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 June, 2008

Resources For The Year Of St Paul

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 30, 2008

I’ll be posting updates on this as I become aware of more resources. Much of what I am linking to today can already be found permanently linked on my blog. Some of the things I link to are online audio which requires RealPlayer. This can be downloaded and used for free HERE.


PRINT: Available online


PRINT books for purchase

AUDIO/VIDEO For purchase

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Graduation Congratulations

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 28, 2008

 Congratulations to Hilary and Jill! both of whom graduate with advanced regents degrees.  Hilary was awarded the Rolland Woodcock Memorial Scholarship for Journalism, and the New York State Triple”C” Award from the New York State Attorney General.  She will pursue a degree in Journalism and hopes to be a writer.  Jill received the Beverly T. Cornish Memorial Science Award and the Durhamville P.T.O. Scholarship Award.

Also, see if you can spot Dim Bulb and win a prize.
Posted by Brite Bulb.







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On the Fundamental Difficulties of the Philosophy of Dugald Stewart (Article 8)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2008

Article 8
Sixth defect Smith does not see that the first names given to things were common nouns.

148.  For my own part, I thing it more probable that the names given by the supposed savage to his tree, to his cave, and to his fountain, would be common nouns from the very first.

Be it observed that, generally speaking, proper names are not imposed on objects of the description here spoken of-i.e. caves, trees, fountains, &c.-but rather on persons, places rivers, &c.; because this is found necessary for not confounding such things together.  Usually there is not any necessity for individuating by a proper name a tree, a cave, a fountain; and if there is, men are accustomed to secure such individuation by referring to circumstances connected with the thing.

Thus, for example, a cave would be called the cave of Polyphemus, from the man who was dwelling in it; or the cave of Hebron, from the district in which it stood; and so with the expressions the cedar of Lebanon, the rose of Jericho, the palm of Cades, from the places where these trees flourished; the well of Jacob, from him who dug it, or discovered, or made use of it; the healing fountain, from the medicinal properties of its waters, and so on.  For things of this kind there never is an imperative need of inventing proper names.

149.  Hence we can see why proper names, denoting as they do the individual substance of a thing, far from being the most frequent, are, even in the riches and most copious languages, wanting to numberless objects; whereas there is not a single thing in the world without a common name of some sort.  The common name is more necessary than the proper, and it is probable that men did not invent proper names until the perceived that without them a confusion of similar things would ensue.  When a case of this kind occurred, they would fix for the one particular thing a name significative of that proper and individual substance, whereby alone that thing became unmistakably  segregated from all others of the same species.

150  In this connection it is important to observe that the imposing of a name on that exclusive property which individualizes a being, and unmistakably singles it out from among all others of the same species, demands  a much more difficult exercise of abstraction than is required for naming that being from a quality it possesses in common with other beings.  Speaking in particular of bodies, their common qualities are the first to strike our senses, and to be cognised by us.  Consequently, it is much more likely that we should name a corporeal being from these qualities than from its own proper and individual substance, which, as separate from its accident, does not fall under our senses, and can only be separated from the accidents by means of an abstraction, or rather a series of abstractions.  I therefore believe the real truth to be, that it is only after a very long lapse of time, and after many comparisons have been made between things of the same species, that men’s intellectual powers grow so far developed as distinctly and expressly to notice that, besides the common qualities which fall under the senses, there is in each being a something so exclusively proper as to divide it completely from all other beings; and that something is its own self.

Accordingly, my firm persuasion is, that our supposed savages would not at first have felt the need of giving to his tree, cave, or the fountain a proper name, but only at a much later period, when having already seen many caves, trees, and fountains, he would have learnt to separate in his mind the individuality of each, and, what is still more, to see the necessity of singling out that individuality by a special name, so that he might in speaking, for instance, to his wife and children point out to them that particular cave, tree, or fountain, with such precision that they would not be able to mistake them for other caves, trees, or fountains.  I do not, however, believe that a necessity like this would arise while he continued in a savage state, nor yet for a good while after, even though he should have considerably advanced in civilization.  Even were the necessity to occur he would doubtless supply it by a much readier process than the most difficult one of inventing proper names; for example, by the context of his discourse, or by means of those accidental adjuncts which I have mentioned, or by some other expedient.

