Tuesday, October 24, 2006
A nominalist is someone who sees a lack of universals, that it is not objective forms that give things their nature, but the words that we give them. So, a nominalist would say that when they see what most of us know of as a book, the meaning of what a book is is up to what he decides to call it. It's the word that gives meaning, it has nothing to do with the reality of the thing itself.
So, in order to over this quickly, I will give a very quick crash course in Ockham's thought.
Ockham believes in the existence of terms and believes they correspond to reality. I will start from the lower and go up to the higher level, as he has a definite hierarchy of terms.
The lowest is written terms. Written terms signify (they point one towards) spoken terms. Spoken terms signify mental terms. Now this is where people think that Ockham stops. That it is mental terms that give meaning to everything. But in fact there is one more level of terms...the term itself, that is, the idea of what the thing is. This is what is not expressible in any sort of language, whether it be written, verbal, or mental, it is pure idea. It is this idea that corresponds to reality. Thus the term as such gets its meaning only from the thing to which it corresponds to. Thus the term of what a book is, the idea of what a book is to use a different word, is only meaningful because there are actual books out in the world to correspond to. Thus there is a meaning in his language.
And multiple objects can participate (to use a platonic word) in the common idea of book. There are objective universals out there in which one can get the idea of book as the particular idea of a specific book, for example, signifies the universal idea of book, it points towards that universal idea of the book. It, in a certain sense, corresponds to that objective reality.
Any comments on this? Am I clear?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Here's my profile...if you have it let me know and I'll add you to my list on librarything and check out your library.
I should be posting a bit more as time goes on now...life SEEMS to be slowing down. I'm hoping to post, either tomorrow or on Saturday, a post on why Ockham is not a nominalist.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
When one looks back at history, one sees the greatest achievements in history in times in which Faith and Reason are embrassed in their fullest. It is interesting to note to that the great cultural movements of Western History are all surrounded with the creation of schools.
The first period is the Patristic Period...in which the great Fathers of the Church defended the True Faith not using just Faith (as many of our Protestant brothers and sisters think) but with Reason. The greatest, of course, is St Augustine who states that belief is what gives rise to a proper use of reason. As St Anselm, in the later Middle Ages states "I believe so that I may understand". Faith is, of course, first, but faith is NOT irrational, but is in fact purely rational...for the Divine Logos, the Word, the Divine Reason, Christ, came down to Earth and took on human flesh. It is in the Incarnation that Reason and Faith come together...for before Christ, we see great thinkers like Plato and Aristotle who attained great truths with the use of reason, but were not able to come to THE TRUTH without the aid of faith. Now, it is easy to note that there were no "schools" during the Patristic period...things were still too scattered, but there were great centers of thought, especially in the East. The school was in the Church, in which the great homilies were given by the greatest of Saints. It is no surprise that St Augustine is ALWAYS studied as one of the greatest minds of history. St John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouth, taught people in the setting of the Church and through his writings as well...it was not in a formalized school, but the Church existed to educate those in the faith they accepted.
The next period is the 9th century Renaissance which, in my humble opinion, begins on Christmas Night in the year 800 in which Charlemagne, Charles the Great, or, as I lovingly call him "Chuck" was crowned by the Pope as the Holy Roman Empire. This was the light that the West needed. There was no such thing as a "dark ages", for that implies a total lack of advancement. Indeed, the period between 500 and 800 AD had less achievements, but that was due to the isolation of towns. There were still great thinkers like Boethius and Pseudo-Dionysius who had a great impact on thought in the Western Tradition, but I am getting off my topic here....
Chuck saw a problem. He saw lack of education in the clergy, he saw a lack of use of the gift of reason in the people in general in fact. It is thanks to Chuck that the idea of a formalized schooling system first comes into place. Chuck is responsible for the creation of the Liberal Arts...the study of Mathematics, Philosophy, Geometry and so forth, in which the Liberal Arts came under 2 titles, the Quadrivium and the Trivium (4 and 3 respectively). In order for the proper training of the priests, Chuck created the ideas of Cathedral Schools, the first VERY formal schooling system (though it MAY be possible to prove me wrong on that, but I argue for it). It is thank to him that we have Capital and minuscule letters in our alphabet and spacing in order to have a better flow on our page...there were numerous other advances as well, including an embracing of Classical thought and a re-immergance of the copying of scripts, to which we can thank for many of the books we have in our possession nowadays.
