" In light of Ignatius' 'Two Standards' and 'The Mystries Done From The Garden To The House Of Annas', at any moment we can be Judas or Peter, a Christian life can be a fine line."
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I Quickly Switched From Johns Hopkins To Fordham
Dr. Rhonda Chevrin
The guests were Dietrich Von Hildebrand and Alice Jourdain, soon to become Von Hildebrand. They were talking about truth and love. Spontaneously I wrote a letter to them c/o of the station telling them of my unsuccessful search for truth. It turned out they both live on the West Side of NYC: Alice 2 blocks from me and Dietrich 10 blocks from me. Alice invited me for a visit. Her roommate, Madeleine (later to become the wife of Lyman Stebbins founder of Catholics United for the Faith) met me at the door and ushered me into a small room. There was this very European looking woman (she came from Belgium during World War II) who looked at me with such intense interest I was immediately drawn into her heart. She suggested I sit in on classes of Dietrich Von Hildebrand and Balduin Schwarz, his disciple, at Fordham University. Balduin's son, Stephen, a philosophy graduate student, now a philosophy professor and pro-life apologist, could bring me up to the Bronx and show me around. I sat in on a few classes. What impressed me most was not the ideas of these Catholic philosophers which I didn't understand very well, but their personal vitality and joy. The skepticism, relativism, and historicism, that characterized most secular universities at that time left many of the professors sad and dessicated. Drawn to this joy, as well as the loving friendliness with which everyone in this circle of Catholics moved out to greet a newcomer, I quickly switched from Johns Hopkins to Fordham to continue my studies. That the wife of Balduin Schwarz was a Jewish woman converted from an atheistic background certainly also made my entry into this new phase of my life easier. After a few months at Fordham, I could not help but wonder how come the brilliant lay Catholics and the brilliant Jesuits in the philosophy department could believe those ideas such as the existence of God, the divinity of Christ, the reality of objective truth, moral absolutes, and the need for Church-going. Obviously it was not only stupid and weak people who thought this way. What is more they could prove that the mind could know truth and that there were universal ethical truths in a few sentences.
I am not a Jesuit, nor am I a cleric. I spent about 5 years under the spiritual direction of a Jesuit, 3 of those years in a weekly directed retreat in everyday life. The profound impact that the Society and the Excercises had upon my life, resulted in me, trying to deal with that impact in some way by sharing my view of Jesus Christ with others. My intention is to pull together Jesuitical and Catholic subjects that interest me. I was born on the feast day of St. Paul Miki, S.J.. I am the father of three small children and an infant, I am married to a great wife.