151.  Moreover, as we cannot know that a name is common simply from the fact of its being applied to many individuals, because, as we have seen, many might be called by the same proper name, so on the other hand we cannot say that a name is proper simply from finding it applied to one individual only.  For even a single individual may be designated by a common name.  Thus, in the supposition that only one man were left in this world, there would be no necessity whatever of a proper name for him, since the common name of man would then be quite sufficient to identify him beyond the possibility of his being mistaken for another.  And yet this would still be a common name, because derived from humanity-a quality which would equally belong to other human individuals if there were any in existence.

Nor is this all mere conjecture, based on imagination, like the narrative of Smith.  It is the fact as descried in the inspired book of Genesis.  There we read of a time when there was only one man on the earth.  No proper name was given to this man, for none was required; but he was called Adam, which in the Hebrew language conveys the same meaning as our word man.  And that we may better see how this was truly a common name, let us look at its origin.  It was derived from earth, the material of which the same sacred record declares man to have been formed, and it was intended to signify a ‘being composed of earth.’  Therefore, the first person ever named in this world was not designated through his individuality, but through a quality common to all men who should come after him, and hence by a common noun.

152.   Instead, then, of having recourse to an imaginary savage, and of losing themselves in an arbitrary supposition-a method which is, by universal consent, the reverse of philosophical-would not our philosophers have acted much more wisely by consulting the monuments of antiquity, which give us the real facts?

A sober investigation of these facts would have made them see the impropriety of assenting without careful examination to the opinion, certain as it might seem at first sight, that ‘proper nouns were invented before the common.’

It is just in propositions like these, which make an apparent show of evidence, that the most pernicious errors lie concealed, and in such a way as to render their detection a matter of no small difficulty.  The false evidence causes these propositions to be gratuitously accepted even by men otherwise circumspect, as Mr. Dugald Stewart is generally reputed to be, and makes them believe themselves dispensed from a diligent and painstaking study of the facts.

Had these respectable philosophers examined, as I have said, the manner in which the first men really imposed names on things, they would most certainly have found that those primitive names were never chosen arbitrarily, as is the case with proper names.  The first men did not express individual objects through their individuality, but always through a quality they held in common with other objects.  Thus Cain meant ‘a thing acquired or newly gotten;’ hence in giving this name Adam said, ‘I have gotten a new thing through God.’  Applicable as this word is to everything acquired or ‘newly gotten,’ it is clearly a common noun.  Abel meant ‘vanity’ Eve, ‘life-giver;’ Seth, ‘a being substituted;’ Enoch, ‘dedicated;’ Lamech, ‘poor,’ ‘humbled;’ all of which are, again, common nouns.  And the same may be said of the other Hebrew names of persons or things.  All of them designate the individual through common qualities, and are therefore common nouns.

A similar observation may be made as regards Greek names, and, indeed, the names of all antiquity, in which it may safely be affirmed that men never knew how to impose truly proper names, indicating the individuality itself of a thing, such as have come to be, in modern languages, Peter, Paul, Italy, France, England, the Adige, the Tiber, the Po.  Nay, even these names only beame proper from the time that their etymologies were lost of forgotten.

That these proper nouns which modern languages have inherited from antiquity were originally common nouns, is proved by all that remains to us of their etymologies; for from these we can see that the men of those early times designated the said persons, countries, rivers, &c., not by the individuality exclusively proper to each, but by qualities which were or might be possessed by other beings of the same species.

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Now I know how an NFL kicker feels

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 25, 2008

A time out has been called for the talk I was supposed to give on St Paul tonight. I’ll be delivering it to the discussion group next Wednesday.

Also, I hope to finish my notes on 1 Thessalonians by the end of this month. I’m going to make an intense effort to post commentary on St Paul’s letters throughout the coming “Year of St Paul.”  These notes will be primarily my own, though I also hope to post excerpts from several older catholic commentaries which I have at my disposal, and which are in the public domain.

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Creation and Evolution

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 25, 2008

The book on which this post is based sounds interesting. The Reuter’s blog post it is responding to sounds like tired, typical, media “stuff”. This comes from David at Cosmos~Liturgy~Sex: (you’ll find a link to the whole post below)
I recently read the English translation of the book covering B16’s 2006 Schülerkreis (a yearly meeting he has with his former students) published by Ignatius Press under the title, Creation and Evolution. That is probably why Carl Olson’s post on the book interested me. What caught my eye in particular was Carl’s reference to a Reuter’s article/post on the topic. The Reuter’s author, Tom Heneghan, recently did a Reuter’s blog post on the English translation in which he makes reference to an earlier article of his based upon the release of the German edition of the book.

