The experience of the pandemic is an experience that we should never forget and pray that we never have again. Probably for each of us, the experience has been in some way a learning experience. It probably forced all of us to reflect deeply on our lives and our relationships. I have come to believe that all of us are a product of our relationships — our relationships with God and with others.
I think it was back in the 1960s, or the early ’70s, that I became very interested in the nature of life commitments, the kind of commitments that people make when being baptized, when marrying, when being ordained, or when taking religious vows.
I am hoping that what unifies and ties together this series of columns is my attempt to use insights from philosophy to deepen religious faith. It strikes me that the philosophy of Gabriel Marcel can help in this effort.
I have a priest friend who regularly mentions people he thinks are holy. Almost everyone he mentions would not be someone I would think of as an exceptionally holy person.
Re-reading Steven Knepper’s essay about existentialist-personalist philosopher Gabriel Marcel in Commonweal (March, 2020), I was reminded that great philosophers frequently transcend the time in which they think and write. Knepper’s essay is entitled “From Problem to Mystery.”
Around the middle of March, I received in the mail the issue of America magazine (March 16th, 2020) containing the essay on existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, which I discussed in the last three columns.
In the last two columns, motivated by an interesting essay on Kierkegaard in the March 18 issue of the Jesuit weekly America, I commented on the philosophy of the Danish existentialist Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).
In last week’s column, impressed with an essay in the Jesuit weekly, America (March 18, 2020), by Karen Wright Marsh entitled “The Startling Prayer Life of Soren Kierkegaard,” I sketched the philosophy of Kierkegaard, who was the first existentialist philosopher.
In my own life, I have found the regular reading of America a great help. Every so often there is an essay that seems to be written with me in mind. In the March 18, 2020 issue such an essay was “The Startling Prayer Life of Soren Kierkegaard” by Karen Wright Marsh.
As I write the last column in this series on the meaning and mystery of the human person and prayer, I think that reflecting on the topic has been a very important learning experience for me.