Sunday, February 19, 2017

The falcon's sole chance of hearing (and honing in on) the falconer

"In the exitus of creatures from the First Principle one observes a sort of circulatio or regiratio [(= regyratio < re-gyro, -avi, to turn about again, to wheel round)] from the fact that all things return as to their end, to that from which they issued as from their principle.  And this is why it is necessary to attend to this, that their return to their end [(reditus in finem)] is accomplished by the same causes as their departure from the principle [(exitus a principio)]. . . . [Now] the procession of [the divine] Persons is the ratio [(explicative reason and model)] of the production of creatures by the First Principle, [so] that same procession [of the divine Persons] is therefore also the ratio of the[ir] return to their end, for just as we were created by the Son and by the Holy Spirit, so it is by [the Son and the Holy Spirit] that we are united to our ultimate end", i.e. the Father.

     St. Thomas Aquinas, 1 Sent. d.14 q.2 a.2 co., as translated into French by Jean-Pierre Torrell, "Thomas d’Aquin," Dictionnaire de spiritualité 15 (1991), col. 751 (718-773).  The original Latin as reproduced at Corpus Thomisticum:
in exitu creaturarum a primo principio attenditur quaedam circulatio vel regiratio, eo quod omnia revertuntur sicut in finem in id a quo sicut a principio prodierunt. Et ideo oportet ut per eadem quibus est exitus a principio, et reditus in finem attendatur. Sicut igitur dictum est, dist. 13, quaest. 1, art. 1, quod processio personarum est ratio productionis creaturarum a primo principio, ita etiam est eadem processio ratio redeundi in finem, quia per filium et spiritum sanctum sicut et conditi sumus, ita etiam et fini ultimo conjungimur. . . .

"some notions are so fatuous that only intellectuals could possibly believe them."

     Kyle Smith, "Immoral acts," The new criterion 35, no. 6 (February 2017):  41 (40-43).  Smith is referring to Bertrand Russell, whose commitment to open marriage took a serious (if only passing) hit "as he began to discover the strength of [his second wife Dora's] affair with a writer named Roy Randall.  Although Russell himself was having an affair with his children's Swiss governess, Alice Stücki, he suggested a truce and begged for mutual fidelity:  'It was all a folly,' Russell [(who, after a string of affairs with women in addition to Alice, had "bec[o]me impotent with Dora")] wrote.  'And here we are landed each with a lover, & no possibility of happiness till that state of affairs is over. . . . I should be infinitely happy if we could get back to having only each other."  Prior to Alice, Russell had enjoyed a long string of affairs with other women, too, and, as a consequence, had "bec[o]me impotent with Dora."  If memory serves, his first wife Alys Pearsall Smith suffered from his infidelities as well.  Nor did Russell ever "learn his lesson".  Indeed, he "continued to treat marriage with . . . boulevardier superficiality" (42).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth."

     St. Thérèse of Lisieux, as quoted at CCC 956n495, which cites The final conversations, trans. John Clarke (Washington, DC:  ICS, 1977), 102.  This appears (not in the critical edition but) on the Carmel de Lisieux website, under the Derniers entretiens (where it is dated to 17 July 1897), as follows:
Si le bon Dieu exauce mes désirs, mon Ciel se passera sur la terre jusqu’à la fin du monde. Oui, je veux passer mon Ciel à faire du bien sur la terre. Ce n’est pas impossible, puisqu’au sein même de la vision béatifique, les Anges veillent sur nous.

"who alone . . . dwells in unapproachable light"

"Thomas says again and again that everything proceeds from [the First Person], and that to [the First Person] everything returns; that the entire Trinity is present as much in the creation as in the inhabitation; but [that] the 'less direct and more secret' presence of the Father seems to be attainable only through his intermediaries, his Word and his Spirit (Émile Bailleux, La création, oeuvre de la Trinité selon saint Thomas (1962), p. 48-49).
     "Thomas never speaks, as he did for the Son and the Spirit, of an experimental perception of the presence of the Father.  He says, rather, that the Father himself se liberaliter communicat creaturae ad fruendum [(communicates himself liberally for the enjoyment of the creature)] (Ia q.43 a.4 ad 1), and draws upon Augustine in order to assure [us] that [the Father] is known by us in the same manner as the Son and the Spirit.  From this one can therefore legitimately conclude that if he 'gives himself', this is in order to be 'possessed'.  Yet one cannot identify a gift appropriated [to the Father]—to match the [gift of] wisdom [appropriated] to [(pour)] the Son or the [gift of] love [appropriated] to [(pour)] the Spirit—from which that experimental knowledge [of the Father] would be derived, and one falls back on 'a sort of conjoint perception of the Father with the Son or with the Spirit' (Albert Patfoort, "Missions divines et expérience des personnes divines selon saint Thomas," Angelicum 63 (1986):  552n15)."

