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Part I: The Lessons

1) Ch.1 Love
a) Ordinary Stories
i) The beginning of the chapter begins with Keenan telling the story of his brother
Bobby. Bobby died at the age of 26. Keenan and Bobby grew up close. They shared
a birth day. Bobby’s Feb. 10 & Keenan’s Feb. 15.
(1) Bobby’s death taught his family many lessons.
(a) One was the importance of declaring our love for one another.
(b) The family now say “I love you” instead of “goodbye” when ending phone
ii) On September 11, was when we were exposed to the extraordinary accounts of the
major concerns that people want to express when they suddenly w/o any
preparations, faced immediate, unexpected death.
(1) Aristotle taught us that the unexpected reveals the true person.
(a) Meaning: w/o the opportunity to think ahead, a surprise catches us off guard
and our true instincts emerge.
(b) People were calling love one’s to tell them “I love you.”
iii) The Human spirit clearly feels how incomplete it is that it moves towards union with
i) Keenan Loves the word union. He felt union with Booby. Also people on 9/11 felt
when they were reaching out to their love ones.
ii) Thomas Aquinas
(1) Used union to talk about charity.
(a) By charity, we are in union w/ God, neighbor, & self (Summa Theologiae
iii) Union
(1) is what we feel when we love.
(2) is the desire to deepen union with another
(3) a very deeply felt, passionate, emotionally invested, human meaning
(4) what we seek
iv) Love- the search for union- was the more apparent concern than hatred for those
who did this, than fear of what was about to happen.
v) The call of union, the experience of wanting to be together is deeply instinctive &
vi) When theologians talk about love it loses it visceral sense.
(1) Visceral sense: felt “deep down.”
vii) Marcella Clarke
(1) Keenan was flying on a flight that had very bad turbulence. Felt like they were on
a rollercoaster. They held hands b/c she realized that they needed to hold onto
one another.
(2) She is Tom Clarke, a Jesuit, cousin.
c) Starting W/ Love
i) Keenan taught an introductory course on moral theology for 29 years.
(1) Recently learned to begin teaching his course on the topic of love.
ii) Love
(1) Philosophers called love “formal.”
(2) God loves us; we love God
(a) Called to morality as a response to that love
(b) It was a principle to Love God.
(c) How do I love God?
(i) Follow God’s Law
(3) Keenan’s foundation for his life and ethical vision is Love.
iii) Morality
(1) Freedom
(a) Used to begin the course about freedom
(b) A freedom for God, church, & neighbor
(c) Josef Fuchs
(i) Said the beginning of all morality depends on personal freedom or basic
freedom, a freedom in grace to realize the call of Christ.
(ii) Keenan’s mentor
(d) Moral theologians realized freedom was the foundation for being moral.
(e) Freedom was not doing whatever we wanted to do.
(i) Freedom was what we needed to follow Christ.
1. w/o grace of freedom, we could not pick up our cross and follow him.
(2) Truth
(a) Pop John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger began their writings on
morality with truth.
(i) Need to bas all ethics on truth
(3) Freedom- look more at the person
(4) Truth- look more at moral objectivity.
iv) Cardinal Ratzinger
(1) Became Pope Benedict XVI
(2) Wanted his teachings to start on love
(3) Promoted his Encyclical Deus Critas Est ( God is Love) on Dec. 25, 2005
(4) First paragraph summaries making his encyclical on love his first one
(a) “ In a world where the name of God is sometime associates with vengeance
or even duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and
significant. For this reason, I wish in my first encyclical to speak of love which
God lavishes upon us and which we in turn share with others.”
v) Thesis: I believe we need to start with the primacy of love and specifically the love
of God.
vi) Why start w/ Love?
(1) The scriptures, theology and the tradition rooted in human experience
(2) 3 Reasons:
(a) The scriptures command it.
(i) Jesus taught the two greatest commandments are to love god & the
neighbor as oneself.
(ii) Ten Commandments
1. Recognized the love and honor for god as the 1st commandment of
a. 1st commandment makes our dependency on God the very
foundation of our happiness
(b) The love of God precedes whatever else we discuss in theology, whether we
speak temporally or metaphysically.
(i) Love is how we understand God, for God is love
(ii) Karl Rahner (1904-1984)
1. German Jesuit theologian
2. Tells us that because god is love, god is triune, for God needs to be in
God’s self more than one person in order to be loved, for the lover
needs to be loved.”
(iii) Love is our understanding of
1. God
2. Creation
3. Redemption
4. Sanctification
5. Eschatological promise
(iv) The study of God, then love is the beginning and end of theology for
God is Love.
(v) 1st Letter of John
1. And God has given us this command: Whoever loves God must love
their brother and sister.
(c) Human experience confirms that, unlike freedom or the truth; love drives,
animates and moves