About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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A second class of tunes—which can also be said with certainty to fall under the profane—are those which are written in the style of secular songs and which, if heard without the words, would be recognized only as such. In these, as a rule, the devotional gives way to the sentimental, cheerfulness to levity and oftentimes vulgarity, while not even an attempt is made to give a serious or dignified musical expression to the sentiments embodied in the words of the hymn. Not the least objectionable feature of some of these tunes is a jingling piano accompaniment quite unsuited to the church organ.
— Preface to a Roman Catholic Hymnal (1896)

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published 11 August 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

My godfather, Balduin Schwarz, spent the last decades of his life working on an analysis of the meaning of gratitude. He was a philosophy professor who fled Germany because of the Nazi regime, taught for years at Fordham University in New York City, and then became the Chairperson of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Salzburg.

When I met him in 1959 while I was studying at Fordham it was a given that young people like me would complain bitterly about the shallow values of people in the USA in contrast to the depth of European thought, music, art. He would respond by expressing his undying gratitude for this country of freedom where he had found asylum during the time of the evil regimes of Nazism and Communism, results of a culture that had largely lost the foundations of perennial truth and Christian faith.

As he worked on his book on gratitude, Balduin Schwarz was greatly impressed by the fact that a foundation in Dallas, Texas had constructed in a big mall something called Thanksgiving Square where busy shoppers could stop and express gratitude to God in a chapel.

Schwarz’s main theme was that the gifts of God and from others are not really opened until we are grateful because it adds immeasurably to our joy to know that the good things are gifts of love for us from God and others. Here are some quotations from the manuscript of his book that I use when I teach gratitude in my courses in Philosophy of the Human Person:

From Balduin Schwarz on Gratitude:

“Wonder… opens up our dialogue with reality; or rather, takes it up and continues it, since reality has already spoken the first word in addressing us as persons… There comes then into being a dialogue between that which ‘speaks to us’ and our soul which receives it. For this to take place, we must open ourselves inwardly to what is given to us, cooperate with it, ‘go along with it,’ bring it to completion in ourselves, work together with it.’’

‘Humility is truth. It is metaphysical truth. I affirm myself as a created self.’

“Atheism doesn’t only intellectually deny the existence of God but lives as if God didn’t exist. At the root of atheism is despair: an antithesis to gratitude’

‘Through gratitude, I hold onto the gifts I have received. I remain awake to them. Gratitude is a form of remembering. Gratitude is the way the heart remembers’.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda by visiting RONDAVIEW. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.