Heneghan says that anyone who wants to know where the Catholic Church stands on the issue of creation and evolution, should read this book. His claim is that B16 proclaims in the book, the classic Catholic teaching on the topic called, Theistic evolution. He doesn’t explain this term but does link to a wikipedia entry on the topic which I guess we must assume is his definition. Wikipedia indicates that this term refers to those who believe there is no necessary conflict between Christian faith in creation and the theory of evolution. However, the term itself, and Heneghan’s use of it, seem to imply that the biological theory of evolution is accepted by B16 on some level.

I would not agree with Heneghan assertion that this book will explain the Catholic position on evolution and creation…Continue Reading (third paragraph)

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On the Fundamental Difficulties of the Philosophy of Dugald Stewart (Article 7)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 24, 2008

Article 7. Fifth defect: Smith does not understand the reason why common nouns and proper nouns are severally so called.

146.  Having thus cleared up the ideas attached severally to the words proper noun and common noun, let us continue our analysis of the reasoning of Smith.

The proper name, then, is imposed on a being to express its individuality alone.  But as this name has no necessary relation with that individuality, one is free to apply it to the individuality of any other being one pleases.

Thus, for example, a father who has twelve sons may, if so inclined, call each of them in succession by the proper name of Peter.  I will, moreover, suppose that all persons now living who answer to the name of Peter are assembled together before us.  Does it follow that this name Peter, because applied to so many people, is a common noun?  Certainly not; and the reason is clear.  The fact of a name being common or proper does not depend upon its being used for naming one individual or many, but on the manner in which it names them.  If it names them, in consideration of a quality common to them all-as, for instance, in the case of the term man, which distinguishes human beings through humanity-then it is common.  But if it names them purely and simply with reference to their individuality, it is proper.  Hence even if every man in this world were called Peter, all that we could say of it would be that every man had two names, one common-i.e. man; and one proper-i.e. Peter.  As a matter of fact, each of us has the two names, and it is a mere accident that out proper name is, or is not, the same as that of our neighbors.  Indeed, the number of proper names is very small in comparison with the whole human race; nay, there might even be but one proper name for all men alike.

147.   Now, this reveals a new fallacy in the reasoning of Smith-I mean, in that part where he says, though without any proof, that the savage changes proper names into common, simply by applying them to many individuals; as if nothing else were wanted for effecting such a change.  So far is this from being true, that even if the name of Peter were, as I have said, given to all the men of a province, of a kingdom, of the world, it would still remain proper, since it would indicate men, not through their common humanity, but through the individuality of each.

Suppose, then, that the savage had given a proper name to the first cave which sheltered him from inclemency of the weather, another to the first tree with the fruit of which he relieved his hunger, a third to the first fountain at which he quenched his thirst; and suppose, further, that on seeing afterwards one, two, or three similar caves, one, two, or three similar trees or fountains, he had also given each of them the same name as he used in the first instance, we should thus have four caves, four trees, four fountains, called respectively by the same name; but it would still remain to be seen whether this savage, in applying one and the same name to four similar things, used it as  a proper or as a common noun.

Now, it is clear that in no case id he, as Smith asserts, denote a ‘multitude’ of individuals; since each time he said cave, tree, fountain, he meant only one cave, one tree, one fountain.  But even if he had made these names collective by saying in the plural caves, trees, fountains, that would not have sufficed by itself to prove that the names were ‘common’ (see146).  The only criterion for judging whether they were common or proper consists in knowing whether in them he contradistinguished the  individuals by means of qualities which they held in common, or designated those individuals through their own individualities alone

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Philosophy General and Special

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 24, 2008

Ultimate grounds are either absolute or relative.  The former are, strictly speaking, alone ultimate, and, as such, constitute the scope of General Philsophy;  whereas the latter are ultimate only in reference to a determinate branch of science, and hence from the scope of Special Philosophies, such as those of matematics, physics, history, politics, art, ect.

