The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for February, 2008

In a Yugo

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 27, 2008

I found THIS VIDEO TUNE which parody’s Elvis’ song “In the Ghetto.”  I just thought it was hilarious.

As the snow flies

At a used car lot on the edge of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo

And they drive with pride

Cause if there’s one thing that this world needs
It’s environmental friends who’ll take the lead
In a Yugo

They say, “people don’t you understand
Those suburbans are ruining the land”
But they’ll wish they had a full size van one day
They point fingers at you and me
They say we’re too blind to see
But do we simply use our heads
And choose another way?

As those small wheels turn
Fifty miles to the gallon
And their knees on their chest
They’re gonna save enough gas
For all of the rest
In a Yugo

Then one day on the interstate
They suddenly lose control
They swerve to miss a baby duck
They’re squashed beneath a produce truck

But they drove with pride…

And as the crowds drive past a little flat car
You know they saved a lot of gas
But they didnt get far
In a Yugo

And as they’re trapped inside
At a used car lot on the other side of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo….

And they drive with pride..

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The Foundations of Biblical Thinking

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 27, 2008

From St Irenaeus Ministries comes this podcast detailing the desert experiences of Israel as related in the Books of Exodus and Numbers.  Underneath the title of my Blog you will find a page link entitled “Biblical Audio Lectures” where you will find more podcasts on Biblical books and subjects.  I will try and update this page on a regular basis.

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A New Page On My Blog

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 24, 2008

I’ve added a page linking to lectures on the Bible done by Catholics. So far there are lectures on most of the Gospel of Luke; all of Malachi; all of Hebrews; and the first 3 chapters of First Peter. More lectures will be added shortly. You can access the page by clicking on the Bible Audio Lectures banner found just below this blogs title above.

Posted by Dim Bulb.  Check out my OTHER SITE for lots of online books and articles on a wide range of topics.

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible | 4 Comments »

Reflections on the Sunday Gospel and Morning and Evening Office (audio) for Sunday 24, 2008

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 24, 2008

Biblical Musings on the Responsorial Psalm (95) used at todays Mass. 9:27

On the Gospel John 5:4-42 by Monsignor Daniel Muggenberger 1:00:51

RCIA Podcast  contains Mass readings, reflection on the first scrutiny.  Time unknown but I guess an hour

Morning Office 11:14

Evening Office 8:05

Posted in Bible, Biblical miscellany, Devotional Resources | Leave a Comment »

Introduction to a Sermon I’ll Never Preach

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 24, 2008

Text: Isaiah 1:2-31 

The Prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, was born in the Kingdom of Judah during the profitable but immoral reign of King Uzziah, who appears to have reigned from about 783 to 742 BC.  At about the time of Isaiah’s call to prophecy he contracted leprosy as punishment for an attempted usurpation of the priestly office and became one of “the lving dead,” and this forced him to step down from his throne and install his son as regent, Uzziah would die in 733 BC.

A statesman saint, Isaiah is the Thomas More of the Old Testament.  Like More he is a family man, a counselor of kings, a skilled writer, and in the end a martyr for his faith at the hands of his king.  His response to his call, (probably narrated in chapter 6) shows a generous, spontaneous, and naturally courageous nature in contrast to Moses and Jeremiah.  His poetry and preaching reflect a soul sensitive and refined and endowed with extraordinary power of expression.

Isaiah was born during the prosperous but immoral reign of King Uzziah.  He was a contemporary of Amos and Hosea, prophets in the northern kingdom, and of Micah in Judah.  He preached during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  His position as a counselor to Ahaz and Hezekiah, his knowledge of political affairs, his poetic language and exquisite Hebrew style, all indicate a cultured nobleman of high rank in the royal court.  Married and the father of two sons with prophetic names, Shear-yashub and Maher-shallal-hash-baz, he appears to have done most of his preaching in Jerusalem.  According to Hebrew tradition he died a martyr for the faith around 687, when, by order of the infamous King Manasseh, he was placed in a hollow tree and sawn in half. Excerpted from THE MEN AND MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT by Peter Ellis. 

