31 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED THIRTY SIXTH

A man’s character is formed by his habits, and his habits are formed by repeated actions. Human actions, though, proceed from the movement of the will, which is elicited by a judgment on the part of the intellect.

What is the intellect? What is the will? Both are powers of the human soul: the intellect is that power by which we know the essences of things, by which we apprehend reality and make judgments concerning things. The will is the appetitive power which follows upon the work of the intellect and orders the activities of the human person. An appetite is a power by which a creature moves itself to act through the apprehension of some good. If the appetite is purely sensible, then the mere sight or smell of the good in question will impel the creature to act. However, human desires are not purely sensible, but are moderated by a rational appetite: the will. The will is that power by which a person moves himself to act through the intellectual judgment of goodness in some potential state of things. Note, though, that the object of the will’s desire originates in the judgment of the intellect, so that a disordered intellect will lead the will astray, and a disordered will will tend to direct a person down progressively worse courses of action, leading to the development of bad habits and the destruction of character. These are the dangers of vice: the man who sins not only commits some injustice, but also damages his ability to return to the true path.

Now, taste is the quality of a man’s character which by which he is disposed to desire some things and reject others. In common usage we think of “taste” with respect to one’s preference for certain particular sensible delights over others. Perhaps I like bluegrass music, while my friend likes jazz or opera. Taste, however, is nothing more or less than the disposition of one’s will toward the good. The “tempering of taste” is a question in particular of the moderation of our appetites. Temperance is the virtue — widely neglected in all ages, but especially in our own — by which a man is able to see not only what is genuinely good in the things available to him, but desires to attain them in the right measure.

We often think of temperance with respect to the three chief sensible delights: food, drink and sex. Temperance is the disposition to enjoy each of these in its proper place, as determined by the divinely established order of nature and the judgments of a rightly formed reason. Properly speaking, though, temperance — and hence the tempering of taste — is much broader than the basic, necessary, regulation of our enjoyment of these three goods. It includes also the enjoyment of art and entertainment, the individual sense of humor, and the general pleasure or displeasure we find in virtuous activity and the proper ordering of things around us: our own lives, our possessions and pursuits, and our communities.

The neglect of temperance is a grave obstacle to the positive development of character. Without temperance the individual is caught up by every passing fancy and will be prone to overvalue lesser goods at the expense of his own fulfillment. But most visibly, the lack of temperance tends to prevent us from working out any long-term plans: the discipline and self-sacrificial attitude necessary to do great things cannot be present in an intemperate soul, leaving instead a trail of half-hearted attempts and ephemeral bursts of energy.

15 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED THIRTY FIFTH

Two lectures by a certain morals prof of mine on the beatitudes (taken metonymically for the evangelical life in general) and ways of understanding them in moral theology:

First Lecture

Second Lecture

12 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED THIRTY FOURTH

The Bet
by Anton Chekhov



It was a dark autumn night. The old banker was walking up and down his study and remembering how, fifteen years before, he had given a party one autumn evening. There had been many clever men there, and there had been interesting conversations. Among other things they had talked of capital punishment. The majority of the guests, among whom were many journalists and intellectual men, disapproved of the death penalty. They considered that form of punishment out of date, immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States. In the opinion of some of them the death penalty ought to be replaced everywhere by imprisonment for life. "I don't agree with you," said their host the banker. "I have not tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for life, but if one may judge a priori, the death penalty is more moral and more humane than imprisonment for life. Capital punishment kills a man at once, but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?"

"Both are equally immoral," observed one of the guests, "for they both have the same object - to take away life. The State is not God. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to."

Among the guests was a young lawyer, a young man of five-and-twenty. When he was asked his opinion, he said:

"The death sentence and the life sentence are equally immoral, but if I had to choose between the death penalty and imprisonment for life, I would certainly choose the second. To live anyhow is better than not at all."

A lively discussion arose. The banker, who was younger and more nervous in those days, was suddenly carried away by excitement; he struck the table with his fist and shouted at the young man:

"It's not true! I'll bet you two million you wouldn't stay in solitary confinement for five years."

"If you mean that in earnest," said the young man, "I'll take the bet, but I would stay not five but fifteen years."

"Fifteen? Done!" cried the banker. "Gentlemen, I stake two million!"

"Agreed! You stake your millions and I stake my freedom!" said the young man.

And this wild, senseless bet was carried out! The banker, spoilt and frivolous, with millions beyond his reckoning, was delighted at the bet. At supper he made fun of the young man, and said:

"Think better of it, young man, while there is still time. To me two million is a trifle, but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life. I say three or four, because you won't stay longer. Don't forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory. The thought that you have the right to step out in liberty at any moment will poison your whole existence in prison. I am sorry for you."

And now the banker, walking to and fro, remembered all this, and asked himself: "What was the object of that bet? What is the good of that man's losing fifteen years of his life and my throwing away two million? Can it prove that the death penalty is better or worse than imprisonment for life? No, no. It was all nonsensical and meaningless. On my part it was the caprice of a pampered man, and on his part simple greed for money ..."

Then he remembered what followed that evening. It was decided that the young man should spend the years of his captivity under the strictest supervision in one of the lodges in the banker's garden. It was agreed that for fifteen years he should not be free to cross the threshold of the lodge, to see human beings, to hear the human voice, or to receive letters and newspapers. He was allowed to have a musical instrument and books, and was allowed to write letters, to drink wine, and to smoke. By the terms of the agreement, the only relations he could have with the outer world were by a little window made purposely for that object. He might have anything he wanted - books, music, wine, and so on - in any quantity he desired by writing an order, but could only receive them through the window. The agreement provided for every detail and every trifle that would make his imprisonment strictly solitary, and bound the young man to stay there exactly fifteen years, beginning from twelve o'clock of November 14, 1870, and ending at twelve o'clock of November 14, 1885. The slightest attempt on his part to break the conditions, if only two minutes before the end, released the banker from the obligation to pay him the two million.

For the first year of his confinement, as far as one could judge from his brief notes, the prisoner suffered severely from loneliness and depression. The sounds of the piano could be heard continually day and night from his lodge. He refused wine and tobacco. Wine, he wrote, excites the desires, and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner; and besides, nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one. And tobacco spoilt the air of his room. In the first year the books he sent for were principally of a light character; novels with a complicated love plot, sensational and fantastic stories, and so on.

