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The Secret to Satisfaction

August 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

Secret to Satisfaction
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The King of the Golden City (Week 5 of 5)

“My child, you are meant to be happy, and you can never long enough for the things that will make you happy. But I will tell you a secret, Dilecta. All the delightful things that make up home, here in the Land of Exile, never quite satisfy those who have them. Those who have the most want more. If anyone could have all there is to have, he will still wish for something different and better. And even if he could be satisfied for a little while, he would soon have to leave everything. Every day you see people going down into the Dark Valley that lies around the Land of Exile, and setting out, with nothing at all in their hands of all they had here, for a Land they will never leave.”

The King to Dilecta, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3, The King of the Golden City

We don't have to look very far to see this in action, do we? We live in one of the richest countries on earth (or the richest country on earth, though no one I know ever agrees to that designation), and yet our first line of defense is to point out all we don't have.

I don't live in a huge house. I drive an old car. My kids don't wear the latest fashions or name brands.

Or, to put it another way: My house could be much bigger. My car could be much newer. My kids could be much better dressed.

And yet, I haven't even considered that I never worry about the next meal and that I throw away each day as much food as some families in some countries would make last for a week. I read, once, that our pets in the United States eat better than children in some third world countries. That made me do some research as to what, exactly, I'm feeding my dog.

As it turns out, my dog gets pretty basic dog food. But I know a guy who gives his dog refrigerated dog food. (No, really.) And I've heard people quite seriously refer to their pets in a way that, well, disturbs me. (I get the whole “love my pet” thing, really I do. But they're still animals.)

I have a friend who can't be convinced that she's rich by world standards. All she sees are her bills, her debts, her lack. And I've stopped…because I'm starting to sound like a jerk (and that's not my intent).

But once you see the discrepancies, once you look at true need in the face, it's hard to un-see it.

The way we live, with all of our excess, is a little unhealthy for our spiritual lives. It makes us fat and lazy and it makes us a prime target for the easy way referenced in our allegory.

Oh, I like the easy way. Or I like it at first. It's…well, it seems easy at first. But then there's rain. Or a splinter. Or some discomfort that should be no big deal but suddenly becomes a huge deal.

If I didn't know better, I'd think that my six-year-old drama queen and I had a lot in common in our approach to life when I'm in Easy Way Mode.

We have to keep our eyes–and our souls–trained on the source of true satisfaction. As the King points out, that's not to be found in worldly things.

I must admit, this seems like a bummer at first. I like worldly things. I enjoy being alive. I savor my meals and my clothes and my stuff. I'm thankful for all I have…and I want to still have it!

But wait. My goal isn't here. My goal is to pass through, to leave with empty hands but a full soul.

I'm going to hold this advice from the King close to my heart. I want to remember to live it.

NOTE: Our next book is coming up fast! Beginning September 2, we’ll be reading The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila. That’s only a week away!!!

Reading Assignment:

Get a copy of The Way of Perfection. It's free as a text file at EWTN and in a few electronic formats (including mp3) at Christian Classics Ethereal Library. If you order it through Amazon using our link (here and above), you help the work we do and pay no extra, so thanks in advance!

Discussion Questions:

1. Today, make a small sacrifice for someone else's benefit. Maybe you can forego your coffee and donate the money to someone in need. Maybe you will spend time with someone who needs company. It doesn't have to be huge to be worthwhile. How did making that sacrifice impact you? What impact did it have on the other person, if any you could see?

2. How can you move your focus from here to there? What are some regular practices you can adopt or have adopted to help you keep an eternal viewpoint?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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