editor of Orbis books and a good guide to the Saints. This book's focus is on happiness and what some of the saints had to say about it. What is the relationship between happiness and holiness? Ellsberg may not have all the answers but he knows where to look.

  • Jes Pedroza
    2019-04-21 08:13

    There is no ten steps or twelve steps nor any number of steps that lead to happiness. There is no spiritual prescription. Happiness is a continuous journey that we go through in life. Robert Ellsberg gives us a taste of the varying conceptions of what the saints believed to be happiness. St. Brigid of Ireland envisioned true happiness as a large family gathered around a lake of beer (my kind of girl), while other saints found it while living a life of poverty and solitude. Although they all found different paths to this state, the reoccurring theme seen is their love for God, their willingness to do his work and the ability to see the everyday blessings and beauty that God presents to his people. These all seem to be clear instructions for the ultimate goal of happiness. However, in life, there is theory and then there is reality. I’m a firm believer in reality and these instructions tell me that this is not the easiest curriculum to abide by. But on the other hand, when I reflect on some of my “happiest” moments in life, it was when I was able to practice these important lessons. I appreciate Ellsberg’s critique from a different perspective. As Christians, we believe in heaven. Other religious sectors have criticized the emphasis placed on the after life. Albert Camus, a French existentialist, charged that this preoccupation undermines the capacity for ethical engagement in the present. This was a point that never crossed my mind, but one certainly worth pondering. The critique is not only for the Christians but for all of us living in the modern day world. We drive while talking on our cell phones while listening to the radio while thinking about what we have to get done in the day. We constantly have this terrible desire to be anywhere but in the present. We think about the future and we think about the past. But if we are perpetually in these two states, Ellsberg questions whether we are ever truly alive.The saints remind us that although we all end up in different professions, the vocation that we all share is to love. Every encounter we have with someone is an opportunity to love. We must love our friends as well as our enemies. This is how we become “refined”, for we learn forgiveness only when there is something to forgive; we learn patience only when our patience is sorely tested. Dostoevsky was a firm believer in this and the character created in The Brothers Karamazov knew that in order to find God one must practice “active love”. For we only learn to love by loving!Overall, the path to happiness is a very holy thing. Our journeys vary but are the same in the end. With all the saints cheering us on, let us be happy!

  • Celia
    2019-05-12 00:48

    This is a beautiful meditation on the paths in life that saints have taken which lead toward happiness. I have to admit that I've only read half-way through it, but sometimes I find that a review 'from the middle' can be as good as a tidy and patted-down one from the end.[Review from 2010.] I skim a lot of books - religious, secular, self-help, academic - and so the reason I'm only halfway through this one is because it's good enough to read slowly, one or two sections of a chapter each night. This is unusual.Okay, so now you're probably wondering about specifics. First, there are the topics: leaving the fear of death in order to embrace life now, setting aside the drivenness of work in order to be still, pushing off apathy in order to love, and spurning anxious self-preservation so as to enter into the suffering that all of us face in life. None of this is particularly new, but the way in which it is written may help it to settle more deeply within you.The thing I most enjoy about this book is the wide range of 'saints' that Ellsberg cites. From Blaise Pascal to St. Francis to Thomas Merton, there's a Catholic for everyone. But then on the next page, there's an insight into life from Aristotle, Thoreau, or Victor Frankl... not exactly your traditional mitered folk! By far my favorite has been the salty and irreverent quotes by Dorothy Day, a practical Catholic about whom I knew little and now want to know a lot more.In sum, I'm finding this to be a great reflection on what is valuable in life, as mediated through some of the central themes of a wide variety of wise and spiritual authors. In addition to reiterating what many of us know to be true, it's served as a good introduction to historical figures that I've been unfamiliar with. 5 stars.

  • Phil
    2019-05-03 05:04

    I ran into this superb book while skimming the choices on my phone's book reader. The title intrigued me, so I paid the ridiculously small price for it and started reading. Ellsberg undertakes the philosophical/theological task of defining more closely what is happiness and, then, uses examples of saints lives to explain aspects of what happiness is. The key to the book is the definition of happiness (the culturally dominant one defined by Ellsberg as "the feeling of being happy"), of course, because the claim that the saints can lead us to happiness is, to say the least, an odd one. The saints are not necessarily easily identified with happiness as we tend to think of it. They are an assorted bunch: some happy to be sure, but many cranky or suffering terribly. So, Ellsberg's whole premise seems odd. Ellsberg connects happiness with the holiness of the saints, not in a simplistic way, but as a reflect of the saint's connection to God: their balance, courage and love of their neighbour. The book goes through the insights that the life of the saints gives on what true happiness. Ellsberg examines most aspects of life including taking on suffering and death which, on the topic of happiness, is a hard sell. Yet, he still manages to make a compelling case for the true happiness which connection of God gives. This book is worth exploring and I'm sure that I'll keep coming back to this text for insights. Well worth reading.

  • Lizzy
    2019-04-20 07:56

    Ellsberg's journey to define happiness through those we admire - saints and just good people - led me to question how I live and see the events in my life. I think sometimes, one might try so hard to be happy and surge to find that sense of physical and emotional security through attachment to titles, jobs, objects, and people that never truly realize that happiness they seek. Ellsberg includes little gems about vocation - for instance, Flannery O'Connor explains that she writes because "I'm good at it." In the whole, "Eat, Pray, Love" frenzy that pervades our media (I do love Gilbert's book), sometimes it's nice to be reminded that we can be happy with ourselves, in the simpliest of ways - by doing what we are good at, by embracing the fullness of life, and all the while learning to love what we see and all we encounter.

  • Tk
    2019-05-17 04:47

    Great read. The first few chapters were quick and instructive, but my favorite was chapter 6, "learning to suffer." 6-8 were really beautiful, meaningful, and inspiring. I will reread them again and again.

  • Karen
    2019-05-17 06:10

    This is a book that I want to come back to again. There were so many spots that resonated with my life right now.

  • Anne Joseph
    2019-05-12 08:15

    This book had a lot of good reminders and lessons. It was less a collection of stories about the saints than using the saints as examples for the lessons, which I really liked.

  • Paul
    2019-05-05 06:56

    A wonderful book on what it means to be truly happy. Well written, balanced, insightful.

  • Paulus Mango
    2019-05-10 00:55

    "It is not dying, but deadness we should fear."

  • Michelle Jones
    2019-05-07 07:55

    Awesome book! It is one of my favorites. It shows what kinds of saints, as well as ordinary people what they have gone through: their sufferings and struggles and how they got through them.