In the second year the piano was silent in the lodge, and the prisoner asked only for the classics. In the fifth year music was audible again, and the prisoner asked for wine. Those who watched him through the window said that all that year he spent doing nothing but eating and drinking and lying on his bed, frequently yawning and angrily talking to himself. He did not read books. Sometimes at night he would sit down to write; he would spend hours writing, and in the morning tear up all that he had written. More than once he could be heard crying.

In the second half of the sixth year the prisoner began zealously studying languages, philosophy, and history. He threw himself eagerly into these studies - so much so that the banker had enough to do to get him the books he ordered. In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured at his request. It was during this period that the banker received the following letter from his prisoner:

"My dear Jailer, I write you these lines in six languages. Show them to people who know the languages. Let them read them. If they find not one mistake I implore you to fire a shot in the garden. That shot will show me that my efforts have not been thrown away. The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages, but the same flame burns in them all. Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them!" The prisoner's desire was fulfilled. The banker ordered two shots to be fired in the garden.

Then after the tenth year, the prisoner sat immovably at the table and read nothing but the Gospel. It seemed strange to the banker that a man who in four years had mastered six hundred learned volumes should waste nearly a year over one thin book easy of comprehension. Theology and histories of religion followed the Gospels.

In the last two years of his confinement the prisoner read an immense quantity of books quite indiscriminately. At one time he was busy with the natural sciences, then he would ask for Byron or Shakespeare. There were notes in which he demanded at the same time books on chemistry, and a manual of medicine, and a novel, and some treatise on philosophy or theology. His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship, and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another.


The old banker remembered all this, and thought:

"To-morrow at twelve o'clock he will regain his freedom. By our agreement I ought to pay him two million. If I do pay him, it is all over with me: I shall be utterly ruined."

Fifteen years before, his millions had been beyond his reckoning; now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater, his debts or his assets. Desperate gambling on the Stock Exchange, wild speculation and the excitability whic h he could not get over even in advancing years, had by degrees led to the decline of his fortune and the proud, fearless, self-confident millionaire had become a banker of middling rank, trembling at every rise and fall in his investments. "Cursed bet!" muttered the old man, clutching his head in despair "Why didn't the man die? He is only forty now. He will take my last penny from me, he will marry, will enjoy life, will gamble on the Exchange; while I shall look at him with envy like a beggar, and hear from him every day the same sentence: 'I am indebted to you for the happiness of my life, let me help you!' No, it is too much! The one means of being saved from bankruptcy and disgrace is the death of that man!"

It struck three o'clock, the banker listened; everyone was asleep in the house and nothing could be heard outside but the rustling of the chilled trees. Trying to make no noise, he took from a fireproof safe the key of the door which had not been opened for fifteen years, put on his overcoat, and went out of the house.

It was dark and cold in the garden. Rain was falling. A damp cutting wind was racing about the garden, howling and giving the trees no rest. The banker strained his eyes, but could see neither the earth nor the white statues, nor the lodge, nor the trees. Going to the spot where the lodge stood, he twice called the watchman. No answer followed. Evidently the watchman had sought shelter from the weather, and was now asleep somewhere either in the kitchen or in the greenhouse.

"If I had the pluck to carry out my intention," thought the old man, "Suspicion would fall first upon the watchman."

He felt in the darkness for the steps and the door, and went into the entry of the lodge. Then he groped his way into a little passage and lighted a match. There was not a soul there. There was a bedstead with no bedding on it, and in the corner there was a dark cast-iron stove. The seals on the door leading to the prisoner's rooms were intact.

When the match went out the old man, trembling with emotion, peeped through the little window. A candle was burning dimly in the prisoner's room. He was sitting at the table. Nothing could be seen but his back, the hair on his head, and his hands. Open books were lying on the table, on the two easy-chairs, and on the carpet near the table.

Five minutes passed and the prisoner did not once stir. Fifteen years' imprisonment had taught him to sit still. The banker tapped at the window with his finger, and the prisoner made no movement whatever in response. Then the banker cautiously broke the seals off the door and put the key in the keyhole. The rusty lock gave a grating sound and the door creaked. The banker expected to hear at once footsteps and a cry of astonishment, but three minutes passed and it was as quiet as ever in the room. He made up his mind to go in.

At the table a man unlike ordinary people was sitting motionless. He was a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones, with long curls like a woman's and a shaggy beard. His face was yellow with an earthy tint in it, his cheeks were hollow, his back long and narrow, and the hand on which his shaggy head was propped was so thin and delicate that it was dreadful to look at it. His hair was already streaked with silver, and seeing his emaciated, aged-looking face, no one would have believed that he was only forty. He was asleep ... In front of his bowed head there lay on the table a sheet of paper on which there was something written in fine handwriting.

"Poor creature!" thought the banker, "he is asleep and most likely dreaming of the millions. And I have only to take this half-dead man, throw him on the bed, stifle him a little with the pillow, and the most conscientious expert would find no sign of a violent death. But let us first read what he has written here ... "

The banker took the page from the table and read as follows:

"To-morrow at twelve o'clock I regain my freedom and the right to associate with other men, but before I leave this room and see the sunshine, I think it necessary to say a few words to you. With a clear conscience I tell you, as before God, who beholds me, that I despise freedom and life and health, and all that in your books is called the good things of the world.

"For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women ... Beauties as ethereal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets and geniuses, have visited me at night, and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc, and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean, and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds' pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God ... In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religions, conquered whole kingdoms ...

"Your books have given me wisdom. All that the unresting thought of man has created in the ages is compressed into a small compass in my brain. I know that I am wiser than all of you.

"And I despise your books, I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage. You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor, and your posterity, your history, your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe.

"You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty. You would marvel if, owing to strange events of some sorts, frogs and lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit, or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse; so I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth. I don't want to understand you.

"To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed, and so break the compact ..."

When the banker had read this he laid the page on the table, kissed the strange man on the head, and went out of the lodge, weeping. At no other time, even when he had lost heavily on the Stock Exchange, had he felt so great a contempt for himself. When he got home he lay on his bed, but his tears and emotion kept him for hours from sleeping.