The next period is the 12th Century Renaissance, and guess which intellectual institution takes its rise from this great cultural advancement? The University. THe ideas of Law (to which the University of Bologna was so popular for), the philosophical and theological and many other traditions have their roots in the University. In fact, it's because our legal system has lost its roots in the Western idea of law (to which BXVI has been warning us so drastically about, the distancing ourselves from our Western roots) that our legal system is now in trouble, because it is so far beyond its original purpose.
The ideas about just wages, fair trade, and many other ideas we take for granted all have their roots in the 12th Century Renaissance, to which was all formed in the, you guessed it, the intellectual sphere of the University. It is there that ideas were formed and molded and put into practice. The thinkers formed the ideas for the way to live life for everyone. And this was all done in the name of truth.
In fact, the greatest common thing between these 3 periods is the fact that there was one common purpose: To discover the Truth in all things, because God who is the Logos, the Divine Reason, came into the world, and so, necessarily, there is a reason to everything in the world. By faith in the Logos, we use our reason to come to the great truths of everything.
I argue to that our society has yet to see such a remarkable and exciting time as those 3 periods. We can reach it again, if we listen to the cry of Pope Benedict, and unite ourselves in our true Western Roots, which is the Divine Logos, and thus would be able to pursue, once again, reason through the guidance of faith in the Truth, which is Christ and His Church.
Monday, October 02, 2006
"If an angel could take me back in time, what five things or occasions would I like to experience?"
5 - To be in the same room as St Augustine as he wrote his Confessions
4 - To be at a class at the University of Paris in the 12th century
3 - To have been able to hear the preaching of St Francis
2 - To have a theological discussion with Bl. John Duns Scotus
1 - To be present for the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ (you can't have one without the other)
I can't really tag anyone because I don't know who else who has a blog who reads this.....
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Since the Church's official language is Latin, guess what language their ATM's are?
This is courtesy of Cardinal Sean's blog...a great blog worthy to check out.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Being a Director of The Edith Stein Society (www.edithsteinsociety.ca), I was quite involved in the weekend.
Friday began with dinner with George at Moxie's with some of the other directors. The dinner was good, though we were a bit quiet...I'm just trying to get used to figure out how to talk to people I don't know...definitely something to grow in :).
After dinner we went for a bit of a walk around the block at which point we made our way to the Conservatory of Music. Sat around, met up with people, and then the conference began with what it means to be a Church.
By far this was my favourite talk of the evening, in that there were 2 important keys to take away, that the Church is a communion and that it is firstly formed in the image of Mary. Amazing stuff and just awesome. We had question and answers and then that was it.
After such an awesome first session we went out to Boston Pizza which didn't work out as much as I was hoping. People still seemed to enjoy themselves, but I was hoping (and so was George after talking to him) that there would have been a bit more of an intimate atmosphere. In the future, I will hold it at the Parish Center.
I drove George back to the Hotel, had an awesome chat with him, and then went back to Boston Pizza for more hanging out, and that was Friday night.
Saturday started off with Mass and then it was the Conference again. Again, awesome stuff. George discussed the Moral Life and the Laws that Liberate. The big thing to take away again was "Morality is where God's will meets the man's will and man's will meets God's will."
It was then off to lunch which involved myself, Annette, and her cousin running around doing some final erands for the conference.
The afternoon was the role of the Church in forming society through Democracy and promoting the culture of life. I know this is George's big thing and that was very engaging as some of it was very new to me and I quite enjoyed it.
And then the conference ended and I've gotten nothing but AMAZING feedback and thank yous and thank you cards for the members of the society. All in all an awesome conference.
Saturday night involved going out for dinner in style with George. And when I say in style, I really mean it. It's one of those restaurants where your meal is small but REALLY expensive. The food was delicious, I just wish there was more...when I hear "4 oz. of prime ribs" on the menu I freak out ;).
Discussions were great and I know Georege really enjoyed the dinner as well.
I got some exciting news that evening as well.
So we were all talking at the table and very much enjoying ourselves. And I was talking for a minute and then, out of nowhere, George says "Harrison, you should come to my course in the summer"(I hope I remembered that correctly)....
I wanted to fall off my chair. Literally...I couldn't believe the words I was hearing!!
He gave me his card to e-mail him and talk to him some more about it and told me he's been very much trying to get a Canadian to go and he would very much like to see me go.
I was so joyous that evening that I could barely fall asleep. There are many MANY more people who are much more deserving then I could possibly be, and yet he asked me....I am overjoyed to say the least.
