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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Different Kinds of Knowledge, Part 3: Abstract and General Knowledge

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

III. Abstract and general knowledge. Introspection shows us that we possess another kind of knowledge with characteristics quite different from those we have found in sense knowledge. Intellectual knowledge, instead of being concrete and particularized, is abstract and general. Let us consider this twofold character.

The act of vision of an oak tree, localized in a particular spot, is spontaneously accompanied by notions such as ‘height,’ ‘cylindrical form,’ ‘local motion,’ ‘color,’ ‘vital activity,’ ‘cell,’ ‘matter,’ ‘being.’ These notions are indeed derived from this oak tree, but the aspects of reality which we grasp by them are no longer bound up with this particular individual: they reveal to me the whatness or essence (essentia, qnidditas), or in what height, local motion, life activity, combustion, etc., consist. We confine our attention to certain elements of the thing under consideration, shutting out all the other elements, and stripping them of all particularizing determinations. Abstraction consists precisely in this function and in nothing else. In what height consists is considered apart from everything else, and this selected aspect of reality is no longer related to this oak tree. So that the term abstraction has its etymological meaning (trahere ab), to select from, to draw from; abstraction is sometimes called (praecisio mentalis). I possess a treasure-house of abstract notions which relate to all kinds and classes of reality.

It is precisely because this representative content, or object 2 of thought (id quod menti objicitur) , is no longer bound up entirely with the sight of any particular oak tree, or of a particular human being, etc., that it is seen upon reflection to be applicable to an indefinite number of beings which move, which are cylindrical in form, which manifest vital activities, which are material in nature, etc. This applicability is indefinite — it is ‘universal’ or general, and extends to possible realities as well as existent ones. Universality, therefore, follows upon abstraction, as Thomas remarks.

An abstract notion of mankind seizes what mankind is, as distinct from the whatness of an elephant or a particle of radium. A universal or general notion of mankind implies that such a reality is represented as being able to belong to an endless multitude of men. An abstract notion is thus not necessarily universal, but it may become so. If we bear this in mind, we shall be able to understand better the scholastic solution of the problem of Universals.

We said above that there is no such thing as a general image. Here we say that there is such a thing as a general idea — in fact, that all ideas are general. There is no contradiction here. But those who are unaccustomed to introspection are often unconscious of the vital distinction between image and idea which underlies our two statements. The average man labels his mental content as ‘images’ and ‘ideas’ indiscriminately. Yet reflection will show that they are quite different, and that the one is general while the other is not. This will be made clear from the example of a geometrical theorem— for instance, that the angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles. We go on at once to picture a triangle, and we say, “Let ABC be a triangle,” and so on. But this image of a triangle is a particular one, whereas our reasoning applies to any and all triangles, existent or only possible. It is thus obvious that the idea or concept triangle is abstract and general, whereas the image is not. The image is here simply a help to our mental consideration and reflection.

The knowledge of reality by means of abstract and universal notions is quite distinct from the particular, individualized knowledge of the external and internal senses. The Schoolmen emphasize this difference by attributing abstract knowledge to the intelligence (intellectus) or reason (ratio). The prominent place occupied in scholasticism by this doctrine of abstract and general knowledge, which we may describe as ‘Psychological Spiritualism’ or better still as Intellectualism, gives the system a definite place in the brilliant group to which belong Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Plotinus, and in later times, Descartes, Leibnitz, Kant.

Abstraction is the privilege and the distinctive act of man. It is likewise the central activity of our conscious life. The intellectualism, which results from this theory, has an influence over all the branches of philosophy, and we shall see that the rights of human reason are proclaimed and defended at every stage of thought.

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Different Kinds of Knowledge, Part 2: Two Irreducible Types of Knowledge. Knowledge of Particular Objects and its Forms.