Next morning the watchmen ran in with pale faces, and told him they had seen the man who lived in the lodge climb out of the window into the garden, go to the gate, and disappear. The banker went at once with the servants to the lodge and made sure of the flight of his prisoner. To avoid arousing unnecessary talk, he took from the table the writing in which the millions were renounced, and when he got home locked it up in the fireproof safe.

TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THIRD

Generally worth seeing:
(there are a couple TV shows mixed in, but I'm not going to pick through the list):



 12 Angry Men 4
 30 Rock 4
 84 Charing Cross Road 5
 A Beautiful Mind 4
 A Man for All Seasons 5
 All About Eve 4
 All the President's Men 4
 Amelie 5
 American Beauty 4
 American Experience: Truman 4
 America's Test Kitchen 4
 Andrei Rublev 5
 Annie Hall 5
 Apocalypse Now 4
 Apocalypse Now Redux 5
 Apollo 13 4
 Au Revoir Les Enfants 4
 Away We Go 4
 Babette's Feast 5
 Band of Brothers 4
 Becket 4
 Bedknobs and Broomsticks 4
 Bigger, Stronger, Faster 4
 Breakfast at Tiffany's 4
 Caché 4
 Capote 4
 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 4
 Children of Men 4
 Chinatown 5
 Citizen Kane 4
 City of God 4
 College 4
 Commanding Heights 5
 Cries and Whispers 5
 Dead Man Walking 4
 Doctor Who 5
 Dr. Strangelove 4
 Erin Brockovich 5
 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 5
 Fantastic Mr. Fox 4
 Ferris Bueller's Day Off 4
 Finding Nemo (Full-screen) 4
 Finding Neverland 4
 Forrest Gump 5
 Full Metal Jacket 4
 Gandhi 5
 Gaslight 4
 Girl with a Pearl Earring 4
 Good Night, and Good Luck 4
 Good Will Hunting 5
 Goodbye, Mr. Chips 4
 Goodnight, Mister Tom 4
 Gosford Park 4
 Groundhog Day 5
 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 4
 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 4
 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 5
 Henry V 4
 High Noon 5
 Hotel Rwanda 4
 Howards End 4
 Ikiru 5
 Inception 4
 Independence Day 4
 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 4
 Interiors 4
 Into Great Silence 5
 I've Loved You So Long 5
 Jules and Jim 5
 Junebug 4
 Ken Burns: The Civil War 4
 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 4
 Kill Bill: Vol. 2 5
 Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance 4
 Kramer vs. Kramer 4
 La Strada: Special Edition 5
 Lawrence of Arabia 5
 Little Women 5
 Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring 4
 Lost in Translation 5
 LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended  4
 LOTR: Return of the King: Extended 5
 LOTR: The Return of the King 5
 LOTR: The Two Towers: Extended 4
 M 5
 Masterpiece Classic: Pride and Prejudice 5
 Megamind 4
 Michael Clayton 4
 Midnight in Paris 4
 My Bodyguard 4
 Network 4
 October Sky 5
 Orange County 4
 Ordinary People 4
 Panic Room 4
 Pan's Labyrinth 4
 Paris, Je T'aime 4
 Patton 4
 Persepolis 4
 Pi 4
 Pleasantville 5
 Ponyo 4
 Proof 4
 Rachel Getting Married 4
 Ratatouille 5
 Rear Window 4
 Rebecca 4
 Rocky 4
 Runaway Jury 4
 Scenes from a Marriage 5
 Schindler's List 4
 Seven Samurai 5
 Shadowlands 4
 Sherlock 4
 Signs 4
 Smiles of a Summer Night 5
 Solaris 5
 Spider-Man 4
 Spirited Away 5
 Spy Game 4
 Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace 4
 Star Wars: Episode III 5
 Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope 4
 Star Wars: Episode V: Empire Strikes Back 4
 Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 4
 Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 4
 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 4
 Terminator: Salvation 4
 The 39 Steps 5
 The 400 Blows 5
 The Bourne Identity 4
 The Conversation 5
 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 5
 The Godfather 4
 The Graduate 4
 The Hobbit 4
 The King's Speech 5
 The Last Days of Disco 4
 The Last Emperor 5
 The Lives of Others 5
 The Magic Flute 5
 The Matrix 5
 The Matrix: Reloaded 4
 The Mission: Special Edition 5
 The Navigator 4
 The Shawshank Redemption 5
 The Silence of the Lambs 4
 The Sixth Sense 4
 The Sound of Music 4
 The Testament of Dr. Mabuse 4
 The Thin Red Line 4
 The Third Man 5
 The Two of Us 4
 Titus 4
 To Sir, with Love 4
 Topsy-Turvy 4
 Toy Story 3 5
 True Grit 5
 Unbreakable 4
 Up 5
 Up in the Air 5
 Volver 4
 Whale Rider 4
 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 4
 Wild Strawberries 5
 Yi Yi 5

10 December 2011

09 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED THIRTY FIRST

The packages should be thoroughly seasoned, (of wood imparting no taste or odor to the bread,) and reasonably tight. The usual method now adopted is to pack 50 pounds net, in basswood boxes, (sides, top and bottom 1/2 inch, ends 5/8 of an inch,) and of dimensions corresponding with the cutters used, and strapped at each end with light iron or wood. The bread should be packed on its edge compactly, so as not to shake.

Bread thoroughly baked, kiln dried, and packed in spirit casks, will keep a long time but it is an expensive method. If bread contains weevils, or is mouldy, expose to the sun on paulins, and before re-packing it, rinse the barrel with whiskey.
Other Traditional Recipes
Army Hardtack Recipe

Ingredients:
4 cups flour (perferably whole wheat)
4 teaspoons salt
Water (about 2 cups)
Pre-heat oven to 375° F
Makes about 10 pieces

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add just enough water (less than two cups) so that the mixture will stick together, producing a dough that won’t stick to hands, rolling pin or pan. Mix the dough by hand. Roll the dough out, shaping it roughly into a rectangle. Cut into the dough into squares about 3 x 3 inches and ½ inch thick.

After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough. The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker. Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.

Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.

The fresh crackers are easily broken but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistentency of fired brick.

07 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED THIRTIETH

Still trying to get over that Enlightenment funk?  Is the Kantian rejection of metaphysics looming over you like chronic stomach problems?  Do you quiver alone at night thinking about Dei Filius and the knowability of God's existence from reason?