The course is the Tertio Millennio Seminar in Krakow, Poland. It's a 3 week intensive study of Catholic Social Doctrine, Catholic Culture, and, to quote George, "a lot of beer". All I have to do is pay for the flight to Poland that the Tertio Millennio Institute takes care of the rest!!! It just so happens that I have 3 weeks of holidays at work too! God is just so good.
So I was FINALLY leaving at 10:30 to drive Fr. John and Sr. Jo home (hence why I never made it to the Irish TImes Kristina, but we'll have to hang out in November when I'm at the Abbey some time that week) and as I was saying buy to George he said "we'll see you in Poland"...God is really just so good :).
I also got him to sign 3 of my books :).
So that was the weekend, a huge success...
For those who are interested in future TESS events, we'll be having a form very soon on our website so that people can sign up for an e-mail list to be kept up to date with our upcoming events.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
There'll be some other bloggers out here this weekend so stay tuned to Western Catholic Blogs to get your review of the weekend.
It's going to be awesome!!!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Don't get me wrong, I am not denying our relationship with God with what I am about to say, only that what we have with Him goes far beyond the idea of relationship. It includes it, but goes beyond it. Let me explain.
I am going to look at this as a hierarchy, one in which the higher involve the lower.
The lowest in the hierarchy is the idea of a simple relationship. It is a truth that we do have a relationship, but it's not the be all and all, it does not connote the reality that we live. To have a relationship with Christ only expresses love in the way of philia, in the familial type of love. We see Christ simply as a member of the family and thus have a natural affection of love towards Him. This is indeed the case, but it is not the fullness.
The next is an intimate relationship with Christ. This goes up a notch. Not only does this include everything from pure relationship, but it adds the idea of yearning. We experience Christ intimately and thus move closer towards Him and yearn for Him. This is the relationship of eros, of yearning and wanting. We see that Christ can give us truth, beauty, and happiness, and we want to accept that and ask it of Him. For the first time, we seek Christ out as the woman seesk out her love in the Song of Songs. We know that we have experienced true love, and we want more of it. But this also is not the fulfillment.
I would like to argue that we have an intimate communion with God. It involves the first two things which I already mentioned, but it is no longer a seeking, but a willing to give our entire seslves over to Christ and to conform ourselves to His will. We are no longer self-seeking, but are seeking that which pleases our beloved. Communion entails agape love, that is, love that is totally self-giving. In other words, an intimate communion with Christ is an involvement in the Trinitarian exchange of love. By giving our selves completely to Christ, we thus image the exchange of self-giving love that is a reality in the Blessed Trinity. And what is the Trinity? It is a communion of love, the most intimate. There is relationship there, and there is seeking, but it is realized fully in the self-giving of self. Eros and philia realize their true nature in the self-giving love of the Trinity.
And thus, by our giving of self to Christ, we experience that Trinitarian exchange of love in its fullness. It is something that is worked at throughout our lives as we grow closer to Christ. But Christ already gives us that foretaste through the Eucharist.
When Christ says in John 6 that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you" He means it! By receiving the Eucharist, we receive that spiritual food that gives us the strength to love Christ as He loves us. What is our life? To grow in Holiness by imitating Christ? How do we imitate Christ? By being a sign of love to the world. Thus, by receiving the Eucharist, we receive the love of Christ which is the heart of our life. Without Christ's love, communicated to us through the Eucharist, indeed, we have no life, because we do not find the fulfillment of the desires of our heart in things of the world, but only in the love of Christ. But we only experience the love of Christ through the reception of Him in our lives. We receive Him in Baptism when we enter the Church, but we receive Him intimately in the Eucharist. Christ gives Hiimself to us, who are we to refuse His gift?
*sidenote* I realize that I had a post on personal and intimate relationship of Chirst, but when one prays and ponders thelogical things, one can move further on and beyond.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
It's about the role of music in the liturgy. It's been the fruit of discussion I've been having with many people for the past few days and so I figure I'd share it with you all, plus dilixitprior's post on George Weigel's article inspired me to finally post something.
As we all know, there is some...well....junky music out there for liturgy. Now, let me say this first, and I very much want to qualify this, that other forms of music are not bad or anything, and they can indeed be Christianized and have been in many ways, but they don't have a role in liturgical celebration. Sing praise and worship, but I find it's role in liturgy to not be fitting (I will explain this later).