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

II. Two irreducible types of knowledge. Knowledge of particular objects and its forms. It is of great importance to note that scholasticism distinguishes between two quite different kinds of knowledge: sense knowledge, and intellectual knowledge. In the case of the first — the perception by sight of an oak tree, for instance — everything that I grasp is particularized or individualized, and intimately bound up with conditions of space and time. What I see is this oak tree, with a trunk of this particular form, with a bark of this degree of roughness, with these particular branches and these leaves, in this particular spot in the forest, and which came from a particular acorn at a particular moment of time. If I touch the tree with my hand, the resistance which I encounter is this resistance, just as the sound which I hear in striking the bark is this sound. Our external senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) put us in contact either with something which is a proper and peculiar object of one sense and which each sense perceives to the exclusion of all the others (sensibile proprium), for instance, color in the case of sight; or else the common object (sensibile commune) of more than one sense, for instance, shape in the case of sight and touch. But in every case the reality perceived by sense is always endowed with individuality.

The same is true of those sensations which are called internal, and which originate, in the scholastic system of classification, from sense-memory (a), from sense nconsciousness (b), from instinct (c), or from imagination (d). These are simply so many labels attached to psychological facts which have been duly observed and noted. A few examples will make this clear.

(a) Sense-memory. When I have ceased to look at the oak tree, there remains in me an after-image, which is said to be ‘preserved’ in memory, since I am able to ‘reproduce’ it. We thus possess in ourselves a storehouse of after-images received through the senses, which can be reproduced either spontaneously, or else at the command of the will. It is clear that these vestiges of past sensations, retained and reproduced in this way, are individualized just as the original sensation. If I picture to myself an oak tree, it will always be a picture of one individual oak tree. In the same way, when we realize that a sense perception, or a conscious act of our physiological life, has a certain duration, or takes place after another activity, this realization, which itself involves sense-memory, is once more individual and singular, and presents us with this particular time. The recognition of past time involves reference to particular psychological events, following each other.

(b) Sense-consciousness. Moreover, when I look at an oak tree, something in me tells me that I see. I am aware that I am seeing. My sense perception is followed by ‘sense-consciousness,’ and the content of this sense-consciousness is particularized. Again, the complex sense cognition of this oak as an object is the result of the coordination of many sense perceptions coming from different senses: the height of the tree, the roughness of its bark, the hollow sound which its trunk gives when struck. There is reason to attribute to the higher animals and to man a central sense, which combines the external sense perceptions, compares them, and discriminates between them. But in this case also, the result of these operations is individualized, and if we compare for instance two complex sense perceptions of oak trees, each is itself and not the other.

(c) Instinct. We can apply the same to the way in which we recognize that a certain situation is dangerous for us or otherwise. We possess a discriminating power which estimates certain concrete connections between things. We naturally flee from fire, and a shipwrecked man clutches instinctively at a plank, much in the same way as a lamb looks upon a wolf as dangerous, and a bird considers a particular branch of a tree as a suitable resting-place for its nest. This act of sense knowledge always relates to a particular, concrete situation.^

(d) Imagination. Again, the constructive imagination, which takes the materials supplied by sense memory and combines them into all sorts of fantastic images—when I imagine, for instance, oak trees as high as mountains, and monstrosities half lion half man — deals with what is particularized. What modern psychologists might call a composite image is to the Schoolmen simply a particular image, made up of characters derived from other particular images.

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A Simple Summa: The Divine Names

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 12, 2010

The following is taken from The Compendium of the Summa Theologiæ, a summary of the Summa authored by St Thomas himself. Sadly, the Saint died before he was able to finish the work. Previous posts on the compendium can be found here. The pertinent Question and Articles of the Summa which are treated in this post can be found here.

God can be named by us only from the analogy of creatures, not from what He is in Himself; but we name Him as He is known to us through creation by way of excellence, and by way of negation, that is, in an affirmative and negative sense. In this life we do not know the Essence of God as He is, and because we know Him as imperfectly represented by creatures, all such names are imperfect and are inadequate to express the Divine Substance. So when we say “God is good” the meaning is not, God is the Cause of good, or God is not bad; it means that what is called good in creatures pre-exists in God in a higher sense. For it does not follow that goodness is attributed to God because He is the Cause of goodness; rather, conversely, because He is Himself good He diffuses goodness in creatures, as St. Augustine says: “Inasmuch as He is good, we are.”