Though Rosmini prefers the term ultimate grounds, he does not object to calling them likewise first grounds.  “ultimate grounds,”  he says, “and first grounds  are equivalent expressions, because what is last in the one direction of thought is first in the other.”  Compare the Aristotelian doctrine, that what is first in essence or nature is last in generation, or, as St Thomas puts it, “What is first and better known in its nature is last and less known relatively to us.”  Of the relation of Philosophy to the other sciences  Rosmini says, “The ultimate grounds outside of the world and the ultimate grounds in the world, these form the object of philosophy, which thus occupies the last two and highest steps of the pyramid we have described.  Hence philosophy remains clearly separated from, and elevated above, the other sciences, as the guide and mother of them all.  These form the lower steps of the pyramid, depending upon the highest two and receiving their light from them”

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Aquinas on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 24, 2008

 Ever wonder what one of St Thomas Aquinas’ Scripture Commentaries might read like?  Here is your chance to find out.  What follows is his commentary (it was a lecture, really) on chapter 1 of 1 Thessalonians.  I doubt most people will find the 13th century format to their liking, however, as the late Scripture Scholar, Father Bruce Vawter once said, “Thomas’ commentaries have stood the test of time quite well.”  I have searched in vain for a public domain text in English to post on my blog but have not been successful.  Hopefully, this little tid-bit will lead you to access all the available Aquinas commentaries online.  A while back I bought his commentary on Colossians published by Sapientia Press (Ave Maria University).  Reading it was tough going, but well worth the effort.

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

The Apostle wishes to strengthen the Church in the face of tribulations. First, in the face of present tribulations, and Paul does this in the first letter to the Thessalonians. Secondly, Paul warns against tribulations to come in the time of the Antichrist, and he does this in the second letter to the Thessalonians.

The first letter is divided into the greeting and the message, which begins at the words, we give thanks to God always for you all. First, Paul mentions the people who send the greeting; secondly, the Church which is greeted; thirdly, his hope for blessings. It should be noted that since we are all equal if we do not fail in our duties, the Apostle, in writing to these good people, does not mention his title, but supplies only his humble name which is Paul. He also adds the names of two persons who preached to them with him: Silvanus, who is Sylas, and Timothy, whom he circumcised, as is mentioned in Acts 16.

Paul greets the Church, which is the assembly of believers, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, in the faith of the Trinity and of the divinity and humanity of Christ, because our beatitude will consist in knowing them. He mentions only the person of the Father and the incarnate Son, in which two is understood the Holy Spirit who is the bond between the Father and the Son.

The blessings he asks are grace, which is the source of all good things: “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (I Cor. 15: 10); and peace, which is our end: for there is peace when desire is totally at rest.

Then when Paul says, we give thanks, he begins the letter’s message: first, he commends them for their past perseverance; secondly, he urges them to act well even in the future (4:1). In addition, Paul first gives thanks in general for their blessings; secondly, he remarks upon their blessings in particular matters (1:4). In treating the first point he does two things. First, he offers thanksgiving; secondly, he indicates the reason for the thanksgiving (1:3). Again, Paul first gives thanks for them; secondly, Paul prays for them (1:26).

In treating the first point, Paul mentions three things that ought to be present in thanksgiving. First, thanksgiving should be directed to God: we give thanks to God. “He bestows favor and honor” (Ps. 84:11). “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (Jas. 1: 17). Thanksgiving should be unceasing; so Paul says, always. It should also be universal, so Paul says, for you all; and later Paul adds, give thanks in all circumstances (5:18).

Then he prays for them saying: constantly mentioning you in our prayers; as if saying: Whenever I pray I am mindful of you: “Without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers” (Rom. 1: 9).

Then when he says, remembering… your work of faith, Paul mentions the blessings for which he offers thanks, that is, faith, hope, and charity: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three” (1 Cor. 13:13). First, he mentions faith because it is an essential condition for obtaining the things to be hoped for, a means of revelation not based on appearances: “For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). This, however, is not sufficient unless the person practices good works and makes an effort; so Paul says, your work of faith and labor. “Faith apart from works is dead” (Jas. 2:26). The person who gives up while laboring for Christ is worth nothing: “They believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” (Lk. 8:13). Paul uses the words, work and labor, implying that he is mindful of their active and struggling faith.

Paul also gives thanks for the love in which they abounded. Later (4:9), he says: but concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you.

Then he gives thanks for their hope, which enables them to endure sufferings patiently: “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation” (Rom. 12:12). In addition, Paul gives thanks for the steadfastness of their hope: “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job” (Jas. 5:11). Finally, Paul gives thanks for hope in our Lord, that is, the hope we have in Christ, or the hope Christ gave to us: “We have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Pet. 1:3). This hope is, before our God, not before the eyes of men; “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them” (Matt. 6:1). “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19). For hope in the old dispensation did not lead to God.

