As the author of this collection of inspirational essays puts it, “Sole to Soul” (St. Pauls, 2018) by Rolando V. de la Rosa, OP, “this book’s modest intention is to make you think why, despite your constant denial, you are seldom happy. If this book leads you to admit that you’re often down in the dumps then it has partly achieved its goal.”
The book is subtitled “a journey to joy and happiness.” It covers a wide range of human emotions, the author’s own reflections and experiences as well as those of others, as these challenge his own ideas.
The themes are divided into “Family, Friendship, Sex and Happiness,” “What Makes Us Unhappy,” “Cultural Disvalues that Dispose Us to be Unhappy” and “Happy People.”
The title comes from, would you believe, the name of a shoe store, and that the way Aristotle taught philosophy to his disciples “while walking in the Lyceum of ancient Athens.” And “while his disciples’ soles trod on the ground, Aristotle touched their soul by teaching them how to think, understand and be happy.”
For Father De la Rosa, former rector of the University of Santo Tomas and chair of the Commission on Higher Education, happiness is evanescent, although he used the word “perishable,” something that disappears. Therefore the important question is not if we are happy but how prepared we are for happiness: “Are we disposing ourselves for happiness?”
The book contends that it is from painful experiences that we develop the capacity for real joy. For Father De la Rosa, the good and accomplished Dominican that he is, “rejoicing in the Lord is a rewarding experience.” One that brings real happiness.
After reading about—and being demoralized by—all those reports about pedophile bishops and priests, this book reminds us that there are many other Catholic clergymen who have kept the faith. —CONTRIBUTED