THEN CLICK HERE.

06 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY NINTH

The link between study and the apostolic aims of the [Dominican] Order was thus clear from the very beginning. The primitive constitutions state: "Our study must aim principally at this, that we might be useful to the souls of others." Blessed Jordan makes this point vividly when, in his encyclical letter of May 1233, he complains that brethren who are uninterested in study, "apart from neglecting their own benefit and depressing their teachers . . . deprive many people of a chance of salvation, when they could have helped them on their way to eternal life if only they had studied properly, instead of being careless about it." The Lives of the Brethren recount the story of a certain friar in the early days of the Order who, because he neglected study for the sake of long prayers and works of asceticism, was accused by the brethren "of making himself useless to the Order by not studying." With his usual clarity, Blessed Humbert of Romans, the fifth master general, sums it up nicely: "Study is not the purpose of the Order, but it is of the greatest necessity for the aims we have mentioned, namely, preaching and working for the salvation of souls, for without study we can achieve neither."

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHTH



Light-mindedness (levity)


The monk who instead of concentrating on himself looks curiously at others, trying to judge who is his superior and who is his inferior, will see things to envy in others and things to mock.  Thus it is that the light-minded follow their roving eyes and, no longer pinned down by proper responsibility, are now swept up to the heights by pride, now cast down into the depths by foolish envy.  Now the man is consumed by foolish envy; now he grows childishly pleased about his own excellence.  In one mood he is wicked, in the other vain.  In both he shows himself to be proud, because he makes it a matter for self-congratulation both when he grieves to be outdone and when he is pleased to outdo others.  He displays these changes of mood in his speech: Now his words are few and grudging; now numerous and trivial; now he is laughing; now he is depressed; but there is never any reason for his mood.  Compare if you will these two stages of pride [i.e., this and curiosity] with the last two steps of humility [namely, restrained speech and containment of one's interests] and see whether the last does not quell pride and the last but one light-mindedness.  You will find that the same is true for the rest, if you compare one with another.

05 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY SEVENTH


The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride
according to St. Bernard and St. Benedict


PRIDE
HUMILITY

1. Curiosity about what is not 
one's proper concern.
12.  Containment of one's 
interests, which shows itself in 
a humble bearing and lowered 
eyes.

2.  Light-mindedness:
chatter and exclamations about
things which do not matter.

11.  Quiet and restrained speech.
3.  Laughing about nothing; 
foolish merriment.

10.  Reluctance to laugh.
4.  Boasting and talking too much

9.  Keeping silent 
unless asked to speak.

5.  Trying to be different: 
claiming special rights.
8.  Regarding oneself as having 
no special rights in the community.

6.  Thinking oneself holier than others.
7.  Thinking oneself less holy than others.

7.  Interfering presumptuously 
with the affairs of others.

6.  Thinking oneself unworthy to take initiative.

8.  Self-justification.  
Defending one's sinful actions.

5.  Confessing one's sins.

9.  Insincere confession.
4.  Patience in the face of accusation.

10.  Rebellion against superiors.
3.  Submission to superiors.

11.  Feeling free to sin.
2.  Desiring no freedom 
to exercise one's will.

12.  Habitual sinning.
1.  Constant watchfulness against sin.



04 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY SIXTH


The first step of pride is curiosity. You can recognize it by the following signs. You see a monk of whom you had thought well up to now. Wherever he stands, walks, sits, his eyes begin to wander: His head is lifted; is ears are alert. You can tell from his outward movements that the inner man has changed. "The worthless man winks with his eye, nudges with his foot, points with his finger" (Prov 6:12ff).  These unusual bodily movements show that his soul has fallen sick. He has grown careless about his own behavior. He wastes his curiosity on other people. "Because he is ignorant of himself, he must go out to pasture his goats" (Song 1:7).

The goats, of course, which signify sin, are rightly called eyes and ears: for just as death entered the world through sin, in the same way sin enters the mind through these windows. Therefore the curious man occupies himself pasturing these, while he does not care to know in what sort of a state he has left his inner self. And truly, oh man, if you should vigilantly attend to yourself, it is extraordinary if you should ever attend to anything else. Listen, curious man, to the words of Solomon; hear, oh foolish one, what Wisdom says. "With all defenses, it is said, guard your heart" (Prov 4:23): so that all of your senses may keep watch over that from which life proceeds. For to what do you retire, oh curious man? In the meanwhile to what do you commit yourself? Why do you dare to lift your eyes to the heavens — eyes that sin in the heavens? Look to the earth, so that you may think of yourself. It will show you to yourself, because you are earth and will pass into the earth.

Yet you might lift your eyes inculpably for two reasons: either so that you may ask for help, or out of devotion. David lifted his eyes to the mountains, so that he might implore aid (Ps 120:1): and the Lord raised them over the crowds, so that he might help them (John 6:5). The one did so wretchedly, the other mercifully — both inculpably. If, taking the time, the place and the occasion into consideration, you too lift up your eyes because of your brother's need, not only do I not blame you: I praise you greatly. For wretchedness excuses it, and mercy commends it. But if you lifted up your eyes for some other reason, then I would call you not an imitator of a prophet or of the Lord, but of Dinah or Eve, or even more so Satan himself. For when Dinah went out to pasture her goats she was snatched away from her father, and her virginity was taken away from her.  Oh poor Dinah! You wanted to see the foreign women (Gn 34:1)! Was it necessary? Was it profitable? Or did you do it solely out of curiosity? Even if you went out idly to see them, you were not idly seen. You looked curiously, but you were looked on with more than curiosity. Who would believe that your idle curiosity, or curious idleness, would not be idle in the future, but pernicious for you, and for your family, and even for your enemies?

And you, oh Eve! You were placed in paradise to work there and guard it with your husband (Gn 2:15), and if you had done what you were told you were to have passed to a better life in which you would not have to work or be concerned about guarding. Every tree of paradise was given to you to eat, except the one which was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gn 2:16). For if the others were good and tasted good (Gn2:9), what need was there to eat of the tree which tasted bad? "Do not know more than is appropriate" (Rom 12:3). For to taste what is evil is not sensible but senseless. Therefore protect what has been entrusted to you, expect what has been promised; avoid what has been prohibited, lest you lose what has been given to you. Why do you look so intently on your death? Why are you always glancing at it? What is the good of looking at what you are forbidden to eat?