Then when Paul says, For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you, he recalls their blessings in particular matters. First, he congratulates them for having received the gospel devoutly and willingly in spite of tribulations; secondly, Paul congratulates them because they did not fan away from the gospel in time of trial (2:1). Again, the first part is divided into two. First, Paul points out the kind of preaching that had been given to them; secondly, he points out how this preaching was received by them (1:6). In treating the first point Paul does three things. First, he tells what he knew about them; secondly, he indicates the manner of his preaching (1:5); thirdly, he remarks upon what they knew about the Apostle (1:5).

So Paul says, brethren, beloved by God, not only generally, insofar as God gives existence to all of nature, but specifically, insofar as you are each called to an eternal reward: “Yet I have loved Jacob” (Mal. 1:3). “All those consecrated to him were in his hand” (Deut. 33:3). He has chosen you, as if implying: I am certain that you are among the elect, although you did not merit this election; rather you are freely chosen by God. And I know this because God granted me abundant evidence of this in preaching, that is, that those to whom I preach are chosen by God, for God gives them the grace to listen profitably to the word preached to them; or else, God gives me the grace to preach rewardingly to them.

What is said in Ezekiel (3:26) would seem to contradict this: “And I will make your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be dumb. To counter this Paul first calls to mind how powerfully he preached to them; secondly, he calls upon their own witness with the words: you know… Powerfully, because he came not in loftiness of speech, but in power: “And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power” (1 Cor. 2:4). “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20). Now this may have reference either to the authentication of his preaching or to the manner of his preaching. If it is the first alternative, then Paul’s preaching to them was authenticated not by arguments but by the power of signs, and so it is said in Mark (16:20): “The Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it”; and by the giving of the Holy Spirit; so Paul says, and in the Holy Spirit. “While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word” (Ac. 10:44). “While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Heb. 2:4). And with full conviction. Paul adds this so that they would not believe that they received less than the Jews, indicating that the Holy Spirit does not discriminate among persons; but that the preaching was in the same fulness among them as among the Jews: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ac. 2:4).

But if it is the second alternative, then in power seems to mean “showing you a virtuous life.” “Jesus began to do and teach” (Ac. 1:1). And in the Holy Spirit who brings things to mind; “For it is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matt. 10:20). With full conviction, because I have instructed you in everything necessary for the faith. And he appeals to their testimony on this point when he says: You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake, that is, what kind of gifts and powers we have exhibited among you: “I hope it is known also to your conscience” (2 Cor. 5:11).

Then when he says, and you became imitators of us, he shows how creditably they received his preaching and did not fall away in time of trial. First, Paul shows their excellence in that they have imitated others; secondly, because they made themselves an example to others (1:7). In treating the first point Paul does two things. First, he shows whom they have imitated; secondly, he shows in what things they have imitated them ( 1: 6).

In treating the first point, Paul says that they have imitated the ones they should, namely, their prelates; so he says: You became imitators of us, “Brethren, join in imitating me” (Phil. 3:17); that is, you imitated me not in my human failings but in those points in which I have imitated Christ by patience in the midst of suffering: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (I Pet. 2:21). Therefore, Paul says, in much affliction, with joy, that is, although a considerable amount of tribulation threatened you because of the gospel, nevertheless you have accepted that with joy: “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (Jas. 1:2). “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus” (Ac. 5:41). With joy, Paul says, inspired by the Holy Spirit who is the love of God, and who imbues joy in those who suffer for Christ because they love Him: “If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned” (Cant. 8:7).

And you are our imitators to such an extent that you can be imitated by others; therefore he says: so that you become an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. In making this point, Paul does three things. First, he shows that they can be imitated; secondly, he shows how their fame has spread (1:8); thirdly, Paul shows how they were praised by all peoples (1:9).

So Paul says: you have imitated us so perfectly that you became an example, that is, an example of life not only in your own surroundings, but in other places as well: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). You became an example to all believers to whom your faith has become known. Your goodness was added to this, for the word of the Lord sounded forth from you, that is, the Lord has been preached; in other words, your fame was diffused not only in Macedonia and Achaia, who are your neighbors, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, that is, a faith which God accepts, which joins you to God, and which is edifying everywhere: “Your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (Rom. 1:8). And proof exists for all this, so that we need not say anything. It is the practice of a good preacher to use as an example the blessings coming to others: “Your zeal has stirred up most of them” (2 Cor. 9:2).