So, I argue that the music we ought to sing at Mass is in accordance to that which has been part of the constant tradition of the Church. There are 2 streams of tradition in the Church with regards to music, the Eastern stream and the Western stream.
In the history of the existence of the Church, the Eastern Church's roots are probably the most visible. It's roots are the longest lasting and perhaps even the least changing from my bits and pieces of knowledge about the history of liturgical music.
The Western Church, to my knowledge (and am willing to be corrected), did not have any real musical tradition until the entrance of Gregorian Chant. It is Gregorian Chant that is the finalization of the tradition of music for Western Liturgies.
Now, people argue that the Mass has been changed in order to bring us into a more modern period. This is true, there is less or no Latin (which is fine) in order to adapt to the fact that Latin is not as accessible for people to learn as it once was as well as other changes. Some are unfortunate and will be changing to a more legitimate translation with the new Roman Missal that is due out soon. Others are accidental and will probably not change because they are not of a huge theological concern. One of these is the facing East for Mass. This has changed universally pretty much, but Ratzinger, before he was Pope, said that though this is unfortunate because of the reasons, it is such a major change that it is not something that is essential to the liturgy (he says this in Feast of Faith and Spirit of the Liturgy).
So, people argue, because the Mass has changed to bring the Church into the Modern era to make it a better tool of evangelization to the modern man, so too ought the music to change.
I argue differently, however. Yes, there has been changes in order to make the Church accessible to the modern person. The music is something that ought not to change. The reason for this is the constant tradition of the Church. As we can see, the Mass has changed throughout the history of the Church, yet it's essence has always remained. With these changes in the Mass, however, there have not been much if any, at least up until these more current days, change in the music. The church's tradition is firmly rooted in music that leads one's focus onto God.
Many people feel music that is more rock orientated and more uplifting and feel good ought to be the main course of music for mass. Chant is old school and went out with the old mass. I disagree.
The mass is not there to be noisy, it is there for silence. It is there for us to bring praise to God, to truly worship Him. This is why we were created, so that we may worship Him out of love for the love He has shown us. So, though rock orientated music (I use this only as one example) is not meant for Mass.
Now, people would immediately interject "But one of the great things the Church does is that it takes what is good from non-Christian art forms and worship and incorporate it into the life of the Church, why can we not contain praise and worship music in liturgy using this reason?"
I answer that indeed praise and worship music is good and is a sincere way of praising God, but not in liturgy. The liturgy is a community event in that we are there to grow closer to God, and, through that growing closer to God, growing closer to our neighbour. We indeed do have many ways of praising and glorifying God, but the Mass is wholy seperated from individualism but is built upon the idea of building community. And that community is not just parish based but is indeed a universal community, a communion of Saints! And so, our praise ought to be unified in a manner that leads one to silence so as to properly focus on the praising and worshiping of God.
This is why I argue in favour of the music that is more rooted in the tradition of the Church. It is something that wistands the test of time, that is always there. It leads you to a silence while singing. When I hear Gregorian Chant (I only use it as just one example) it leads me to silence and thus to a greater love fo the communial embrace God and I are having. When there is more noisy music, it is very much harder to express that silence that we yearn for because one begins to be entertained. It becomes about the parishioner and not God.
I remember on Holy Thursday this past year, our Bishop was processing through the Cathedral with the Eucharist one final time before Christ went into the tomb before His resurrection. The chant the whole time was the Pange Lingua. How beautiful it was! There was such unison and peace, there was singing, but there was silence, the great paradox of music realizing it's function in liturgy.
Now, I'm not saying all the music has to be in Latin, but it has to have the heart of the role of music in liturgy. Ratzinger and many other theologians have said this as well.
St Augustine once said that "singing is praying twice". He is right indeed, because there is the outward praise one has towards God, but there is also the interior silence, which the Catechism calls "the language of God."
One final note for now. The Mass is, as Vatican II said, ought to be accessible to all people. But it never asked for us to remove the mystery of what is happening at Mass. Singing music that focuses on emotional highs is not conducive to this spirit, it does not lead one to a sense of mystery, but to a sense of entertainment, into getting caught up into emotions, there is little room for silence.
And so, if the Mass is also to connote a sense of mystery, we ought to have music and a language that expresses this. This is why music such as Gregorian Chant is great, it leads one to the sense of mystery, the "I see the beauty in all it's uncomprehensability". There is a role a language as well, but that's another post.