Some names are properly applied to God because of their meaning, and to Him first and more properly than to creatures, such as goodness, life, etc. These, indeed, are perfections existing in God in a more eminent manner  than in creatures, but in respect of their mode of signification they cannot be, strictly speaking, applied to God, because such a mode is on a level with creatures, and such perfections are understood by us as they exist in creatures, and are named by us as they are thus understood. Although the names attributed to God signify one, still they signify it in a multiform and diverse aspect, and are, therefore, not synonymous; for perfections exist united and absolutely in God, whereas creatures can receive them only in a divided and multiform manner.

Nor are those terms which are applied to God and creatures used in the same sense, and the reason is because an effect which does not equal the force of the cause is a recipient of that, divided and manifold, which in the cause is simple and uniform. Thus in a man to be wise means something distinct from the essence of man. But neither are they used equivocally (i. e, in a wholly different sense) of God and creatures, for were that so, nothing could be known or inferred from creatures about God, contrary to that shown above; it is, therefore, by way of analogy, i. e. proportion, that the same terms are applied to God and to creatures, for there is a certain orderly relation of the creature to God, as He is the Principle and Cause in Whom pre-exist excellently all created perfections. This way stands between the two, pure equivocation and simple univocation; forasmuch as in analogy there is not one idea only, as in the univocal order, nor that entire difference which marks the equivocal order, since there is signified in it diversity of proportion in relation to the unit.

Names which are applied metaphorically to God are derived from creatures, and not from God, forasmuch as when they are spoken of God they only signify His likeness to certain creatures, as when we apply to God the name of “Lion” we signify that the strength of God shown in His works is like the lion’s strength in its sphere of action; while, on the contrary, what is signified by the name belongs first to God rather than to the creature, for perfections flow from God to creatures. When we consider the imposition of the name, however, we give it first to those we know first, to creatures.

Names also implying temporal relations to creatures are assigned to God, for although He is outside the order of the universe, all creatures being ordered to Him as their End, and not, conversely, He to them, they bear a relation to Him, while God has no relation to creatures, except as a notion, for God and creatures are not of the same order. Thus the names of “Lord,” “Redeemer,” and others like them, implying temporal relations, may be given to God.

The very name of “God” belongs to the Divine Nature as regards that to which it is given, but as regards that from which it is taken, it expresses effect or operation, being derived from the idea of universal Providence, for when we speak of God by this name we mean to express that He takes care of all. And as this name is used to signify the Divine Nature, which is not multiple, it cannot be communicated in reality, except only in the .opinion of those who assert there are many gods; yet still it is communicable, not in its full meaning, but according to some kind of likeness, as those are called gods who participate in the Divine Likeness, while if it were a name that signified not the Nature but the Personality of God, such a name would be wholly incommunicable. And this name of “God” is not applied to God univocally nor equivocally, that is in quite the same or quite a different sense, but analogically, by participation, and according to nature and notion: for when we name God by participation, we mean by the name “God” anything that has the likeness of the true God; and when we call an idol god, we mean something that men think is God: thus the meaning of the name has various aspects, though one is contained in the rest, from which we infer that it is used analogically. The name “He is” or “I am ” is most strictly applicable to God, for it signifies not form but His very Existence, and in God alone is His
Essence His own very Existence, and everything else is denominated by its form; whilst it is evident that the Essence of God cannot be understood by us in this life as it is in itself, and hence everything that is understood in any explicit way falls short of God as He is in Himself. Hence the more extended and less determined names are the more suitably applied to Him Who is the
Infinite ocean of substance and indetermined. Moreover, it is plain that because existence signifies the present, it is most properly said of God, Who knows neither past nor future. And further, because God in Himself is One and Simple, and we cannot see Him as He is, we understand Him according to different conceptions, for we cannot see Him as He is, but we understand Him in various ways that correspond, as we know, to one and the same. Hence the notional plurality in our minds represents the predicate and subject in that guise; nevertheless, unity is realized in the mind of composition.

Posted in Catholic, Dogmatic Theology, Logic, Philosophy, Quotes, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday Oct 10-Saturday Oct 16

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 9, 2010

Some posts are prepared in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. I hope to continue posting on 1 Corinthians, these will be listed below as I complete them.