Today’s text is taken from the opening prophecy of the book which bears Isaiah’s name.  The sermons and events narrated in this book do not appear to always be in chronological order; rather, they were compiled according to a theological/thematic ordering.  Some scholars believe that the prophecy of chapter 1, verses 2-31, describe the situation facing Judah at the end of Jotham reign, or perhaps at the beginning of his successor, Ahaz’s reign.  Thus they date the text to about 735 and the beginning of the Syro-Ephramite war.  This war began when Syria, also called Damascus, formed and alliance with the northern kingdom of Israel, sometimes called “Ephraim” because that was the name of the largest northern tribe.  The purpose of this alliance was to oppose the rising power and expansion of the Assyrian Empire.  The two nations sought an alliance with Judah but, when that kingdom refused, they foolishly attacked it, hoping to set up a puppet king on the throne.  Judah, in spite of Isaiah’s warnings to the contrary, appealed to Assyria for help instead of to God.  Assyria moved quickly, destroying the Kingdom of Syria/Damascus and devastating Israel, taking land and captives.  They then proceeded to invade Judah, forcing that kingdom into vassalage and the payment of heavy tribute.

More scholars, and I believe they are correct, attribute this sermon to the period of King Sennacherib of Assyria and his invasion of Judah in 701 BC.  The circumstances are as follows:

In 705 BC King Sargon of Assyria was murdered and a civil war ensued which required Sargon’s son, Sennacherib to gain his inheritance by force of arms.  At this time, and as a result of this situation, King Merodach-baladan of Babylon, long a trouble-maker to Assyria, sought to free his kingdom from Assyrian domination by beginning a rebellion.  Toward this end he sought the aid of other subjected peoples and kingdoms, including the tiny Kingdom of Judah.  King Hezekiah of Judah resisted for a while, giving heed to the Prophet Isaiah, but then, in 702 BC, he joined the anti-Assyrian alliance after receiving assurance of help from Egypt.  By this time, however, Sennacherib had consolidated his power at home and was ready to move against his enemies; this he did with a brutal efficiency and methodology seldom seen in the annals of ancient warfare.  He first occupied Babylon and then moved against the western kingdoms.  As Isaiah had predicted, Egypt turned out to be an untrustworthy and worthless ally, Sennacherib invaded the kingdom of Judah in 702 BC.      He began to systematically lay siege to the fortified towns and cities surrounding Jerusalem and demanded that the city of Jerusalem itself surrender or suffer the consequences.  However, in accord with the prophecy of Isaiah given in 2 Kings 19, a plague struck the Assyrian army, forcing its withdrawal.

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On Divine Providence bk 1, ch 5 The Blessings of dispelling difficulties concerning Divine Providence

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2008

Chapter 5
Every Difficulty Against The Government Of Divine Providence, When Solved, Dispels Man’s Ignorance; When Adored, It Enhances His Virtue.

 

But let us for a while set aside this consideration, and turn back to the fact already mentioned, that the secondary rules of judgment, drawn from a narrowercircle of experience, differ from those founded on one that is wider.

 