Again, I am not dealing with just Gregorian Chant or Praise and Worship here, I only use them as examples because they are the two most common ones I could think of.
This is just the tip of the ice berg, but my initial thoughts on the role of music in Liturgy.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Someone from the Holy Vocations blog really wanted me to post my post on the problem of evil for this weeks carnival...so I did and am on...there's other great stuff on it so check it out.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
One day it will be mine, 17 volumes of pure intellectual goodness (except for the political theory).
Other great things I found....
John Duns Scotus: Early Oxford Lecture on Individuation
Scotus for Dunces: An Introduction to the Subtle Doctor
John Duns Scotus: Four Questions on Mary
John Duns Scotus: A Treatise on Potency and Act: Questions on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, Book IX
St Anthony of Padua: Sermons for the Easter Season
St Bonaventure: De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam
St Bonaventure: Itenerarium Mentis in Deum
St Bonaventure's Disputed Questions on the Mystery of the Trinity
St Bonaventure's Disputed Questions on the Knowledge of Christ
And perhaps the best thing to come from there is the Franciscan Studies Journal, which I have use many a times for writing philosophy papers and I think I will have to begin subscribing to it because it's just amazing.
I am done with book geeking for now...
Check it out here:
Monday, June 12, 2006
Anyways...I was reading up on St Anselm and it came to me.
Let me give you the background...
There is a problem of language when one talks about God. It involves a basic principle (both logically and mathematically). I will communicate this via what is known as Set Theory.
Set Theory claims the following, that a finite set cannot contain an infinite set. That is to say, finite sets are limited in scope of numbers, while infinite sets are boundless. Thus, an infinite set cannot be contained, period.
So God, who is infinite, thus can't be contained by a finitie mind. This is easy enough to understand. But then we have a problem. Our language is finite in nature, yet it attempts to describe something infinite. This seems to be quite a perplexing thing.
Pseudo Dionysius attempts to solve the problem by his 2 roads of talking about God.
The first way is the Via Positiva, the Positive Way. This way states that when we say God is good, it is true, because God is good, He includes that concept of good which we conceive. However, God is really super-good, that is, the good which is in God is so far beyond our understanding of the good (thus keeping the infinite gulf that exists between God and creation). So our concept of good conveys some truth about God, but it is minimal, but can be said in an affirmative fashion.
The second way is known as the Via Negativa, the Negative Way. This way states that since our language is finite, it cannot possibly grasp any fact about God. God's goodness is so far beyond our understanding of goodness that it makes sense for us to say that God is not-goodness. That is to say, God is not what we conceive goodness to be, because He is infinitely beyond that. This is the way of the mystics and deeply rooted in Neo-Platonic philosophy.
So, there is great debate as to which way is better. Pseudo-Dionysius will state that the Via Positiva is rooted in the Via Negativa. Because our idea of goodness is so far beyond what goodness is like in God, it is essentially negative.
Now...I think there is a way to solve this. If you recall in one of my previous posts, St Augustine's Theory of Evil states that evil isn't an ontological reality, that is, it doesn't have being and existence like goodness has. Instead, it is a twisting, deprivation, lacking of good.
I argue that language is the same (though not as evil, just that it isn't what God is). Since language does not reach the heights of God, it does not affirm things the way they are. However, The Word is God. Thus, our language, our words, are simply a lesser degree of the Word. They express the reality, though in a limited lesser degree. Words are a "deprivation" of the divine reality which they signify. Thus, they express truth because they contain a bit of that which they are deprived of. Thus, via St Augustine's theory of evil, our language can express truths about God, rooted in the via negativa (because of the of deprivatio), but expressed in both ways.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
It was a great ceremony oozing with Medieval elements (except, of course, the Native Indian furniture for the ceremony...not so medieval).
To be able to wear my bachelor robes as a real honour. I wish I could afford to buy some, but I think I'll save that for the doctoral robes if God wills that I go that far in my education one day.
It was also a weird/sad day in that it meant the end of a time I have come to appreciate profoundly. It means another step towards the future, wherever it may end up being. It is exciting, but sad. I will miss the University atmosphere, despite it's radical liberalism at times. I will miss learning in a class setting, lack of sleep, I will miss writing papers and getting into philosophical arguments with various classmates. I will miss a lot of it indeed and for that I am sad. But I will be getting more education in the future, so I have that to look forward to. I look forward to receiving my MA with joy and to continue up the academic latter. Seeing all those professors in their doctoral robes was just amazingly awesome and beautiful and my heart yearned to be able to wear those robes one day. There is something about an academic environment that is just so me, though it took me up to my last year to realize that.