     Jean-Pierre Torrell, “Thomas d’Aquin,” Dictionnaire de spiritualité 15 (1991), col. 755 (718-773).

Friday, February 17, 2017

"God is equally and indissolubly, without shadow of turning or contradiction, the God of mercy and of justice, of goodness and of judgment, of love and of holiness."

"But they dream up a god who in actuality does not exist, as being above this God; thus they think they have found a great god whom no one can know, because he does not have fellowship with the human race and does not administer earthly affairs [(nec terrena administrantem)].  The Epicureans, for example, invented a god who bestows nothing on them or any others, that is, who takes care of no one [(id est, nullius providentiam habentem)].
     "[25.1] God, however, does exercise providence over all things.  Consequently, He also gives counsel, and by giving counsel He assists those who have a care for morals.  It is necessary, therefore, that those who are provided for and governed should recognize their director, since they are not irrational or purposeless, but have received an understanding from God's providence [(Providentiam autem habet Deus omnium, propter hoc et consilium dat:  consilium autem dans adest his, qui morum providentiam habent.  Necesse est igitur ea quæ providentur et gubernantur, cognoscere suum directorem:  quæ quidem non sunt irrationalia, neque vana, sed habent sensibilitatem perceptam de providentia Dei)]. . . .
     "[2.] Again, in order that they might take away from the Father the power of reproving and of judging [(increpavitum . . . et judiciale)], thinking that it is unworthy of God, and believing that they have found a god who is good and free from anger, they asserted that one god judges and the other saves.  But they are unaware that thus they deprive [God] both of intelligence and justice.  To be sure, if the god with judicial [(judicialis)] power is not also good, . . . he will appear to be neither a just nor a wise judge.  On the other hand, the good god, if he is only that and not also one who puts to the test those on whom he lavishes his goodness, will be without justice and goodness; and his goodness will appear powerless when he does not save all, if this is not done with judgment [(cum judicio)]. . . .
     "[4.] The God, then, who kindly makes His sun rise on all . . . , and sends rain on the just and the unjust, will judge those who have received an equitable share of His kindness yet have not led lives in keeping with the dignity of His gift, but have spent their time in pleasures and luxury in spite of His benevolence. . . ."

     St. Irenaeus, Against the heresies III.24.2-25.4, trans. Dominic J. Unger, ACW 64 (New York:  The Newman Press, 2012), 111-113, boldface mine.  Latin from the 1857 edition ed. Harvey (where it is chaps. 38 ff.), not yet SC.  I was put onto this by Douglas B. Farrow, "Discernment of situation:  we must not forget the sacramental nature of the Church," First things no. 271 (March 2017):  41 (39-43):  "This unprincipled accompaniment forgets divine justice in its rush to divine mercy.  It forgets that God himself, 'when giving counsel, is present with those who attend to moral discipline' rather than with those who ignore it. . . ."  From pp. 42-43, italics mine:
     The regionalism that we are currently witnessing in the West, under the rubric of 'discernment of situations,' is the result of a failure to discern both the nature of the sacraments and the situation of the Church.  The old gods, sex, mammon, and death, are reviving and reasserting themselves as the gods of autonomy.  They are beginning to press their hands on the faithless and the faithful alike.  They are groping even for the holy sacraments, that they might defile them.  In this situation, do we really need more talk about the internal forum and 'the sacred ground of the other'? 
     Surely what we need to hear is that God himself, and God alone, is the source of our sanctity.  We need to hear that God is equally and indissolubly, without shadow of turning or contradiction, the God of mercy and of justice, of goodness and of judgment, of love and of holiness.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Father love

     "Oh, fuck me, Dad.  Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me.  You're such a great person, so blindly altruistic and beguiling, and look at the trouble you're in now."

     Rinker Buck, The Oregon trail:  a new American journey (New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2015), 359.  A beautiful passage.  See pp. 356-360.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Not assumed, not healed/saved

Τὸ γὰρ ἀπρόσληπτον, ἀθεράπευτον·  ὃ δὲ ἥνωται τῷ Θεῷ, τοῦτο καὶ σώζεται.

Nam quod assumptum non est, curationis est expers:  quod autem Deo unitum est, hoc quoque salute consequitur.

     St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Ep. 101 (Ep. 1 to Cleodonius) 32/5.  SC 208, p. 50/PG 37, cols. 181C-183A.