World-Renowned Philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft Featured at Evening of Reflection
This week, Jesuit High School was blessed to host world-renowned Catholic philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft. Having published around 100 books and having delivered countless lectures around the globe, Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and has been a major force in the world of Catholic apologetics for decades.
During the school day, Kreeft spoke to over three hundred students on the mystery of suffering, focusing on how to respond to claims that the existence of evil and suffering disprove the existence of a good and loving God. He inspired Blue Jays with his intellectual clarity and wisdom peppered by his wit and approachable speaking style.
In several sessions throughout the day, Kreeft reported particularly enjoying the question-and-answer-style sessions with students, noting their intellectual curiosity and the depth of their questions. One student asked about the role that humor plays in our conception of God and in our Christian life. Kreeft responded without missing a beat by pointing out that if anyone doubts that our God has a sense of humor, “just look at an ostrich… or even in a mirror,” eliciting laughter from himself and the crowd.
Kreeft paused and said, “but God loves us all the same. Humor draws us out of ourselves and keeps us humble.”
Another student inquired, “If God is fully perfect in Himself, why did He have to create us?”
“He didn’t,” Kreeft responded after a moment of reflection. “Why did J.R.R. Tolkien have to write The Lord of the Rings? He didn’t have to. He did it because it’s beautiful. God thinks you’re beautiful.”
In the evening session, Kreeft spoke to over four hundred parents, alumni, and guests on how to raise saints in the digital age. His talk centered upon the need for Christians and Christian families to focus on becoming saints and to fight against feeling overwhelmed in the face of seemingly insurmountable or hostile cultural forces. He reminded listeners not to underestimate the value and power that personal conversion and living out the Gospel with conviction can bring to a family, city, or culture.
Arguing that it is the joy of holiness and sanctity that will win over hearts for Christ, Kreeft asked rhetorically, “When will the reformation in the Church end?”
Answering his own question, he responded, “When Catholics becomes saints.”
He emphasized that the Roman empire was not won over by perfectly crafted arguments, but by martyrs and saints who witnessed to their love of God by their lives. Kreeft challenged the community to keep holiness at the heart of their life and let that holiness be a means for cultural transformation. At the end of his talk, Kreeft joined those in attendance for refreshments to continue to conversation in a more casual setting.
Kreeft’s lecture was part of Jesuit’s quarterly Evening of Reflection series. These lectures are hosted as part of Jesuit’s commitment to the spiritual and intellectual enrichment of both its students and the larger Jesuit and New Orleans community.
Kreeft’s visit was made possible through the generosity of our benefactors, who share our passion for intellectual and spiritual depth that is centered on renewal that is grounded in Christ. Kreeft was a witness to what Jesuit hopes its boys and alumni can embody: excellence in one’s field of work and using that excellence to spread Christian virtue in our culture.
A complete video of Kreeft’s evening lecture will be available here.