So yes, that chapter in my life is officially over. My parents were around and the gift they have gotten for me is the complete Church Fathers book set, a 38 volume hardcover set of all their works. I look forward to keeping my nose in those books for years and years to come when it arrives at my doorstep.
For those who read this that I have come to know during my university years, thank you for everything. Whether big or small, you have all had an influence in my life and helped give me that strength to persevere and cross that finish line.
And so tonight, I relax, and am going to attempt to read, my BA is hung up, I do hope it receives some company in years to come.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Theologically there are 2 Traditions, the tradition of Iranaeus, and the tradition of St Augustine.
St Iranaeus says that evil is in the world so that we can become more matured beings, that the conflict between good and evil is a training ground for virtue. This solves the problem of existence of evil being necessary so that we can have a redeemer to come and redeem our sins. However, it seems to place the blame of evil on God...and we wouldn't want to do that as theologians.
The second is the much more exhaustive and reasonable (in my humble opinion) theory of St Augustine. St Augustine, being the Platonist that he is, states that there are two types of evil, moral evil and "natural evil". I will explain "natural evil" first. "Natural evil" is in quote because St Augustine says that "natural evil" does not exist at all, it's simply a perception of the world due to the clouding of sin on the soul. An earthquake would happen whether sin entered the world or not, but sin changed our perception. What would have been seen in a sinless world as the natural, necessary occurances is sin in a sinful world as painful and evil (not to mention the idea that pain and suffering are seen to be evils in and of themselves as well). Therefore, natural evil such as natural disasters is simply a way of talking.
This leads us to the principle of plenitude which thus leads us to moral evil. The principle of plenitude states that the best possible world is the fullest possible world, that is, the reality with the most existence in it is the best world and God would create that world.
Thus the world we live in is the fullest possible world. It is obvious that free will is part of this fullest possible world. It is a better universe in which a rational being has free will then a universe in which a rational being does not have free will. Every single event that has happened in history could happen in a world without free will, but, according to St Augustine, free will is obviously a good thing and thus is in this world.
If there's free will in the world, then there is the ability to choose. To choose means one has at least two things to choose from. The most basic choice in the state of theology is to choose God or not to choose God. In the end, that is where all our actions lead us. Are my actions towards the end of God or towards a selfish end and counter to the Divine Goodness? That is the basis of moral activity.
Now St Augustine has a problem. If existence is a positive attribute, then how can evil actually exist? That would mean that there would be good in evil, which is contrary to reason, evil is the total absence of good. St Augustine pulls a neat little trick. He states that evil is a privation of the good, that the good is what ought to be in existence but it has been deprived of its fullness. Another simple way to define moral evil is that which is not good. It is a lack of goodness.
The problem here though, I have just thought about, is that if evil does not exist, then there is no evil for Christ to redeem. St Augustine's theodic theory is missing one thing, the ability to affirm the existence of evil without changing its total negative attribute.
This is purely speculation, but I propose that sin and evil is not a negation, but a twisting of the truth, of the good. It is a false perception and use of that which is intrinsically good. The most basic example is free will. Free will is good intrinsically, however, it is seen as evil when it goes counter to its purpose. Thus, a choice would have eternal consequences if all choices are rooted towards or against God. Thus, if Adam and Eve sinned, there is an eternal consequence for the choice they made. The rock of a choice has been thrown into the pond of eternal consequences. Thus, could it be said that Christ's redemption is that which re-orientates us towards the good? Perhaps evil doesn't have to have an ontological and metaphysical basis in reality. Perhaps it doesn't really need to exist, but is simply a privation of the good. Christ's redemptive act is that which gives us the ability, on an eternal and infinite level (since our choices are rooted in God and God is infinite), to choose towards the good again. Christ's redemption does save us.
Original sin is something that is eternal and infinite in that it is an eternal and infinite rebellion against God. Christ's redemption is also eternal and infinite and gives us the ability to re-orientate ourselves back towards the good on a complete basis. Thus the need for grace in our lives throughout the history of mankind.
If you have any comments on this, I'd greatly appreciate this.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I read the entire book on Time again, and then re-read it, and then looked at secondary sources. It's very beautiful and full of unanswered questions. I really believe his questions are a great means to meditation.
Anyways, there is one thing that really struck me about what he says in his piece on time.
