Each of these treatises was originally published as a separate work over a period of thirty-seven years, and here they are brought together in English for the first time. The first of the three that he wrote, On Hope, was written in in response to the general feeling of despair of those times. His "philosophical treatise" on Faith was derived from a series of lectures he gave in the late s and early PDF s. His most difficult work, one that he struggled with for years - and almost abandoned - was his work On Love. Pieper now feels that this is the most important book he has written. He discusses not only the theological virtue of caritas-agape, but also of eros, sexuality, and even "love" of music and wine.
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Reproduced here with kind permission. Since Leanne has been speaking about virtue, one of the principal virtues that I think all of us need to take away with us from this conference is hope. There is another work by Pieper that deals with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. I just want to say a brief word about the concept of hope. In the evangelical faith within which many of us were raised, hope was not something we were taught much about.
Hope seemed to be an expectation of something that would occur in the distant future, in eschatological time - at the end of time, when we are in heaven, in the eternal state.
At that point we would all eventually be "healed," but there was not a sense that this life is about a journey toward wholeness, a progress in becoming. Pieper in his book On Hope defines life as possessing an incomplete quality, a state of being "on the way.
Therefore I make every effort to pursue what it is that God has called me to. Pieper identifies two dangers, two potential enemies of hope. Both will destroy hope by eliminating the quality of being "on the way. What he means by anticipation is not an expectancy of, or looking forward to, nonfulfillment, but anticipation in the sense of a premature conclusion.
Pieper defines this as "despair" - an anticipation of nonfulfillment made at the level of the will. It is not simply a matter of our feelings, but it is rather a decision that we have made, perhaps unconsciously, but nevertheless one for which we must take responsibility.
It frequently sounds something like this: "It does not matter what I do. Nothing I attempt will ever succeed; nothing will ever change. It is moreover very tempting for people who have suffered a great deal to believe that the circumstances of life have so conspired against them that they simply must acquiesce in the evil that has come against them.
The virtue that accompanies that hope within you is magnanimity, the capacity and the aspiration of the soul to great things. Therefore, I can sit back in passivity. So presumption and despair are the two enemies that destroy hope. Part of what anchors us to both the limitations and the greatness of our calling is the virtue of humility.
Magnanimity teaches us that we are called to greatness, and that we must not settle for less than what God has named and called us to. Humility and magnanimity are thus the twin virtues that accompany and support hope. Despair and presumption are the two enemies that destroy it.
When you see these sins in your soul, the repentance does not necessarily need to be one in which you fall weeping to the floor. It can be very simply a turning of your mental perspective and of your will to understand the right ordering of the way God has made you to live in this life. One of the things I had to repent of was a despair that I took in very early on - probably even in the womb - that somehow I was not going to be able to become the man that God had made and called me to be.
When I realized that I needed to repent, I saw that despair coming out of me like a black cord that had wound itself around my heart. As I gave it to the Lord, I made a decision to change my thinking in one very important area: the belief that the circumstances of my life were intended to crush me, and therefore I had a right to be bitter and complaining and bitchy.
And when I realized that God had allowed difficulties in my life, not for the purpose of crushing me, but for the purpose of giving me the chance to become a person of character, then I chose to embrace that reality as the avenue to virtue.
So as you come to the prayer for healing of memories, the Lord may put His finger on despair or presumption in your soul. Give that to Him, and you will find a renewed power for change released in your life. After the book: Josef Pieper with Victoria H. Lane - illustrator, Mary F. Lynch, Daniel F.
Faith, Hope, Love
Shelves: spiritual-reading A brilliant philosophical book that is profoundly insightful and needs careful reading. My favourite section was on hope, although I was extremely impressed with the section on love. It was so deeply rooted in the theology of the body it was amazing - and I am assuming he wrote this long before St John Paul II started giving the Wednesday audiences on it back in Oct 07, Kevin Wojciechowski rated it really liked it Joy. Where does it come from? How is it to be explained?
ISBN 13: 9780898706239
Faith, Hope, Love