I am having a really interesting experience as I re-read sections of Robert Johann’s “Building the Human” (New York Herder and Herder, 1968, pp. 192), a book I first read about 50 years ago. Re-reading Johann’s reflections on the mystery of a person, I find him expressing views about the meaning of a person that I have come not only to embrace but to believe deeply.
Perhaps someday I will look through the hundreds of books that I have accumulated during a lifetime of teaching philosophy and count the number of books that deal in some way with the mystery of love.
That I see the virtue of hope as central to living as a follower of Christ may have something to do with the process of aging. I know that in recent years hope has seemed to me to be at the heart of the Christian mystery and at our vocation to enter more deeply into our relationship with God.
As this Easter approaches, I am recalling an experience I had more than 60 years ago when I was a student in the major seminary. I was reading in chapel a book entitled “Christ in His Mysteries,” by Dom Abbot Marmion. I even remember the color of the book’s cover.
It’s that time of year when I am involved with two “adult education programs”: the ongoing Monday evening Catholic novel series and the Friday Film Festival. Each program has been going on for more than 30 years. A few months ago, because attendance at each had dropped, I thought about terminating both.
Insights of the great German theologian, Romano Guardini (1885-1968) to reflect on the advantages and dangers that technology can offer. Though many years ago I had read several of Guardini’s books and profited greatly from the insights in them, my current encounter with Guardini’s thought is through an essay about him, “Quiet Prophet of a Distracted Age” by Robert Dean Lurie in the Jesuit magazine, America (November 11, 2019).
I was delighted to discover an essay in the Jesuit weekly America last November about the German Catholic theologian, Romano Guardini. When I was a student in the major seminary back in the 1950s, Guardini was my favorite spiritual writer. I can’t even guess how many of his books I read.
In many of the courses that I teach at St. John’s University, I devote the first few classes to a survey of the philosophy of secular humanism. This practice goes back several years. I mention to the members of the class that while I do not know whether they are familiar with the tenets of secular humanism, or even if they have ever heard of secular humanism, I stress that they have been exposed to it in many ways through the media such as contemporary films, newspapers, magazines, songs, television shows and perhaps even through some courses in science that they may have taken in high school.
On the feast of Christ the King, the reading from St. Paul was from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Though I have often been inspired by this text from Paul, for some reason it seemed to take on new meaning for me.
Memories play tricks on us. I have been trying to recall my experience of studying undergraduate philosophy as a seminarian many years ago and comparing it with what I emphasize and stress in the philosophy classes I now teach at St. John’s University. Was there in the courses I took as an undergraduate any emphasis […]