SUNDAY, OCT 10: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Resources for Sunday Mass, Oct 10. A weekly feature of this blog. Resources for next Sunday’s Mass, Oct 17, will be posted on Wednesday.

Last Weeks Posts: Oct 3-Oct 9.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Tim 3:14-4:2 for Sunday Mass, Oct 17. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 2 Tim 3:14-4:2 for Sunday Mass, Oct 17. Available 12:15 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 18:1-8 for Sunday Mass, Oct 17. Available 12:20 AM EST.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Ephesians 6:10-17 for the Extraordinary Rite of  Sunday Mass, Oct 17. Available 12:25 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 18:23-35 for the Extraordinary Rite of Sunday Mass, Oct 17. Available 12:30 AM EST.

Pope Benedict XVI on Psalm 121 for Sunday Mass, Oct 17.

Father Callan on 1 Corinthians 7:10-24.


Mass Readings.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s First Reading. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Father Boylan on Today’s Psalm (113). Available 12:25 AM EST.

Benedict XVI on Today’s Psalm (113).

St Augustine on Today’s Psalm (113).

The Temple in the Gospel of Mark.


Mass Readings.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s First Reading (Gal 5:1-6). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 11:37-41). Available 12:10 AM EST.

A Simple Summa: The Divine Names.



Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Gal 5:18-25). Available 12:05 AM EST.


Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 11:47-54). Available 12:05 AM EST.

FRIDAY, OCT 15: Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.

Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 12:1-7). Available 12:05 AM EST.


Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 12:8-12). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Posted in BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Dogmatic Theology, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on Ephesians, Notes on Galatians, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Philosophy, Quotes, Scripture, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Philosophy Of The Sophists

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2010

Permission was granted to post the following copyrighted essay which appears on The Radical Academy website.  The article citation, copyright notice and page URL appears at the end of the essay.

I. Background Information

The second period of Greek philosophy occupies the entire fourth century before Christ. The problem which claims the interest of thinkers during this period is no longer the cosmological question, but man in his concreteness, namely, in his knowledge, his morality, his rights.

The causes which determined the above passage were many, and the most important of these were the following: (1) The Greek victory over the Persian army, which showed how much a small but cultured people can do against a numberless but disordered multitude of barbarians; (2) Contact with other populations living in different countries and practicing different customs, and the resultant investigation of the real value of morality and justice; (3) The democratic constitution of Athens, by virtue of which every citizen could aspire to some position in public administration and, with this end in view, the necessity of everyone’s developing his personality through culture and education.

These facts determined a crisis in Greek life at the end of the fifth century before Christ. The exponents of this crisis were the Sophists, molders of thought who, distrusting the results of the preceding thinkers, intended to educate youth according to the new exigencies of the times.

The Sophists centered their efforts on the problem of knowledge as well as on the problem of morality and justice. This is why Socrates rose against them and established once and for all the fact that true knowledge means knowing through concepts. Never, perhaps, had the human mind made a greater advance in the philosophical field than that which was achieved after Socrates had shown in what true knowledge consists.

First, Plato developed the Socratic concept, and finally Aristotle systematized the entire body of Greek thought. The results obtained in this period were to influence all subsequent ages.

The teaching of Socrates was to give rise to the Minor Socratic Schools, which in turn were to give origin to Stoicism and Epicureanism. The thought of Plato was revived in the later Academies, and in particular in the last important movement of Greek thought, Neo-Platonism. The philosophy of Aristotle was later enriched by Medieval thought, and is still accepted as the traditional philosophy or perennial philosophy even in this contemporary age.

II. General Notions

Those who impersonated this new state of mind were the Sophists, philosophers from all parts of the Grecian world in search of fortune. They were said to possess and encyclopedic knowledge, and they offered, at a price (for the first time requested for teaching the liberal arts), to instruct youth in the art of governing.

The means was oratory, in which some (such as Protagoras, and above all Gorgias) became most highly admired. In fine, it was the aim of the Sophists to create in youth the ability to argue over the proper use of words (Eristic Method), or their misuse (Sophistic Method). Plato, implacable enemy of these philosophers, was the first to call them by the name of Sophists, which has remained their title in history.