I ask: can all these rules, sl discordant from one another, be at one and the same time equally true and complete?  To say this would be a contradiction; but each of them will be at once true and false: true so long as it is applied to matters falling within that sphere of things from which it was drawn; false if applied to things lying outside that sphere.  It follows that such scondary rules as were drawn from a larger experience and a wide sphere of action will be available for judging aright of a greater number and of a more extended order of things, than are the more limited and restricted rules.  Those only will be finally complete which are founded on the observation of all the component parts of the universe, considered in their mutual relations; for, as from this grand sphere nothing would be excluded, so, in the formation of such rules, no possible experience would be wanting; every species as well as every accident would be taken into account and, as it were, set face to face in a universal comparison.  Now, in this we can see a fresh reason why virtuous men, when meeting with those difficulties which are apt to suggest themselves to the mind in the consideration of the manner in which human sorrow and human happiness are apportioned by Providence, instead of giving way to sadness or discouragement, feel internally moved to rejoice.  Indeed, if one of these upright and faithful men happens to observe anything difficult to understand, and so contrary to all his expectations that is suggests strangeness of action on the part of God, he is filled with sentiments of heartfelt gratitude; for in the very darkness of that deep secret of Divine Wisdom he sees a reminder of his own nothingness before God, and of the immense abyss which lies between the judgments of the Creator and of his creature.  That ray of Divine Greatness gladdens him beyond measure.   Nevertheless he meditates diligently and hopefull y on that secret, trying to search out those reasons which are at present hidden from his view; for he is persuaded, that should it please God to discover them to him in any degree, the narrow borders of his human understanding will be thereby immensely enlarged, and the cramped maxims of human prudence corrected, by the infinite breadth of the Wisdom of God.  Excerpted from Theodicy, Volume 1, by Blessed Antonio Rosmini.

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Video Podcast on The Book of Revelation

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2008

Sponsored by St Michael’s Media

Part 1. time 9:31
Part 2. time 7:11
Part 3. time 8:56
Part 4. time 9:14
Part 5. time 9:25
Part 6. time 7:47
Part 7. time 9:29

Posted by Dim Bulb. Check out my OTHER SITE.

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The Process of Change (Part 1)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2008

Due to the length of this subject I will be posting only on numbers I-IV today

I. Actuality and Potentiality.
II. The becoming of a substance.
III. Prime Matter and Substantial Form.
IV. Role of matter and form. Their relation.
V. Evolution or succession of forms.
VI. Principle of individuation.
VII. Causality.
VIII. Essence and existence.

I. Actuality and Potentiality. Our supposition of a motionless and dead universe is after all only an artifice of our didactic method. For it is evident that the things which we have described are actors in a cosmic drama: they are borne on the stream of change, and nothing is motionless.

Molecules or atoms, mono-cellular beings or organisms, all are subject to the law of change. Substances, together with their accidents, are constantly becoming. The oak tree develops from an acorn, it becomes tall and massive, its vital activities are constantly subject to change, and the tree itself will eventually disappear. So also the lion is born, develops and grows, hunts its prey, propagates its kind, and finally dies. Again, human life, both in its embryonic and more developed forms, is a ceaseless process of adaptation. If we wish to understand the full meaning of reality, we must throw being into the melting pot of change. Thus the static point of view, or the world considered in the state of repose, must be supplemented by the dynamic point of view, or that of the world in the state of becoming. Here we come across a further scholastic notion,-namely, the celebrated theory of actuality and potentiality, which may well be said to form the keystone in the vaulting of metaphysics.

This theory results from an analysis of what change in general implies. What is change? It is a real passage from one state to another. Schoolmen reason thus: If one being passes from stat A to state B, it must posses already in state A the germ of its future determination in state B. It has the capacity or potentiality of becoming B, before it actually is B. To deny this quasi-preexistence, in fact, involves the denial of the reality of change, or evolution of things. For, what we call change would then simply be a series of instantaneous appearances and disappearances of realities, with no internal connection whatever between the members of the series, each possessing a duration infinitesimally small. The oak tree must be potentially in the acorn: if it were not there potentially, how could it ever issue from t? On the other hand, the oak is not potentially in a pebble rolled about by the sea, although the pebble might outwardly present a close resemblance to an acorn.

Act or actuality (actus) is any present degree of reality. Potency (potentia) is the aptitude or capacity of reaching that stage of reality. It is imperfection and non-being in a certain sense, but it is not mere nothing, for it is a non-being in a subject which already exists, and has within itself the germ of the future actualization.

The duality of act and potency affects reality in its inmost depths, and extends to the composition of substance and accident, matter and form.

