Love and the Meaning of Life
Total classes: 13
Duration: 55 minutes
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1 full semester Literature, Theology, or Philosophy
Instructor: Kevin O’Brien
Course description: We know as Catholics that “God is love”. We also know that it is our obligation to love God and to love our neighbors. We know that love - especially the sacrificial love of Christ on the cross - is central to the meaning of life. But what is love? Is it an emotion, an action? How do romance and marriage fit into love? How does love determine our identities - who we are - and our vocations - what we are called to? Is there a connection between love and war, between love and desire, even between love and death? We will approach these questions - all of which are central questions to our lives as Christians - through great works of literature and philosophy, including Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical on love, Deus Caritas Est, selections from Socrates’ reflection on love, The Symposium, selections from great poems and stories of love, the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Surprise by G.K. Chesterton, and notions of love in psychology and the popular culture.
Course materials: Most material will be provided free as PDFs by the Instructor; in addition, students should purchase The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis (www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0156329301/catholictreas-20), and should read Wuthering Heights (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/768/768-h/768-h.htm) before the book is discussed in class.
Homework: Plan on about four hours of study time per week. In addition, expect short quizzes and frequent essay questions. Grading guidelines provided; Instructor Access available.