In the picture of history, Sophistic thought can be considered as a transition from the old cosmological concepts to the new ideas about man. Its importance is slight in so far as, both in the problem of knowledge and in that of morals and justice, it logically resulted in Skepticism, as we shall soon see. However, one cannot deny the Sophists the merit of having recalled philosophy to an analysis of the subject; and though Sophism remained incipient, it would in the immediate process of time culminate in the high speculations of Plato and Aristotle.

III. Theory of Knowledge

The Pre-Socratics had turned all their attention to the physical world (cosmology) and in a diversity of opinions they (with the exception of Democritus) had shown that the world has a divine origin. In this search, man, even if he had not been completely passed over, had been considered as one of the many phenomena of the physical world.

The disagreement among philosophers who had not succeeded in establishing what had been the germ element or elements of the world, and the changed conditions of the time combined to direct the attention of philosophers away from the object and toward the subject, from the world to man, from cosmology to psychology.

The Sophists were the first to show complete indifference to the problem of the world of matter and to center their efforts upon man. But man can be an object of study in his sense knowledge as well as in that more profound one of reason. The Sophists stopped at the first, at the immediacy of sense impressions. (The analysis of reason was reserved to Socrates and his disciples.)

The Sophists stopped at the data of experience, at empirical and not rational knowledge, and from this point of view they wished to judge the world of reality. With them was born relativism of knowledge and Skepticism: the man-measure of Protagoras, and the “nothing exists” of Gorgias.

In the fragment of Protagoras which Plato has preserved for us, it is stated:

“Man is the measure of all things, of those that are in so far as they are,
and those that are not in so far as they are not.”

From this he deduces that the subjective phenomena of our sensations become judges of reality. There is no reality of itself, but only reality as it appears to us:

“Man is the measure of what exists.”

Thus to two different individuals the same reality can appear in opposite aspects; e.g., air is hot for one, cold for another; both sensations are true and both denote states of reality. Everything is relative. Reality being thus reduced to the subjectivism of experience, it was easy to make the transition of Gorgias to complete Skepticism.

“Nothing exists,” said Gorgias; “if something does exist, we cannot know it; if we come to know it, we cannot teach it to others.” This transition from the relativism of Protagoras to Skepticism seems logical. If reality is relative to the knowledge of empirical data, there is no reality of itself. Hence nothing exists. If it should exist, it would be impossible for it to be known by us as it is in itself, because we can be witnesses only of the impressions in their sensible immediacy, and no one assures us that this is representative of reality. Nor can we teach others what we know, since everyone has a different manner of feeling, and the manner of feeling of the master is not the same as that of his students.

Hence the only thing remaining is the use of the word, and Gorgias affirmed that all things can appear true and just, if oratorical power is capable of revealing things as true and just, beyond every pretension of reality of content.

IV. Ethics and Right

The traditional belief of the Greeks had been that their cities had received their laws from some divinity, protector of the city, and that good (happiness) consists in conforming one’s life to these laws, accepted as divine and eternal. The Sophists shook this faith to its very roots.

As in the case of the problem of knowledge, by defending relativism they ended in Skepticism; so also in the question of morals, by the same subjectivist prejudice they end in utilitarianism and hedonism. Thus, that is good which satisfies one’s instincts and passions.

The belief in immutable principles upon which ethics may be founded is a prejudice and often an impediment which it is necessary to remove. The good, as experience shows, consists in securing for oneself the greatest possible quantity of possessions, without regard for the means used to attain them; for these goods can satisfy the instincts and the passions in which happiness consists. To strive to strengthen one’s personality in order to surpass others in violence and in the contest or struggle for earthly goods — this is the moral ideal of the Sophist.

The Sophist also violently attack the traditional belief about right — that derivation from principles based on justice — and they substitute the concept of force for that of justice. From the moment changed political conditions and the participation of the people in democratic power began to bring about the change of many laws, the Sophists profited from the situation not only to discredit positive and political right, but by nature they did not mean the rational part of man, but his instincts and passions. Hence for them right is that which succeeds in imposing itself through force, or an imposition established by force and violence.