II. The becoming of a substance. To say that a concrete substance-for instance, this oak tree, this man,-is in the process of becoming means that it is realizing or actualizing its potentialities. A child is already potentially the powerful athlete he will some day become. If the is destined to become a mathematician, then already in the cradle he possesses this aptitude or predisposition, whereas another infant is deprived of it. All increase in quantity, all new qualities, activities exercised and undergone, all the new relations in which the subject in question will be engaged with surrounding beings, all its various positions in time and space, were capable of coming into existence, before being in fact. Substance is related to its accidents like potentiality to actuality.

Viewed in the light of this theory, the doctrine of substance and accident loses its naive appearance. A growing oak tree, a living man, a chemical unit, or any one of the millions of individual beings, is an individual substance which is in a process or state of becoming, inasmuch as its quantity, qualities, activities, and relations are actualizations of the potentialities of the substance. Leibnitz was in point of fact following this Thomistic doctrine when he said: “the present is pregnant with the future.”

But while Leibnitz taught also the eternity and the immutability of substances, which he called monads, Aquinas and the Schoolmen went further into the heart of things. It is not only the quantity or quality which changes when, for example, an oak tree grows, or its wood becomes tougher, it is not merely its place which changes when it is transplanted, ot its activities which develop,-in all these cases it is the substance, the oak tree, which is so to speak the subject of these accidental changes. But the very substance of a body may be carried into the maelstrom, and nature make us constant witnesses of the spectacle of substantial transformation. The oak tree dies, and from the gradual process of its decomposition there come into actual existence chemical bodies of various kinds. Or an electric current passes through water: and behold in the place of water we find hydrogen and oxygen.

III. Prime Matter and Substantial Form. When one substance changes into another, each has an entirely different specific nature. An oak never changes into another oak, nor one particle of water into another. But out of a dying oak tree, or a decomposed particle of water, are born new chemical bodies, with quite different activities, quantities, relations, and so on. substances differ not only in degree, but in kind.

Let us look more closely into this phenomenon of basic change from one substance into another, or into several as in the case of water and the hydrogen and oxygen which succeed it. If Aquinas had been asked to interpret this phenomenon, he would have said that every substance that comes into being in this way consists ultimately of two constituent elements or substantial parts: on the one hand, there must be something common to the old state of being and the new-to water and hydrogen for instance-and on the other hand there must be a specific principle proper to each. Without a common element, found equally in the water and in the hydrogen and oxygen, the one could not be said to ‘change’ into the other, for there would be no transposition of any part of the water into the resulting elements, but rather an annihilation of the water, followed by the sudden apparition of hydrogen and oxygen. As for the specific principle, this must exist at each stage of the process as a peculiar and proper factor whereby the water as such differs from the hydrogen or oxygen as such.

This bring us to the theory of ‘primary matter’ and ‘substantial form’ which is often misunderstood. It is in reality nothing more than the application of the theory of actuality and potency to the problem of the transformation of bodies: before the change, hydrogen and oxygen were in the water potentially. The primary matter is the common, indeterminate element or substratum, capable of receiving in succession different determinations. The substantial form determines and specifies this potential element, and constitutes the particular thing in its individuality and specific kind of existence. It enables it to be itself and not something else. Each man, lion, oak tree, or chemical unit possesses its form, that is, its principle of specific and proper reality. And this principle or form of any one thing is not reducible to that which is proper to an oak tree is altogether distinct from that of man, hydrogen, and so on.

IV. Role of matter and form. Their relation. Each thing that concerns the state of indetermination of a being follows from its prime matter. This applies especially to quantitative extension; for, to possess quantitative parts, scattered in space, is to be undetermined.

On the other hand, each thing that contributes to the determination of a being-its unity, its existence, its activities-is in close dependence upon the formal principle. Thus form unifies the scattered parts, it provides the substance with actual existence and is the basic root of all specific activity.

