The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

What an elderly Jesuit and a dog named Rover taught me about love, marriage and family

Authored by Robert Kloska in Issue #35.4 of The Sower
Marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving. (CCC 1609) In the late 1990’s, by some providential stroke of good fortune, I took a class taught by an elderly and brilliant Thomistic philosopher named Fr. Norris Clarke, S.J. He graded our graduate level philosophy papers so fast and with such detailed comments that to this day I am still in awe of his intellectual abilities. The man was amazing! The main topic of this class was Clarke’s own brand of metaphysics, the branch of philosophy that examines the basic nature and causes of all things. Clarke was known for his “creative completion” of St. Thomas’ thought. It was Clarke who introduced me to ideas such as “the relationality of being.” Taking his inspiration from the nature of the Holy Trinity, Clarke taught that love does not merely go in an outward direction from a person, but it also simultaneously involves receptivity. Love itself requires a relationship, which means acting upon and being acted upon simultaneously. In an act of love, you reach out to another and come back to yourself a little different. Even when your love is not reciprocated by the object of your love, your love itself is still intrinsically dynamic. It always changes you. Fr. Clarke led his students to see that in the image of the Holy Trinity we find the perfect example of love going forth and coming back at the same time. Each person—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—both give and receive love in a perfect way. Human beings mimic the Holy Trinity because we, like the Holy Trinity, are persons. We are “self-possessed,” we belong to ourselves. We are able intentionally to direct ourselves, which gives us the ability to cultivate virtues that assist us in achieving this ideal of love. What does this have to do with marriage and family? Well, unlike the Holy Trinity, human persons are not perfect in their relationality. We must continually cultivate virtue, good moral habits, to fully realize this ideal of love.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
For Communion Growing up Protestant, sacraments seemed fairly irrelevant to me. It was not until I turned fifteen that I decided to get baptized because I knew that if I accepted the terms of what baptism meant, by Protestant standards, then I needed to truly accept Christ and all that it meant to follow him. As a Methodist, I always wanted to be... Read more
Viaticum: Sacred Food for the Final Journey
By Fr. Tyron Tomson
We never know which Holy Communion might be our last. We make a big deal of our First Communion, and rightly so. But why don’t we have a strong catechesis and spirituality of Viaticum, that final time we receive the Body of Christ before our soul leaves our own body to meet him? As a Church, perhaps we are missing a robust eucharistic spirituality... Read more
From the Shepherds – A Half Century of Progress: The Church’s Ministry of Catechesis, Part Three
By Monsignor John Pollard
The General Catechetical Directory (1971) – Catechesi Tradendae (1979) In this series of articles exploring a rather extraordinary fifty-year period in the Church’s catechetical mission, we have already considered the impact of the six International Catechetical Study Weeks. We now turn our attention to three pivotal catechetical documents... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now