Men by nature are not equal; there are the strong and the weak, and the moment right consists in force it becomes the office of the strong to command and make laws; the weak must obey. The Sophist Thrasymachus, in the first book of Plato’s Republic, maintains that natural law “is the right of the stronger.” It is the strong man who, despising all laws advanced by the weak in the name of justice, imposes his will, which becomes right, as Callicles maintains in Plato’s Gorgias.

Here we are at the same extremism that we noted in the Sophists’ doctrine. Such extremism must have been pleasing to the youth of Athens in the time of Pericles. All young men were anxious to obtain offices which would assure them wealth and pleasure. Sophistic teaching, by battering all the orders of ethics and justice, opened up to men a way that made possible and justified the use of all deception and the most violent passions. Thus is explained the popular favor that surrounded certain Sophists, such as Protagoras, who was received with triumph and entertained as a guest in the homes of the most noted Athenians.

So also is explained the noble mission of Socrates who, to restore the values of a morality sacred and inviolable because based upon reason and not unruly passions, spent his entire existence, and not in vain. See: The Philosophy of Socrates.

Source: “The Philosophy Of The Sophists,” Center for Applied Philosophy: The Radical Academy, n.d.,

The Radical Academy Homepage.

Posted in Logic, Philosophy, Quotes | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

May 30~Resources For Trinity Sunday Mass (Both Forms of the Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2010

This post contains resources to help prepare for this Sunday’s Mass.  These resources include both Forms of the Roman Rite.  At the end of the post I’ve included a few links to online theological works for those who may need to “brush up” on their knowledge of the Trinity.

Readings From the NAB.

Haydock Bible CommentaryReadings from the Douay-Rheims Bible followed by notes from the Old Haydock Commentary.

Cornelius a Lapide on John 16:12-15Notes on the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday by the famed 17th Century Jesuit scholar.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 16:12-15Commentary from the Fathers compiled by St Thomas Aquinas.

Bernardine de Piconio on Romans 5:1-5Notes on this Sunday’s Epistle reading from a popular 17th century commentator/Capuchin Monk.

Bishop MacEvily on Romans 5:1-5 for Trinity Sunday.

Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday. Latin and English in Parallel columns.

Word Sunday: Readings and notes.

  • FIRST READING The book of Proverbs spoke highly of wisdom. This virtue came from God and led others back to God. It was a virtue to seek and cherish.
  • PSALM Psalm 8 spoke to the majesty of God and the awesome display of power in creation.
  • SECOND READING In Romans 5, St. Paul spoke to the Christian life, a life built upon a hope that endures suffering. A life in the Trinity.
  • GOSPEL The gospel of John described what the Spirit would do for the believer. The Spirit will bring a person to the truth, not a philosophic or scientific truth, but a true relationship with the Father through the Son.

The Most Holy TrinityBrief audio podcast by Dr. Scott Hahn.  Highlights major themes of the readings.

God Has SpokenAudio homily by Fr Robert Barron.

Thoughts From The Early ChurchAn excerpt St Hilary of Poitiers’ ON THE TRINITY.

Scripture In DepthUsually does a good job of relating the readings together.


St John Chrysostom on Romans 11:33-36 For Trinity Sunday.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 28:18-20 for Trinity SundayReading in the Extraordinary Form of the Rite.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes for Trinity SundayUseful for meditation or further study.

The following links are to pages in an online book.  You may have to scroll down slightly to find the beginning of the sermon.  You may also wish  to use the zoom feature to increase the text size for easier reading.  The feature is located at the top left side of page.

The Mystery of the Most Holy TrinityHomily on the Epistle Reading.  Note that this homily differs from the one below, though they share the same title.

The Commission and Promises Christ Gave to His DisciplesHomily on the Gospel.

The Mystery of the Most Holy TrinityThis is a dogmatic homily and differs from the one above.

The Blessing of the Most Holy TrinityA liturgical sketch.

The Holy Sign of the CrossA symbolical sketch.

The Worship of the Most Holy Trinity. a dogmatic/liturgical sketch.

The Ceremonies of BaptismA liturgica.l/moral sketch.


Theology And Sanity Chapters 6, 7, & 8 of Frank Sheed’s famous introduction to Catholic Theology.  This work is still under copyright in the US.