Then when Paul says: for they themselves report concerning us, he remarks on the praise which they had received from others, because, they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you. A similar point is made in Prov. (31:31): “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Those who commend you praise my preaching and your conversion. They themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, since our entry was visited with great difficulty and genuine tribulations; but they also praise your conversion.

Finally, Paul makes known how, from whom, and to what they have been converted. In regard to the first point Paul says: and how you turned to God, that is, how readily and completely. “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). “Do not delay to turn to the Lord, nor postpone it from day to day (Sir. 5:7). In regard to the second point, Paul says, from idols, as is mentioned in 1 Cor. (12:2): “You know that when you were heathens, you were led astray to dumb idols.” In regard to the third point he says, to serve a living and true God by the practice of adoration, not of creatures, but of God, which is in contrast with what is stated in Romans (1:25): “They worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” And Paul says, living, in order to exclude the cult of idolatry, because the idolators worshipped certain dead people whose souls they regarded as deified, such as Romulus and Hercules. And so Paul insists on living. “As I live forever” (Deut. 32:40). Also, since the Platonists considered some separate substances to be gods by participation, he says true, meaning, not by participation in the divine nature.

Since those who serve Him deserve a reward, and because this is the case with the Thessalonians, it remains for them to expect a reward; so Paul says to them, to wait for his Son, that is, God, descending from heaven. “Be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast” (Lk. 12:36). “Blessed are all those who wait for him” (Is. 30:18). These, however, are the men who girded their loins. We, however, are waiting for two things: first, for the resurrection, in order that we may clearly conform to Christ; hence Paul says: whom he raised from the dead. “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies” (Rom. 8: 11). “Who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). Secondly, we are waiting to be freed from the punishment which awaits the guilty. For we shall be freed by Christ from sin, the cause of punishment. So Paul says: Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. “Hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16). No one can free us from this wrath but Christ: “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7) Source.  I have no idea if the html text is copyrighted.

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The Divine Office, Tuesday, Week 4. Morning Prayer

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 23, 2008

Psalm 95:1-11

This Day God Has Given me

Psalms and Canticles:
Psalm 101:1-8 Commentary/meditation
Daniel 3:26,27,29,34-41 Commentary/meditation
Psalm 144:1-10 Commentary/meditation

Isaiah 55:1

Canticle of Zechariah :
Luke 1:68-79

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Ultimate Grounds: Formal, Real, and Moral

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 23, 2008

Ultimate grounds are the answers which satisfy the last whys put by the human mind to itself