The only true time, the only time that is truly real, is the present moment. The future time such as tomorrow, two minutes from now, and so on, does not exist, it can only be anticipated. The past also doesn't exist, what has happened has happened, and it will never happen again in that moment ever again. So, St Augustine concludes, and rightly so, that the only true time is that moment which we live.
Why is this important? I have come to realize that we spend such a great deal of time worrying about the future (I am someone who falls into that trap all too often). However, the future matters in that it can be anticipated, but it can't be known. We ought not to worry about our holiness in the future. We need to worry about our holiness in the present moment. This has been sometimes described as the sacrament of the present moment, giving God glory and living out holiness to the greatest of your ability and thanks to God's grace in the present moment you are living.
Now, I'm not saying "don't think about the future". We can anticipate it, and therefore, in order to attain holiness, sometimes we need to see that which is to be anticipated, that which is already present to God in all eternity. We must discern God's will in that present moment we are living and it will lead us to that anticipated future. The same can be said for the past. It can be reflected upon, look upon the lessons learned in life and apply them to the moment you are living. The point is that the only way to attain holiness is by living that present moment to its fullest, to not waste time. The past has happened and cannot be changed, the future is only anticipatory and that which we anticipate may not even happen, the only certainty we have is the now.
So, we must follow this example if we are to attain holiness. We must live that present moment for God alone, and do so for each moment, being constantly aware of God's presence in our life.
Monday, May 22, 2006
"The absolute truth is what makes Bush so worrying to some of us"
Apparently absolute truth is a bad thing and that absolute truth and a moral character are bad things for any person to have.
Now, I don't agree with everything that GWB says, but I do give him props because he is firm in his faith and has no problem of having a Christian informed conscious, whether it's properly formed is another question due to some of his actions, but it is much more formed then most politicians. But I couldn't believe that line I quoted, that absolute truth is a worrying thing. It's freeing, and for someone who comes from the land of the free, it ought to be embraced and loved.
Madonna started her new tour last night. As one of her acts, she hung herself on a mirrored cross with a crown of thorns...
The article is HERE
Who woulda thought that someone named Madonna would do this? (please note the sarcasm). First the Da Vinci Code, now this. It seems that it's ok to poke fun at Christians, the Da Vinci Code started it, and now the ball is rolling.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Christianity is a "faith of contradictions". For example, if one were to use negative and positive theology, one could say that God is both being (positive) and not-being(negative). Both make claims about God. The positive makes a claim about God's essence (positive theology) and the other speaks of God's existence (negative theology). Both are valid ways. Well, time is a contradiction too. Eternity in the sense of God is infinite with no beginning and no end, but God just is, God exists outside of time, yet, in the very same token, because of the Incarnation, God redeems time, God redeems that which changes. Thus eternity is not simply a state of being, but it is also one of change. This does not refer to God of course, God does not change. It refers to our experience of Heaven. Heaven will be a constant yearning, yet a joy for the Divine Presence.
The reason I have been thinking about this subject as of late is because of the statement of our faith that "God created in time". But if time has no effect on God, then God cannot create within time, time comes into existence because of God's creation. Furthermore, God cannot have specific actions within time, God is pure actuality, pure act. God is one singular eternal act of love. So, God either creates eternally or we have a problem...or do we? I suggest that the Incarnation is what solves this theological question in ways that bring a furthe depth and understanding of God's plan, of salvation history, yet at the same time create even a greater mystery for us to contemplate.
This has been taking a while because I want to make sure I've got this right and it is within the realm of the Church's teachings. So keep your eyes peeled next week! If you don't see anything, just remind me, I have a tendency to forget things once in a while :).
The big link I saw was a passage on love that I just though "Deus Caritas Est"...
God is the one who scatters the seeds of agape (charity) and
eros (yearning), for He has brought these things that were within Him
outside Himself in the act of creation. that is why we read, "God is
love", and in the Song of Songs He is called agape, and also "sweetneess" and
"desire", which are what eros means. For He is the One who is truly
loveable and desirable. Because this loving desire has flowed out of Him,
He-its creator-is said to be Himself in love; but insofar as He is Himself the
One who is truly loveable and desirable, He moves everything that looks toward
Him and that possesses, in its own way, the power of yearning.
Pretty cool and heavy stuff, definitely worth contemplating in prayer. Definitely B16 worthy.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Apparently Albinos are angry about the way they are depicted in the Da Vinci Code. Yes folks, albinos are angry and offended how they are depicted by the albino Opus Dei "monk" (because, as we know, there are no monks in Opus Dei).