It follows from the above that matter and form cannot be found independently of one another in beings which are purely corporeal. They compenetrate each other like roundness and a round thing. To speak of a prime matter existing without a form, says Thomas, is to contradict oneself, for such a statement joins existence-which is determination-with the notion of prime matter-which is that of indetermination.

We may now come back to the conception of individual substance from which we started (VIII,1). A corporeal being consists of two substantial parts-matter and form-neither of which is complete. Only the being resulting from the union of both is complete or individual substance, to which belongs the proper perfection of self-sufficiency and of being incommunicable to each other. -Excerpted from The Philosophical System of St Thomas Aquinas by Maurice De Wulf. Public domain text.

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(Part 6) The Fundamental Difficulties of the Philosophy of Condillac (article 8)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2008

Article 8
Judgment Must Not Be Confounded With Simple Attention.

 

81.   Let us continue:

 

“Where attention is twofold,” Writes our philosopher, “You have a comparison, because focusing attention on two ideas and comparing them is one and the same thing.”  (Extrait raisonne, p 14)

 

This reasoning is totally incorrect.  The proposition that giving attention to two ideas is the same as comparing them together, will not stand up to examination.  May I not, if I so choose, think in the first place of one idea alone, and then, of a second without instituting a comparison between them and noting their differences?

 

82.  But even if the attention given to two ideas necessarily implied their comparison and the knowledge of their points of difference, it would nevertheless be necessary to admit in this fact three distinct, although contemporaneous, intellectual operations-namely, 10 the attention given to one idea; 2) the attention given to the other idea, and 3) the attention given to the difference between the two; and it would still remain to be seen whether these three acts are of the same nature; for if they are not of the same nature, they cannot, their contemporaneousness notwithstanding, be attributed to one and the same faculty.

 

83.  Moreover, these three acts are not necessarily contemporaneous.  Surely I can bestow my attention on one idea and then another, without caring to think of their difference!

 

To see all this more clearly, it will be enough to glance at what takes place in regard to our ideas of numbers.

 

Suppose, then, that I have the ideas of number 35 and of number 49, am I obliged to institute a comparison between them and mark their difference?  Certainly not.  The knowledge of them is not the knowledge of that difference.  They are respectively 35 and 49, but the difference is 14-a third number which I produce to myself by performing on them an intellectual operation on a nature peculiar to itself.

 

Nay, I have the power not only to fix my attention on both those numbers, successively or contemporaneously, but furthermore to exercise my mind on them in sundry other ways, without being at all bound to make that intellectual operation which reveals to me their difference.

 

84.   Condillac’s belief that our attention could not be fixed on two things without at the same time perceiving  their differences, seems to have arisen from this, that he observed only what mostly takes place in those cases in which we think of things easy to compare together, and whose difference can be very readily seen.

 

85.   Is it not surprising, however, that so obvious a distinction as that between the act of simple attention first to one idea and then to another, and the act of comparing them together and of perceiving their difference, should have been overlooked by a philosopher?  Even admitting that we were always necessitated by a law of our nature to do these two acts simultaneously, we should still be obliged to say that they are essentially different from each other; and that the second is more than the first, and therefore deserving to be carefully analyzed apart, instead of being so lightly passed over.

 

When I simply fix my attention on two ideas, I do not produce a new object for it, but occupy it with two objects which are already in my mind.  When, on the contrary, I compare two ideas together and separate in them that which is proper to each from that which they have in common, I form to myself a new object of attention-i.e. their difference, of which, in so far as it is thus divided and distinguished from those ideas, I had no manner of thought before. –Excerpted from THE ORIGIN OF IDEAS, Vol 1,  by Blessed AntonioRosmini

 

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Podcast study of Ephesians

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2008

From Marcus Grodi and Jim Anderson of The Coming Home Network.  Marcus Grodi is, as I’m sure you know, the host of EWTN’s The Journey Home.

In this podcast they examine Ephesians 1:1.  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.  Here is a PDF file which outlines the talk:  CLICK HERE FOR FILE

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