"I reach out with my eyes, not my hands," you say. "I was not forbidden to look, only to eat. Can I not look where I like with the eyes God gave me?" To this the Apostle says, "Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is expedient" (1 Cor 6:12). Even if it is not a sin, it is a token of sin. For if the mind had had not been keeping insufficient watch over its own curiosity, curiosity would not have had empty time to fill. Even if it is not a sin, still it is the occasion of sin, and a sign of commission, and the cause of what is about to be committed. For when you are intent upon something, in the meanwhile the serpent slips secretly inside your heart, speaking seductively. He imprisons fear with lies, and reason with flatteries. "By no means will you die," he says (Gen 3:4). He adds to your cares while arousing your appetite; he provokes curiosity, while building up carnal desire. Finally he presents what is prohibited, and obtains submission: he holds out the apple, and snatches away paradise. You drink the venom and will die, and you are about to give birth to those who will also die. Salvation is destroyed, and you have not even finished giving birth. We are born, we die: and for this reason we are born dying: because we who are about to be born have died long ago. Therefore this heavy yoke falls upon all your sons, even up to the present day.


— St. Bernard of Clairvaux, De gradibus humilitatis et superbiae 
(revision of the G.R. Evans translation by me)

03 December 2011

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIFTH

THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN ACTS

INTELLECT         —      WILL          .

END
   (1) Apprehension      —      (2) Simple Volition
(3) Judgment of Possibility      —      (4) Intention                     .


MEANS
(5) Deliberation      —      (6) Consent     .   
(7) Free Judgment      —      (8) Free Choice  .


PERFORMANCE
     (9) Command      —      (10) Performance
(11) Passive Fruition      —      (12) Active Fruition



1.  "Hmm, look at that."
2.  "Wouldn't it be nice if..."
3.  "Well, I could do it..."
4.  "I'm going for it!"
5.  "But how could I bring it about?"
6.  "I'm ready to do what's necessary."
7.  "That's the best way to do it."
8.  "I'm going to do it that way."
9.  [Act! Says the intellect.]
10.  [And the will does it.]
11. - 12.  [And the person rests in the accomplished act.]  (Not entirely sure what the distinction is.)

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FOURTH

Trying to work your way out of that enlightenment funk?  Is Kant's presence in your life feeling more and more like an endless philosophical hangover?

THEN CLICK HERE.

30 November 2011

Holy Fear and the Life of Wisdom


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and understanding marks all who attain it."  So says the Psalmist.  This verse, while familiar, is puzzling, and therefore frequently neglected.  In fact, the fear of the Lord has fallen out of fashion and is rarely discussed.  What does fear have to do with wisdom?  And what does wisdom have to do with me?  Wisdom, after all, is the stuff of grizzled old hermits and cloistered contemplatives — deep souls hidden with God in the wilderness.  I, on the other hand, am an incurably pragmatic city-dweller.    Maybe I just want to get to heaven, not become a mystical knight of faith.  And as for fear, doesn't Scripture tell us that "perfect love drives out fear"?  The more we know God, the more we know he loves us, and the less we have to fear from him.  So what place could fear have in the Christian life?

These are strong objections to the words of the Psalmist.  Yet when we survey the words of Scripture, praise for this holy fear recurs constantly.  In the classic text of Isaiah's prophesy concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the prophet says that Christ (and therefore also the Christian) "will delight in the fear of the Lord" (Is 11:3).  When Ben Sira, the chief Old Testament eulogist of Wisdom, sets out to praise its wonders, he refers to the Fear of the Lord dozens of times.  He calls it "glory and exultation, gladness and a festive crown," and promises that those who fear God "will be happy at the end; even on the day of death they will be blessed." (Sir 2:11,13)  The praises of this virtue are sung again and again in the Wisdom of Solomon, the book of Proverbs, the story of Job, and the Psalms.  The scriptural testimony in favor of the fear of the Lord is so overwhelming that, despite our initial reservations, we have to ask: what are we missing?  What's so great about fear?  How does it fit into real life?  A fresh perspective is needed to discover the proper placement of this gift of the Spirit within contemporary Catholic life.

In one of his rare moments of self-disclosure, St. Thomas Aquinas once admitted that he had a mistress: a lady he had pursued his entire career as a priest.  Her company, he said, was free of all tedium, her conversation a perfect delight.  He considered chasing after her throughout his itinerant life more wonderful and more joyful than any other pursuit.  The mistress, he then confessed, was called Wisdom.  

Wisdom occupied the great saint throughout his life, and he loved to talk and write about her.  And what did he say?  He writes repeatedly that wisdom is a gift which allows people to order their lives rightly in thought and action, to see things clearly in terms of their ultimate origins and ends.  Wisdom is a gift from God which draws us to the fountainhead of truth and allows us to know things as they are in the sight of the Creator — to see their ultimate unity, truth and goodness.

This would seem wonderful but impractical — a postcard view from one of those contemplative forests we mentioned earlier — if not for that nagging question in the heart of man, which the philosophers pinpoint as the defining problem of Modernity:  Who am I? Modern man cannot help but fret about the meaning of his existence.  Despite the frequent protestations of many thinkers, human life demands a purpose, and the need for a purpose reveals itself to us as a kind of un-fillable pit hidden in the core of our being.

It follows that wisdom, if we can trust Aquinas to know his beloved, is a supremely practical gift.  Wisdom shows us who we are and helps us to know our purpose.  Without wisdom we are forced to live life blindly, ignorant of who made us or where happiness lies.  But with wisdom we can order all things rightly, according to their true nature and purpose, and we see clearly how every choice and action can help us achieve our ultimate goal.  Wisdom allows us to see ourselves through the eyes of God, to make sense of the world — an increasingly tall order.

If we take a look at the world, it is difficult to deny that most people lack wisdom.  Without a vivid sense of the purpose of life, we frequently try to fill the hole in our hearts with all kinds of things:  money, friends, beauty, health, success...  The list goes on.  But the Christian knows better than this.  The follower of Christ knows from St. Paul that our destiny is to be with God in eternity, and from St. John he knows that we are called to be like God — to see him as he is.