It thus appears that the final self-sufficient test of truth is perfect mental satisfaction, the cessation of all desire for further evidence or explanation.  This satisfaction, being of the nature of a feeling, is immediate, given, and, therefore, incapable of explanation.  Why does truth satisfy? is a foolish question.  We may, nonetheless, discover and state the conditions of truth itself.  It is almost unnecessary to say that by grounds Rosmini does not mean causes.  Indeed, he finds fault with Aristotle for confounding the two terms.  “What Aristotle calls cause,” he says, “ought more correctly to be called ground, the term properly belonging to the order of the knowable, with which he is dealing” (Logic# 827).  The passage referred to is the one quoted above (previous post).  According to Rosmini, a ground is “that light which enables the mind to know that what any given judgment affirms in the order of possibility, IS” (Logic # 188).  “A ground is always an idea, simple or complex; but the terms ground and idea differ as two different modes of regarding the same thing.  Ground indicates the logical necessity which the mind feels of assenting to possible judgment, it is, therefore, a virtue which emanates from the intuition of the necessary nexus between two or more ideas, which nexus, however, as intuited by the mind, may likewise be called an idea” (logic #192).  “The grounds which justify assent to any possible judgment are either intrinsic or extrinsic.  A ground is intrinsic when the judgment requires no other proof, foreign to it, in order to appear true to the mind of any one who examines it with sufficient care…A ground is extrinsic when the mind, in order to be convinced of the truth of a possible judgment, obliged to have recourse to some judgment different from the first”  (Logic # 193, 195).  In reference to the relation of grounds to reality, we have the following statements: “Things real must be treated in the doctrine of ultimate grounds.  First, because ground is a word whose signification is relative to that whose ground is sought, and that whose ground is sought is real.  Hence it follows that real things, as such, do not constitute the object of philosophy, but merely its occasion and condition.  Philosophy deals with them, because it deals with their possibilities and their ultimate sufficient grounds.  Second, because the first ground requires a reality co-essential with it…and hence cannot be fully known without the knowledge of that first reality which constitutes it, not as a ground, but as a complete and absolute being containing within itself the ground of all things” (Psychology, preface #13).  It is needless to say that ultimate grounds are, of necessity, intrinsic, immediate, and self-evident.  Rosmini, in common with Aristotle and St Thomas, and in opposition to Hegel, whom he calls the “foe of all immediateness” (Theosophy vol. 1 #10), maintains that all ultimate knowledge is of this kind.  Of the nature of ultimate grounds, Rosmini speaks at length in his Logic.  “if we wish to determine the meaning of this expression, ultimate grounds,” he says, “we must take into consideration certain distinctions, for the reason that grounds may be called ultimate which are such, not in themselves, but with respect to the limits of human nature.  Whatever these limits be, it is clear that we cannot speak of any ultimate grounds except with respect to these, because absolutely ultimate grounds, if they go beyond the confines of human nature, cannot be desired or sought by it, and hence the want of them cannot cause it any disquiet.  In order, therefore, that the human mind, when it has reached the ultimate grounds, may be conscious that these are ultimate for it (supposing that they are not likewise ultimate in themselves), it must recognize its own limits, and clearly understand that, in carrying it researches further, is would be attempting the impossible (#1163).  “We must, therefore, consider that there are three supreme grounds, categorically distinct.  These may be called the formal ground, the  real ground, and the  moral ground.  But the supreme real ground is given to man in the idea of being, and is the principle of all formal logic.  It is also that which enables him to cognize real and moral grounds.  But the supreme real ground is not given to man by nature, since the reality is God himself, and by nature man does not perceive the reality of God.  Possessing, then, the supreme formal ground, and, in it, the power of knowing all real grounds, even the supreme one, if they were given to him-that is, if they were communicated to his feeling-he has the faculty of recognizing his own limits, in other words, of recognizing that it is not granted him to know all that he could know, and hence he concludes that there may and must be, beyond these limits, something unknown to him.  if now we give to this act, by which the human mind divines that there is something beyond all that it knows, the name of human superintelligence, we shall see clearly that this is not a faculty, but a  function of reason, whereby, comparing the field of the possible, given to it in the idea, with the field of the real, given to it in feeling, it sees that the former is infinitely more extensive that the latter, and that the portion of reality which it can touch does not contain the supreme ground; that is the beingwhich is real in its essence, which alone can be the type of all reality, and hence also alone can be the ground of all finite realities.  Again, as regars the supreme moral ground, this lies in the essential and total order of being, inasmuch as being, thus intrinsically ordered, is in itself a good to all the wills that cognize it.  Now, man, in the idea, possesses this order virtually, but it does not become actual to thought except in real being.  Of this real being he knows a part positively through feeling, and that part which he knows by nature in this way implies infinite being; then, through the function of human superintelligence, he knows, negatively and confusedly, infinite real being, in which alone the supreme moral ground is actualized, because in it alone is the essential and total order of being.  Hence, according to nature, man cannot know the supreme moral ground, except in a negative and virtual way.  Hence the imperfection of morality in his actual existence.  There are, therefore, two main limits to human intelligence.  First, it cannot know the supreme real ground, and, therefore, cannot have a single material criterion for all realities.  It is for this reason that we have been obliged to lay down the rule that every specific perception of reality is a criterion for that species whereof that perceptions is assumed as a type.  Second, It can know only virtually the supreme moral reason” (#163, 165).  Of course, it follows directly from this, that, in our present life, we find no entire intellectual satisfaction, at least in a natural way.  “Since man,” says Rosmini, “knows the supreme formal ground, and, through it, these two limits, he aspires to extend himself to the infinite, and desires a state in which these limitations shall cease.  However, when a man reaches the clear conviction that such limits cannot be removed in the present life, he resigns himself to this necessity, and thus finds that satisfaction of intellect which is possible in mortal life.”  In other words, to quote the famous saying of Goethe, “Man is born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out where the problem begins, and then to keep himself within the limits of the knowable.”-Rosmini’s Philosophical System, Thomas Davidson

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