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Katie van Schaijik

Tenderness and gallantry

Jul. 22 at 10:27am

Alice von Hildebrand is with us for the summer, as usual. She is busy putting the finishing touches on the story of her years of teaching at Hunter City College of New York, soon to be published under the title, Memoirs of a Happy Failure. The manuscript includes several photographs. One in particular stood out.

It's not just that I haven't seen many pictures of her and her husband together; it's that the gesture is so exceptionally eloquent and moving.

A few days after I noticed this, she fowarded to me a copy of the conversion story of one of her former students, Stephanie Block.* Here is part of it.

One semester turned into another and fascinated, I took every course Alice Jourdain

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Devra Torres

Giving Joy a Bad Name

Jan. 6 at 9:34pm

Joy is no simple thing, it turns out.  Pope Francis invites us to experience the “Joy of the Gospel” and immediately the misconceptions spring up like—let’s see--like bundled-up children on a snow day in Michigan.

Here are two misreadings I’ve run into:

  • All this emphasis on joy betrays the sort of sentimental affective relativism I thought we'd left behind in the ‘70s--a call to scrap all concern for moral demands and “follow your heart.”

  • All this encouragement to experience joy amounts to compulsory cheeriness: it places suffering or depressed people under suspicion of spiritual inferiority for failure to keep up appearances. And it places everyone else under the obligation to mimic
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Devra Torres

Beyond God as Errand Boy

May. 26, 2013, at 9:37am

I’m reading a new book by Fr. Michel Esparza (author of Self-Esteem without Selfishness).  The title translates as “In Tune with Christ.”  

(Unfortunately, it’s not in English yet, but once I’m done with my current editing projects maybe I can start scheming to translate Sintonia. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Encountering Christ

and Pope Francis: Keys to his Thought, both from Scepter.) 

Fr. Michel has a way of zeroing in on the commonest misconceptions with the most far-reaching implications, and then clearing them up—or at least throwing brand-new light on the things we say we believe.

He did it with self-esteem and self-love, and he does it here with certain habits

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Katie van Schaijik

Celebrating two great lives

Oct. 12, 2012, at 12:57pm

October 12 is a big day for personalists of our stripe.  It is the birthday of both Edith Stein (1891) and Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889).

To mark the happy occasion, a characterically personalist passage from each:

In order to understand the nature of the heart, we must realize that in many respects the heart is more the real self of the person than his intellect or will.  

In the moral sphere it is the will which has the character of a last, valid word.  Here the voice of our free spiritual center counts above all.

We find the true self primarily in the will.  In many other domains, however, it is the heart which is the most intimate part of the person, the core, the real self, rather

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Katie van Schaijik

Von Hildebrand’s view of love

Apr. 19, 2012, at 10:52am

One of the students in my courtship class has just brought to my attention a great primer on von Hildebrand's philosophy of love, happiness and sexuality, by his long-time student, colleague, and friend, William Marra, who died in 1998.

Dr. Marra, who taught philosophy at Fordham University for more than 40 years, had a winning warmth and down-to-earth simplicity and humor that are lamentably rare in philosophy professors.

Here are three paragraphs from the article, to give a taste.  But do read the whole thing, which convey the von HIldebrandian essence in an especially lively and accessible way.

Scattered throughout von Hildebrands works are many references to the great errors that

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Katie van Schaijik

Liturgy and Personality

Nov. 14, 2011, at 11:46am

Since the Church in the English-speaking world is about to be renewed by the introduction of a new translation of the novis ordo, it seems a good moment to delve into Dietrich von Hildebrand's great classic Liturgy and Personality, which unfolds the unrealized depths and riches in the Liturgy, in the human personality, and in the mysterious relation between the two.

Accordingly, the first four sessions of our newly re-instituted First Friday Reading Circle gatherings for members will be dedicated to it.  If you'd like to participate either by coming to our home on December 2, or by reading along and listening to Jules' introduction to the text via podcast, be sure to become a member.

For

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Katie van Schaijik

121st birthday of Dietrich von Hildebrand, beautiful man

Oct. 12, 2010, at 5:17pm

From the biography at the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project website:

Born October 12, 1889 in Florence of German parents, Dietrich von Hildebrand was an original philosopher and religious writer, a brave anti-Nazi activist, an outspoken Christian witness, and a unique representative of Western culture - truly a great figure in twentieth century religious, political, intellectual, and cultural history…

Von Hildebrand studied philosophy under Edmund Husserl, who declared his dissertation to be a work of genius. He was profoundly influenced by his close friend, the brilliant German philosopher Max Scheler, who helped to pave the way for von Hildebrand’s conversion to Catholicism in

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Jules van Schaijik

The personalist significance of involuntary emotions

Sep. 17, 2010, at 2:29pm

In a recent post at Contentions, Jennifer Rubin opines that in an effort to regain his popularity, President Obama has decided to “show some emotional connection to the American people.”

What makes this mock-worthy, of course, and also somewhat sad, is the fact that emotions cannot simply be manipulated like that. They are not at the disposal of our will. We can decide to fake them, but not to feel them. And the problem for Obama is that the difference between the two is usually pretty obvious to the onlooker. (Though Rubin brings up the interesting case of Bill Clinton whose play-acting was so convincing that he might be described as a “real phony”.)

Rubin’s post nicely

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Katie van Schaijik

Von Hildebrand on gratitude

Nov. 25, 2009, at 12:49pm

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I offer our readers some philosophical wisdom from Dietrich von Hildebrand, taken from his beautiful essay on gratitude (which can be found in the Sophia Press reprint of his Art of Living.) Note especially the deeply personalistic elements—the close tie between the dignity of the person and the disposition of gratitude.

Gratitude is a specific response to God’s love manifested to us by His wonderful gifts. Gratitude includes our understanding, first of all, of the value of this good; second, of the objective good for me inherent in this gift; third, of the goodness of God in its inconceivably sacred beauty; and finally, that the goodness is intended for

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Katie van Schaijik

Remembering two great personalists

Oct. 12, 2009, at 8:26pm

October 12th is a sort of feast day for the Personalist Project, since it is the birthday of Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889) and Edith Stein (1891). They studied philosophy (a few years apart) under phenomenologists Adolf Reinach and Edmund Husserl; both were profoundly influenced by Max Scheler. They were converts to Catholicism (DvH from nominal Protestantism; ES from Judaism). Both dedicated themselves to resisting the evil of Naziism, intellectually, morally, and religiously.

Lacking time to do their contributions anything like justice, let me at least offer, in honor of the day, a glimpse of why the Personalist Project looks to them as two of our leading lights.

These

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