Monday, October 13, 2008

Wisdom from…

ANDREW OF CRETE (660–720): By the cross the martyrs were strengthened

We who worship Christ on the cross must try to grasp the greatness of his power and all the wonders he has wrought through the cross on our behalf; the holy David says: Our God and eternal King has wrought salvation throughout the world. For through the cross the nations were caught as in a net and the seeds of faith were sown everywhere. With the cross, as though with a plow, the disciples of Christ cultivated the unfruitful nature of humankind, revealed the Church's ever-green pastures, and gathered in an abundant harvest of believers in Christ. By the cross the martyrs were strengthened, and as they fell they smote down those who struck them. Through the cross Christ became known, and the Church of the faithful, with the scriptures ever open before her, introduces us to this same Christ, the Son of God, who is truly God and truly Lord, and who cries out: Any who wish to come after me must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
(Oratio 1 in exaltatione crucis: PG 97, 1041-1045.)

Andrew was a Damascene monk in Jerusalem who represented his patriarch at the Third Council of Constantinople. He was a remarkable orator and one of the principal hymnographers of the Eastern Church.

ST. AUGUSTINE: The Inner Voice

Consider this great mystery. The sound of my words strikes the ears, and the Master is within! Do not suppose that any human is the teacher of another. We can admonish by the sound of our voice; but unless there is one who teaches on the inside, the sound we make is futile. I, for my part, have spoken to all; but those to whom the Anointing within does not speak, those whom the Holy Spirit within does not teach, go back untaught.
-- Sermon on 1 John 3, 12

Prayer. Instruct me, Lord, and command what you will. But first heal me and open my ears that I may hear your words.
-- Soliloquies 1, 5


[1] The way of making truth known is not always the same, and, as the Philosopher has very well said, “it belongs to an educated man to seek such certitude in each thing as the nature of that thing allows.” …

[2] There is a twofold mode of truth in what we profess about God. Some truths about God exceed all the ability of the human reason. … But there are some truths which the natural reason also is able to reach.

[3] That there are certain truths about God that totally surpass man’s ability appears with the greatest evidence. Since, indeed, the principle of all knowledge that the reason perceives about some thing is the understanding of the very substance of that being (for according to Aristotle “what a thing is” is the principle of demonstration) [Posterior Analytics II, 3], it is necessary that the way in which we understand the substance of a thing determines the way in which we know what belongs to it. Hence, if the human intellect comprehends the substance of some thing, for example, that of a stone or of a triangle, no intelligible characteristic belonging to that thing surpasses the grasp of the human reason. But this does not happen to us in the case of God. For the human intellect is not able to reach a comprehension of the divine substance through its natural power. For, according to its manner of knowing in the present life, the intellect depends on the sense for the origin of knowledge; and so those things that do not fall under the senses cannot be grasped by the human intellect except in so far as the knowledge of them is gathered from sensible things. Now, sensible things cannot lead the human intellect to the point of seeing in them the nature of the divine substance; for sensible things are effects that fall short of the power of their cause. Yet, beginning with sensible things, our intellect is led to the point of knowing about God that He exists, and other such characteristics that must be attributed to the First Principle. There are, consequently, some intelligible truths about God that are open to the human reason; but there are others that absolutely surpass its power.

[4] We may easily see the same point from the gradation of intellects. … He who has the superior intellect understands many things that the other cannot grasp at all. Such is the case with a very simple person who cannot at all grasp the subtle speculations of philosophy. But the intellect of an angel surpasses the human intellect much more than the intellect of the greatest philosopher surpasses the intellect of the most uncultivated simple person…. For the angel knows God on the basis of a more noble effect than does man; and this by as much as the substance of an angel, through which the angel in his natural knowledge is led to the knowledge of God, is nobler than sensible things and even than the soul itself…. The divine intellect surpasses the angelic intellect much more than the angelic surpasses the human. For the divine intellect is in its capacity equal to its substance, and therefore it understands fully what it is…. But by his natural knowledge the angel does not know what God is, since the substance itself of the angel, through which he is led to the knowledge of God, is an effect that is not equal to the power of its cause. … Just as, therefore, it would he the height of folly for a simple person to assert that what a philosopher proposes is false on the ground that he himself cannot understand it, so (and even more so) it is the acme of stupidity for a man to suspect as false what is divinely revealed through the ministry of the angels simply because it cannot be investigated by reason.
(Summa Contra Gentiles I, 3)


Let us consider for a moment our Redeemer on the cross, where He died for us by a death more loving than love itself! Ah, why do we not cast ourselves in spirit upon Him, to die upon the cross with Him Who for love of us has truly willed to die? "I took hold of him and would not let him go...." [Song 3:4]
(T.L.G. Book 7, Ch. 8; O. V, p. 35)


MODERN Nonconformist newspapers distinguish themselves by suppressing precisely those nouns and adjectives which the founders of Nonconformity distinguished themselves by flinging at kings and queens.

No comments: