The Man Fully Alive: Alvaro de Vicente on our Vision

This week on HeightsCast, we feature a recording of the 2022 Headmaster’s Lecture on the man fully alive. In this lecture, Mr. Alvaro de Vicente helps us understand what we mean when we use St. Irenaeus’ oft-quoted though seldom understood words that gloria Dei est vivens homo: the glory of God is living man.

Mr. de Vicente shares his thoughts on the destination and the road ahead, suggesting that to live fully on earth we must understand that the fullness of life is found only in heaven. And if we are to reach this destination which is our destiny, we should see this life as practice for the next.

In particular, he offers three actions that are the best practice for heaven:

  1. To play
  2. To see
  3. To commit

Taking us through each of these, Mr. de Vicente helps us to approach life in a playful way, taking ourselves lightly and others seriously; to discover the beauty of the world, contemplating with loving eyes and a grateful heart; and to commit fully, passionately persevering in our love for others. Our boys will not live these ideals perfectly—we will not live them perfectly—but if together we begin and begin again often, we will be well on the way; and that will be a taste of heaven.


  • 2:43 Origins of the tagline “Men fully alive”
  • 4:01 Man fully alive: what does this mean?
    • 4:14 Common notions
    • 5:18 Man as the masterpiece of God
    • 7:56 What is man?
    • 9:01 Crisis of masculinity: either brutes or wimps
  • 9:45 Life on earth as a preparation for heaven
    • 11:07 What is heaven?
    • 12:36 Practice for heaven
    • 13:16 A man with a mission
  • 16:31 To play
    • 16:33 Physical play
    • 19:06 Approaching life in a playful way
    • 22:31 A game with two halves
  • 26:09 To see
    • 27:56 Blindness as an illness of the soul
    • 29:36 The Little Prince and our inability to see beauty
    • 30:54 When the truth complicates my life
    • 32:48 Who you are and what you are here for
    • 33:32 On contemplation
      • 34:36 Finding beauty
      • 36:47 Life as a museum
      • 37:21 Seeing with the mind’s eye
      • 39:41 Seeing with the heart
  • 41:33 To commit
    • 42:11 The man in a wheelchair
    • 43:40 Closing doors
    • 45:20 On the passions
    • 48:01 Commitment is different from a self-help book
    • 48:41 Screwtape on love and marriage
    • 51:58 Faithfulness over time is the name of love (Benedict XVI)
    • 52:41 The danger of overcommitting
  • 54:26 Conclusion

Also on The Forum

Foundations of Hope: Raising Optimistic Men Fully Alive with Alvaro de Vicente

The Education of “Men Fully Alive”: The Mission and Vision of The Heights with Alvaro de Vicente

Who Am I?: The Question of Persona with Alvaro de Vicente

Our Little Protectors: How Do WE See Our Boys? with Alvaro de Vicente

Forming Wise, Courageous Risk-Takers with Alvaro de Vicente

In Defense of Victory by Kyle Blackmer

Additional Resources

Against Heresies by St. Irenaeus

Alvaro de Vicente

About the guest:

Alvaro de Vicente

Alvaro de Vicente has served as Headmaster of The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland since July 2002. Originally from Santander, Spain, Alvaro received some of his secondary education at The Heights and graduated from there in 1983. In 1987 he graduated cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Philosophy and received his J.D. from Georgetown University School of Law in 1991. As Executive Director of the Tenley Study Center from 1989 to 2002, he organized and managed supplemental development programs to several hundred students and professionals per year. Several of the Center’s programs were replicated and became standard programs for other supplemental education centers in the United States and abroad. While employed full-time by the Tenley Study Center, Mr. de Vicente offered his services on a part-time basis to The Heights School. Between 1992 and 2002, Mr. de Vicente assisted the School in various positions; coaching, establishing and running its college counseling office, school administrator overseeing contracts with vendors, and student advisor. From 1995 to 2001, Mr. de Vicente served on The Heights School’s Board of Directors, the last four years as its vice-president. In addition, Mr. de Vicente also serves on the Board of Trustees of two other educational groups; the Youth Leadership Foundation and the Texas Education Works. In his capacity as Headmaster of The Heights School he spearheaded and supervised the construction of the School’s signature building. But Mr. de Vicente’s most important work is in the classroom where he teaches Catholic Apologetics and in mentoring students daily.

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