Common Sense chimes in: It's nice that God wants us to be with him and all, but the thought of contemplating God for all eternity could only be made appealing by comparison with a demon-filled fire pit.  With a mild smirk and his characteristic raised index finger, Aquinas answers Common Sense by reminding us of how wonderful life with God is: those who find unity with the Lord of Hosts share in the joy of his divine life.  God is perfectly good, infinitely wise and beautiful, and the goodness of everything we know and love on earth is merely a pale reflection of his glory.  To be with him in eternity is a gift which transcends every natural capacity of our weak human nature.

The Father is waiting eagerly to lift us up in the person of his Son and to make us perfectly happy, but there are some obstacles.  He does not force us to accept the friendship and happiness he offers; he wants us to take it of our own choice.  Choice requires freedom, though, and freedom depends on a right judgment of the truth, without which we cannot pursue what is genuinely good, but will constantly be distracted and led astray.  If the human intellect were flawless and saw things as they are, this would pose no problems. Unfortunately, our minds have been damaged by original sin, and this initial guilt is compounded through concupiscence, which predisposes us to overestimate the value of created goods.  In other words Common Sense has (alas!) suffered a heavy blow to the head and is no longer a sure guide in life.

False judgments arising from concupiscence — that delightfully medieval word for the human being's inborn moral stupidity — harm the intellect, and a corrupt intellect leads the will astray.  A faulty will piles sin upon sin.  It damages the intellect further through the regular affirmation of falsehoods, and reduces the human being from its natural dignity into something closer to a mere animal.  Because the will follows the intellect, the only thing that can stop this cycle is the restoration of its original knowledge of the happiness we were created for.  But since we were created for God, and God's infinite majesty utterly surpasses the capacities of our finite minds, we cannot possibly redeem ourselves.  So, far from even beginning to pay the incredible debt we owe for our sins, we cannot even keep ourselves from sinning more, injuring ourselves and others as we plunge with wicked delight into the depths of despair.

Humanity thus stands in desperate need of three things: a sacrifice to atone for our guilt, a miraculous restoration of our intellect and will, and a guide to lead us down the path to perfection.  These three needs answer St. Anselm's famous question, Cur Deus Homo? Why did God become man?  In his unsearchable providence, the Blessed Trinity has conspired from all eternity to free us from the pit we have dug ourselves.  And how does this plan work?  In Christ we find our atoning sacrifice, in his grace we are restored and perfected, and through his example we are shown the way to happiness.

Christ desires the salvation of all mankind together in one body, so that we can better participate in the perfect unity of the Godhead.  To this end, he employs human ministers to bind us together in his love, so that by serving each other in this life we can more perfectly share in the happiness of the white-robed choirs gathered before his throne.  Through his sacraments, Christ restores the human soul, giving it a supernaturally infused ability to recognize the truth for which it was born.  In the mass we receive the Word in the Eucharist: a perfect sign of Christ's gift, which not only participates in his sacrifice, but also calls us to be crucified with him, and gives us the strength to follow him through death into eternal life.  We also receive the Word by hearing: in listening to the homily and receiving the words of Scripture we are given the opportunity to grow in faith and understanding.  Faith, however, is nothing other than that divine light which re-orients our minds toward God.  It is accompanied by Charity, which rectifies and sanctifies the will, and Hope, which gives us the strength to fight for the joy prepared for us.  These virtues, then, and especially faith, form the essence of the wisdom that so delighted and utterly seduced St. Thomas Aquinas.

Christ has prepared for us this most excellent way to salvation, but while we remain bound to the sinful nature of our birth, obstacles will continue to threaten our progress.  The world is full of genuinely good things, and as long as our knowledge of God is shadowy and imperfect we can be led astray by the illusory promise of an earthly paradise.  In order not to get stuck in the ditches which line the straight and narrow path, we need to learn to avoid them.  The first sin of our parents, according to St. Augustine, was pride — the desire to set oneself above divine providence and become an independent and ultimate lawgiver.  From what we have already said concerning wisdom, it is clear that pride is, by definition, a kind of foolishness.  More than that, pride is diametrically opposed to wisdom.  Since God himself is Truth, and his truth orders all things rightly toward their own perfection, when the proud man removes himself from divine truth, he will immediately and necessarily fall into a pit of ignorance and error.

It follows that we need to avoid pride by pursuing the virtue naturally opposed to it, which will guard our hearts against pride.  Common sense says that this virtue is humility, but humility, as St. Catherine of Siena once explained, follows directly from a sense of the lowliness of our own sinful humanity before the glory of the Ancient of Days.  And this vivid sense, according to St. Gregory the Great, is nothing other than the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord, however, can be understood in more than one way.  Peter Lombard (the great and unfortunately neglected medieval master) speaks of two main ways of fearing God: servile and filial.  Servile fear arises from a concern over the pain and deprivation which may be inflicted as a result of our actions.  Thus a person who is kept from sin because they fear hell acts out of servile fear, which, though good, is imperfect.  The imperfection of servile fear is like the imperfection of attrition, i.e. repentance for sin which comes from fear of "the pains of hell and the loss of heaven."  It keeps a person out of trouble but fails to grasp the heart of the matter.  Filial fear, by contrast, goes right to the heart.

Filial fear is the fear of offending a loved one.  I fear hurting my family or friends, spouse or children, chiefly because I want the best for them and want them to be happy.  When applied to God, filial fear is a fear of transgression which arises from a deep knowledge and love of God's goodness and generosity.  The Christian would rather sacrifice everything than lose his friendship with Jesus, who has created and sanctified him at the cost of his own life, who loves him unconditionally, who is in himself perfect goodness, truth, justice and mercy.

Attempting to see how wisdom relates to the fear of the Lord has thus led us to see how this unlikely virtue solves several extremely relevant problems.  First, it helps us better know who we are and who God is.  Second, by promoting the growth of wisdom, fear of the Lord frees us from that existential angst so common in contemporary intellectual life.  Third, it provides a clue to the genuine meaning of freedom and liberation — freedom from error and liberation from debilitating sinfulness — enabling us to become more perfectly the individuals we were meant to be.  Fourth, and most importantly, it protects us on the path to salvation.  This is why Ben Sira speaks of it so lovingly, when he tells us that "The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation, gladness and a festive crown."

