When I was in grammar school and perhaps even in high school, I would have wondered if I was committing a sin just by entering a church that was not a Catholic Church.
First in a series
IN HIS APOSTOLIC exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), after mentioning our deceased loved ones as saints, Pope Francis writes the following sentence: “The saints now in God’s presence preserve their bonds of life and communion with us.”
We begin a Eucharist by recalling the times we failed to keep our promises to God. We freely admit our sinfulness without fear because we believe God’s forgiveness is readily available.
I wonder if I could find a text that would reveal more powerfully the unique importance of every person. Each of us is called by God to cooperate with God’s creative act and providential presence by contributing our own unique free choices. Every single one of us has a place in God’s plan. To refuse to freely choose when choice is called for in God’s plan is to fail to fulfill our role in God’s providence.
Eighth in a series
IN ANY PHILOSOPHY course I teach at St. John’s University, I stress the importance of human freedom. I want students to understand as deeply as they can the mystery of human freedom. Perhaps more than anything else, I want them to grasp that by their choices, especially their most important choices, those that have moral and religious implications, they hold their lives in their hands. By our choices, we are co-creating ourselves with God. To the extent that our choices for ourselves are in line with the choices God has for us, we mature and grow in holiness.
Seventh in a series
AMONG MY GOALS in writing this series is to dispel misunderstandings concerning personalism.
Sixth in a series
THERE ARE SO many insights that I have received from philosopher Father W. Norris Clarke, S.J. that it is difficult to prioritize them in importance. Father Clarke’s book “Person and Being” (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1993) is a gem. There are a handful of books that have changed my life. “Person and Being” is one of them. Re-reading it again in order to write this series of columns on philosophy has really been a labor of love.
Fifth in a series
SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was having dinner with some close friends, among whom were a resigned priest and his wife. He and his wife knew several resigned priests and their spouses and socialized often with them. At one point during the dinner, the wife said to me: “How come, Bob, you have not resigned from the priesthood?” She was not prying, but was genuinely curious. Almost with no reflection, I immediately responded: “I have been blessed with wonderful friends.”
Fourth in a series
AT THE TIME that I am writing this series of columns about the mysteries that philosophy can help us to understand more deeply, I am lecturing about a book at St. John’s University that I teach every spring semester. No matter how many times I talk about this book to students, I still become excited. The author’s insights are just marvelous. The book is Father W. Norris Clarke’s “Person and Being” (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1993).
Reflecting in this series of columns on the mysteries that philosophy can help us understand more deeply, a line from Jesuit Father Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, “God’s Grandeur,” has been going through my mind. The line is: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” There are many truths that can help us appreciate God’s love for us and one of them is that all creation is a message of love from God to us, a kind of love letter from God.