Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wisdom from...


To reign in heaven simply means exercising a single power with God and all the holy angels and saints through being so united with them in love as to want only what they want. Love God more than yourself, then, and already you will begin to have what you desire to possess fully in heaven. Be at one with God and with other men and women -- so long as they are not at variance with God -- and already you will begin to reign with God and all the saints. ... So, if you want to be a king in heaven, love God and other people as you should and then you will deserve to become what you desire.
(Ep. 112: Opera Omnia, 3, 244-246.)

Anselm was archbishop of Canterbury and made an outstanding contribution to the speculative thought of his day.

ST. AUGUSTINE: Light to My Lamp

Remember, even those who live justly do so not through human merits but through divine helps. No persons live justly unless they have been made just; and humans are made just by him who can never be unjust. As a lamp is not lighted by itself, so the human soul does not give light to itself but calls out to God: "You indeed, O Lord, give light to my lamp."
-- Commentary on Psalm 110, 2

Prayer. You will light my lamp, Lord my God. I stand in the darkness of my sins, but my shadows will be dispelled by the beam of your wisdom and your face will shine upon me.
-- Commentary on Psalm 66, 4


[1] ... [T]he intention of the wise man ought to be directed toward the twofold truth of divine things, and toward the destruction of the errors that are contrary to this truth. One kind of divine truth the investigation of the reason is competent to reach, whereas the other surpasses every effort of the reason. I am speaking of a “twofold truth of divine things,” not on the part of God Himself, Who is truth one and simple, but from the point of view of our knowledge, which is variously related to the knowledge of divine things.

[2] Now, to make the first kind of divine truth known, we must proceed through demonstrative arguments, by which our adversary may become convinced. However, since such arguments are not available for the second kind of divine truth, our intention should not be to convince our adversary by arguments: it should be to answer his arguments against the truth; for, as we have shown, the natural reason cannot be contrary to the truth of faith. The sole way to overcome an adversary of divine truth is from the authority of Scripture.... For that which is above the human reason we believe only because God has revealed it. Nevertheless, there are certain likely arguments that should be brought forth in order to make divine truth known ... for the training and consolation of the faithful, and not with any idea of refuting those who are adversaries. For the very inadequacy of the arguments would rather strengthen them in their error, since they would imagine that our acceptance of the truth of faith was based on such weak arguments.

[3] ... We shall first seek to make known that truth which faith professes and reason investigates. This we shall do by bringing forward both demonstrative and probable arguments, some of which were drawn from the books of the philosophers and of the saints, through which truth is strengthened and its adversary overcome [Books I-III]. Then, in order to follow a development from the more manifest to the less manifest, we shall proceed to make known that truth which surpasses reason, answering the objections of its adversaries and setting forth the truth of faith by probable arguments and by authorities, to the best of our ability [Book IV].

[4] We are aiming, then, to set out following the way of the reason and to inquire into what the human reason can investigate about God. ...
(SCG, I, 9)


It is better to yield to the views of others than to try to force them to follow our desires and opinions. The human mind is a mirror that reflects all the colors that are presented to it; do not imitate the chameleon, that takes on all colors except white. Oh yes, condescension not accompanied by candidness is very dangerous and cannot be shunned sufficiently.
(Camus, The Spirit of Saint Francis de Sales, I, p. 296)


CARLYLE said that men were mostly fools. Christianity, with a surer and more reverent realism, says that they are all fools. This doctrine is sometimes called the doctrine of original sin. It may also be described as the doctrine of the equality of men.


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