28 November 2011

TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIRST

Faith and reason are just different ways of knowing things.
So, when meet Lucinda I see her with my eyes, and I talk to her and hear her voice,
my knowledge of lucinda comes from my five senses.
I don't just see lucinda and know everything there is to know about her
I get to know her better and better as time passes.
That's reason.

Now, there are some things that we can't know from our five senses. There are some people who are so much greater than I could understand that just thinking about them won't get me any closer to knowing who they are.
Angels and God are like that.
  
But because God loves us and wants us to know him, God gives us a special ability to get to know him without our senses.
He plants knowledge of himself in our hearts,
and if we focus on it, it grows, so that we know him better
That's faith.
  
Now, the knowledge in our hearts and the knowledge from our eyes are both knowledge.
They both show us real things and help us be familiar with them.
Faith, the knowledge God plants in us, just makes the knowledge of the eyes better  
and they work together, because they're both true

But the knowledge that God gives you is more important 
because it can tell you how to live, 
and what life is all about, 
and what love means
  
and that's the stuff that makes he knowledge of the eyes meaningful.
Otherwise you just end up living pointlessly
and being an idiot, without realizing
until it's too late.

24 November 2011

TWO HUNDRED TWENTIETH

The first proclamation of a Thanksgiving Feast Day by the government of the United States (1777):

FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth "in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.

And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.

23 November 2011

TWO HUNDRED NINETEENTH

"I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I expected to receive a powerful esthetic pleasure, but having read, one after the other, works regarded as his best: "King Lear," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," not only did I feel no delight, but I felt an irresistible repulsion and tedium... Several times I read the dramas and the comedies and historical plays, and I invariably underwent the same feelings: repulsion, weariness, and bewilderment. At the present time, before writing this preface, being desirous once more to test myself, I have, as an old man of seventy-five, again read the whole of Shakespeare, including the historical plays, the "Henrys," "Troilus and Cressida," "The Tempest", "Cymbeline", and I have felt, with even greater force, the same feelings,—this time, however, not of bewilderment, but of firm, indubitable conviction that the unquestionable glory of a great genius which Shakespeare enjoys, and which compels writers of our time to imitate him and readers and spectators to discover in him non-existent merits,—thereby distorting their esthetic and ethical understanding,—is a great evil, as is every untruth."
—  Leo Tolstoy

22 November 2011

TWO HUNDRED EIGHTEENTH

You don't think onions can be delicious my themselves?  Incorrect!

CLICK ME.


Oh, and then there's this, courtesy of my sister:

Sandra Lee

21 November 2011

TWO HUNDRED SEVENTEENTH

Hilarious: 

"Summary Evaluation of Catholic Theology:
While Roman Catholic theology has a number of doctrines in common with conservative protestant theology (Trinity, deity of Christ, etc.), there are many deviations from orthodox theology.  A fundamental difference is the authority of tradition in addition to the authority of the Bible.  In its outworking, tradition in a sense supercedes the authority of the Bible because tradition and church councils make decrees that countermand and/or add to the explicit teachings of scripture.  The recognition of the Apocrypha is a further deviation.  The place of Mary in Roman Catholic theology removes Christ from his rightful place as sole mediator between God and Men (1 Tim 2:5).  Also the entire system of sacraments is a genuine rejection of the true grace of God and salvation by grace.  Salvation in Roman Catholic theology is not by grace through faith but a complex adherence to the sacraments and rituals as legislated by the church hierarchy."
Taken from Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded
Click here for more.

TWO HUNDRED SIXTEENTH

The very toys of toys, and vanities of vanities, my ancient mistresses,  still held me; they plucked my fleshy garment, and whispered softly,  "Dost thou cast us off? and from that moment shall we no more be with  thee for ever? and from that moment shall not this or that be lawful  for thee for ever?" And what was it which they suggested in that I  said, "this or that," what did they suggest, O my God? Let Thy mercy  turn it away from the soul of Thy servant. What defilements did they  suggest! what shame! And now I much less than half heard them, and  not openly showing themselves and contradicting me, but muttering  as it were behind my back, and privily plucking me, as I was departing,  but to look back on them. Yet they did retard me, so that I hesitated  to burst and shake myself free from them, and to spring over whither  I was called; a violent habit saying to me, "Thinkest thou, thou canst  live without them?"   

But now it spake very faintly. For on that side whither I had  set my face, and whither I trembled to go, there appeared unto me  the chaste dignity of Continency, serene, yet not relaxedly, gay,  honestly alluring me to come and doubt not; and stretching forth to  receive and embrace me, her holy hands full of multitudes of good  examples: there were so many young men and maidens here, a multitude  of youth and every age, grave widows and aged virgins; and Continence  herself in all, not barren, but a fruitful mother of children of joys,  by Thee her Husband, O Lord. And she smiled on me with a persuasive  mockery, as would she say, "Canst not thou what these youths, what  these maidens can? or can they either in themselves, and not rather  in the Lord their God? The Lord their God gave me unto them. Why standest  thou in thyself, and so standest not? cast thyself upon Him, fear  not He will not withdraw Himself that thou shouldest fall; cast thyself  fearlessly upon Him, He will receive, and will heal thee." And I blushed  exceedingly, for that I yet heard the muttering of those toys, and  hung in suspense. And she again seemed to say, "Stop thine ears against  those thy unclean members on the earth, that they may be mortified.  They tell thee of delights, but not as doth the law of the Lord thy  God."

18 November 2011

TWO HUNDRED FIFTEENTH

Chapter 5.— The Opinion Which Devises an Image of the Trinity in the Marriage of Male and Female, and in Their Offspring.

5. Accordingly they do not seem to me to advance a probable opinion, who lay it down that a trinity of the image of God in three persons, so far as regards human nature, can so be discovered as to be completed in themarriage of male and female and in their offspring; in that the man himself, as it were, indicates the person of the Father, but that which has so proceeded from him as to be born, that of the Son; and so the third person as of the Spirit, is, they say, the woman, who has so proceeded from the man as not herself to be either son or daughter, although it was by her conception that the offspring was born. For the Lord has said of the Holy Spiritthat He proceeds from the Father, and yet he is not a son. In this erroneous opinion, then, the only point probably alleged, and indeed sufficiently shown according to the faith of the Holy Scripture, is this—in the account of the original creation of the woman—that what so comes into existence from some person as to make another person, cannot in every case be called a son; since the person of the woman came into existence from the person of the man, and yet she is not called his daughter. All the rest of this opinion is in truth so absurd, nay indeed so false, that it is most easy to refute it. For I pass over such a thing, as to think the Holy Spirit to be the mother of the Son of God, and the wife of the Father; since perhaps it may be answered that these thingsoffend us in carnal things, because we think of bodily conceptions and births. Although these very things themselves are most chastely thought of by the pure, to whom all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving, of whom both the mind and conscience are polluted, nothing is pure; so that even Christ, born of avirgin according to the flesh, is a stumbling-block to some of them. But yet in the case of those supremespiritual things, after the likeness of which those kinds of the inferior creature also are made although most remotely, and where there is nothing that can be injured and nothing corruptible, nothing born in time, nothing formed from that which is formless, or whatever like expressions there may be; yet they ought not to disturb the sober prudence of any one, lest in avoiding empty disgust he run into pernicious error. Let him accustom himself so to find in corporeal things the traces of things spiritual, that when he begins to ascend upwards from thence, under the guidance of reason, in order to attain to the unchangeable truth itself through which these things were made, he may not draw with himself to things above what he despises in things below. For no one ever blushed to choose for himself wisdom as a wife, because the name of wife puts into a man's thoughts the corruptible connection which consists in begetting children; or because in truth wisdom itself is a woman in sex, since it is expressed in both Greek and Latin tongues by a word of the feminine gender.

Chapter 6. — Why This Opinion is to Be Rejected.

6. We do not therefore reject this opinion, because we fear to think of that holy and inviolable and unchangeableLove, as the spouse of God the Father, existing as it does from Him, but not as an offspring in order to beget theWord by which all things are made; but because divine Scripture evidently shows it to be false. For God said,Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and a little after it is said, So God created man in the image of God. Certainly, in that it is of the plural number, the word our would not be rightly used if man were made in the image of one person, whether of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit; but because he was made in the image of the Trinity, on that account it is said, After our image. But again, lest we should think that three Gods were to be believed in the Trinity, whereas the same Trinity is one God, it is said, So Godcreated man in the image of God, instead of saying, In His own image.
7. For such expressions are customary in the Scriptures; and yet some persons, while maintaining the Catholicfaith, do not carefully attend to them, in such wise that they think the words, God made man in the image ofGod, to mean that the Father made man after the image of the Son; and they thus desire to assert that the Son also is called God in the divine Scriptures, as if there were not other most true and clear proofs wherein the Son is called not only God, but also the true God. For while they aim at explaining another difficulty in this text, they become so entangled that they cannot extricate themselves. For if the Father made man after the image of theSon, so that he is not the image of the Father, but of the Son, then the Son is unlike the Father. But if a piousfaith teaches us, as it does, that the Son is like the Father after an equality of essence, then that which is made in the likeness of the Son must needs also be made in the likeness of the Father. Further, if the Father made man not in His own image, but in the image of His Son, why does He not say, Let us make man after Your image and likeness, whereas He does say, our; unless it be because the image of the Trinity was made in man, that in this way man should be the image of the one true God, because the Trinity itself is the one trueGod? Such expressions are innumerable in the Scriptures, but it will suffice to have produced these. It is so said in the Psalms, Salvation belongs unto the Lord; Your blessing is upon Your people; as if the words were spoken to some one else, not to Him of whom it had been said, Salvation belongs unto the Lord. And again, For by You, he says, I shall be delivered from temptation, and by hoping in my God I shall leap over the wall; as if he said to some one else, By You I shall be delivered from temptation. And again, In the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under You; as if he were to say, in the heart of Your enemies. For he had said to that King, that is, to our Lord Jesus Christ, The people fall under You, whom he intended by the word King, when he said, In the heart of the king's enemies. Things of this kind are found more rarely in the New Testament. But yet the apostle says to the Romans, Concerning His Son who was made to Him of the seed ofDavid according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord; as though he were speaking above of some one else. For what is meant by the Son of God declared by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ, except of the same Jesus Christ who was declared to be Son of God with power? And as then in this passage, when we are told, the Son of God with power of Jesus Christ, or the Son of God according to the spirit of holiness of Jesus Christ, or the Son of God by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ, whereas it might have been expressed in the ordinary way, In His own power, or according to the spirit of His own holiness, or by theresurrection of His dead, or of their dead: as, I say, we are not compelled to understand another person, but one and the same, that is, the person of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ; so, when we are told that God made man in the image of God, although it might have been more usual to say, after His own image, yet we are not compelled to understand any other person in the Trinity, but the one and selfsame Trinity itself, who is one God, and after whose image man is made.
8. And since the case stands thus, if we are to accept the same image of the Trinity, as not in one, but in threehuman beings, father and mother and son, then the man was not made after the image of God before a wife was made for him, and before they procreated a son; because there was not yet a trinity. Will any one say there was already a trinity, because, although not yet in their proper form, yet in their original nature, both the womanwas already in the side of the man, and the son in the loins of his father? Why then, when Scripture had said,God made man after the image of God, did it go on to say, God created him; male and female created He them: and God blessed them? (Or if it is to be so divided, And God created man, so that thereupon is to be added, in the image of God created He him, and then subjoined in the third place, male and female createdHe them; for some have feared to say, He made him male and female, lest something monstrous, as it were, should be understood, as are those whom they call hermaphrodites, although even so both might be understood not falsely in the singular number, on account of that which is said, Two in one flesh.) Why then, as I began by saying, in regard to the nature of man made after the image of God, does Scripture specify nothing except male and female? Certainly, in order to complete the image of the Trinity, it ought to have added also son, although still placed in the loins of his father, as the woman was in his side. Or was it perhaps that the woman also had been already made, and that Scripture had combined in a short and comprehensive statement, that of which it was going to explain afterwards more carefully, how it was done; and that therefore a son could not be mentioned, because no son was yet born? As if the Holy Spirit could not have comprehended this, too, in thatbrief statement, while about to narrate the birth of the son afterwards in its own place; as it narrated afterwards in its own place, that the woman was taken from the side of the man, and yet has not omitted here to name her.