Three Persons in One GodFrom God, The Teacher of Mankind by Michael Mueller.

Outlines of Dogmatic TheologyA series of dogmatic essays on various points of the doctrine.

A Manual of Catholic TheologyA condensed version of Matthias Scheeben’s famous work.

The Divine Trinity: A Dogmatic TreatiseA complete book on the subject.

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Books, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Dogmatic Theology, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Matthew, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Philosophy, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

On Misrepresenting the Thomistic Five Ways

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 3, 2010

An online article by Professor Joseph A. Buijs looks at common error concerning the famous five ways.  Here is what the abstract states:

A number of recent discussions of atheism allude to cosmological arguments in support of theism. The five ways of Aquinas are classic instances, offered as rational justification for theistic belief. However, the five ways receive short shrift. They are curtly dismissed as vacuous, arbitrary, and even insulting to reason. I contend that the atheistic critique of the Thomistic five ways, and similarly formulated cosmological arguments, argues at cross purposes because it misrepresents them. I first lay out the context, intent and structure of Aquinas’ arguments, then show in what way recent discussions misrepresent them, and finally conclude with a comment on metaphysical orientation, which I take to be central, not only to a proper understanding of the Thomistic five ways but generally to the debate between atheism and theism on the existence of God.

Read The Article (pdf).

Posted in Catholic, Logic, Philosophy, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentes | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Alasdair MacIntyre: A Select History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2009

Posted in Books, Philosophy, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentes | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

1,007 And Counting

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 16, 2009

My simple list of links to ONLINE WORKS BY AND ABOUT AQUINAS has topped 1,ooo views on Scribd.  My follow up to this, MORE ONLINE WORKS ABOUT AQUINAS has now been viewed 649 times.  My list of links to the PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE MORNING AND EVENING PSALMS has been viewed 987 times.  My personal COMMENTARY ON THE PROPHET AMOS has been viewed 883.

Posted in Aquinas morality, BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Logic, NOTES ON AMOS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Philosophy, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Simple Summa: The Divine Unity

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2009

The following post is taken from A Compendium Of The Summa Theological Of St Thomas Aquinas.  The Compendium was done by St Thomas himself, but he was only able to finish the first part (pars prima) before his death.  Previous posts on this work can be found here.

The Unity of God is dealt with in Question 11 of the Summa, in four articles.  Ive provided links to those articles in the text below.

ST 1, 11, 1 One is convertible with Being, and adds nothing to it but the negation of division.  Everything is either simple or compound; what is simple is undivided and indivisible; what is compound has no existence whilst its parts are divided, but only when they make and compose the compound; hence the existence of anything maintains its being accordingly as it preseres it unity.

ST 1, 11, 2 One is opposed to many, but in different ways, for one, which is the beginning of numbers, is opposed to multitude as the measure is to the thing measured, because One represents the first measure, and number is multitude measured by one, while One, as it is interchangeable with Being, is opposed to multitude by way of privation of multitude, as the undivided is to the divided.

ST 1, 11, 3 God is One, for that which causes a thing to be singular cannot be communicated to many; and this belongs to God, for God Himself is His own Nature; hence “God” and “this God” are the same.  Wherefore there cannot be many gods, which is also evident from the fact that God comprehends in Himself the whole perfections of existence.  If there were several gods, something would belong to one and not to another, and so he in whom was privation of anything would not be simply perfect.  The same is likewise proved by the unity of the world, for one is the cause of one, and things are better arranged by one than by many, and are brought into uniform order.  ST 1, 11, 4 Thus God is pre-eminently One, because He is pre-eminently Being, inasmuch as He has not any existence restricted to any other nature, but He is Himself His own Existing Essence, entirely indeterminate and absolutely undivided in act and potentiality, for He is in every way Simple.  Hence God is pre-eminently One.

Further Reading:

Summa Contra Gentiles, ch. 42, vol. 1

Companion to the Summa, Vol. 1 by Walter Farrell, O.P.  This chapter summarizes articles 3-11 of the first part of the Summa.

Posted in Books, Compendium of the Summa, Dogmatic Theology, Philosophy, Quotes, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentes | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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