I just finished re-reading Leon Kass’s splendid essay, “L’Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?“
I was reminded of that 2001 piece when I read this interview published yesterday about Archbishop Emeritus Charles Chaput’s new book Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living.
Leon Kass begins his piece by exploring the primacy of life in Judaism and our wider culture’s interest in prolonging life and forestalling death.
Then, he raises some questions:
Today I am remembering Fr. James V. Schall – Jesuit priest, longtime professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University, and the author of more than thirty books. He died around this time two years ago.
I had heard that he had given a Last Lecture at Georgetown entitled “The Final Gladness,” but I only listened to it for my first time this evening.
Here is the video of the lecture and below are some highlights in summary as well as some brief thoughts on the value of a last lecture.
This morning a friend of mine and I entered a Starbucks drive-thru. As my friend rolled down the window, we felt a cool morning gust. A young woman’s voice came from the speaker saying, with what may have been the greatest excitement I have heard from anyone throughout the entirety of the pandemic, “Welcome to Starbucks! What can I get for you this morning?”
My friend and I glanced at each other. The woman had sounded completely genuine. It wasn’t a phoney greeting. Yet, the enthusiasm startled us.
“You’re really happy,” my friend acknowledged.