I can understand where they're coming from, everyone is looking for a Da Vinci code headline right now with the release on Friday. But this is where I get a bit confused...
They have no problem showing the offended nature or anger a minority group of people (very minority), but when it comes to the point of Christians being offended, Heaven forbid that they would mention it. In fact, I've heard nothing about Christians in the "othercott"...that is, the promotion of going to see Over the Hedge that weekend instead of the Da Vinci Code. If we see anything about offended Christians, it'll be those who are boycotting with signs outside the movie theaters in anger. You won't hear about how Christians all over were trying to boycott it in a different way.
It's just another way the world we live in is going down the tubes, but we can sanctify it with the grace of God through prayer, penance, and action.
If you want to find out more about the othercott, please go to
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
So come next week things will be slowing down. As I've said, I've got some Theology of Time I'm really wanting to post about here and some other stuff. My Medieval Philosophy group begins next week which excites me to no end. I just pray that God will grant me the grace to guide it according to His will.
Work is going REALLY well! I'm really enjoying it, though there is a LOT to learn, but it is nice to be at work and actually have stuff to do all day, it makes the day pass by rather quickly I find. It's odd not coming home to do homework though, still trying to get used to that....
I'll be back hopefully on Saturday or Sunday to begin some posting that doesn't have to do with my life (I'm sure you're all just bored of that ;))...Oh, and Theology of the Body at our College and Careers group has been going really well! It's brought about a lot of great discussion, which is my goal :)...I just need to learn to shut up at times.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I got a job today too! I am now the secretary at St Andrew's Cathedral Office. I start tomorrow. I am very excited at this new opportunity to learn the inner workings of a parish office, plus this is the sort of stuff I'm good at. It is kind of awkward, though, when one of your friends also applies for the job and they don't get it. But I must praise God for this! And thanks to St Joseph the Worker for the intercession (I don't think it's a coincidence I found out I got the job last night on the feast of St Joseph the Worker).
So, now I have a steady income and a steady work schedule. I have been asked to step down from my Sacristan position as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (I like giving him a hard time) says he doesn't want me working at the Cathedral 7 days a week. So I do get my weekends off after all. What will I do with all this free time? I don't know. But I have a job, I have everything that is needed, and God's time is definitely not my time, because I was getting all worried and it all worked out perfectly.
It is also rare I have come to find from talking to other people for a University student to have a job immediately out of university. One of my friends took 6 months to get a job! The job market is that sucky. So I am very blessed with a steady job, one that I like to boot, and it's at the Church, which makes getting to morning Mass that much easier before work.
I'll be able now to focus on God more without the distraction of an unbalanced school schedule, and will be able to starting posting on my blog more.
We started our Theology of the Body night last night at College and Career and it went really well!
God is so good, praise be given to His Name!!
Saturday, April 29, 2006
And so, what will I be doing with this new sense of freedom and free-time? More schooling! Well, sort of. I'm putting on a Medieval Philosophy Group this summer and we have 15 people signed up already! I have a feeling we'll be getting more people joining on in as well. Here's the schedule for the summer...
May 9 - Introduction to Philosophy - What is Philosophy, it's pursuit, it's value, and an introduction to philosophical terms and the heritage of Philosophy that influenced Medieval thought
May 16 - Greek Philosophy in One Night - Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus
May 23 - St Augustine - Metaphysics, The Human Person, Time
May 30 - St Augustine - Problem of Evil and Free Will (Including his theory on Grace)
June 5 - Pseudo-Dionysius and Boethius
June 12 - Islamic Philosophy - Ash'arites and Avicenna
June 19 - Islamic Philosophy - Al-Ghazali and Averroes
June 26 - St Anselm - Argument for the Existence of God (May get into St Thomas tonight too)
July 3 - St Thomas Aquinas - Metaphysics and the Human Person
July 10 - St Thomas Aquinas - Epistemology and Arguments for the Existence of God
July 17 - St Bonaventure - The Existence of God, Epistemology, Metaphyiscs
July 24 - John Duns Scotus - Argument for the Existence of God
July 31 - William of Ockham
August 7- The Mystics
August 14 - The Problem of Universals Part 1
August 21 - The Problem of Universals Part 2
August 28 (Not sure if we will have it this night)
There's so much to talk about, and I'm really only scratching the surface. But it'll be fun and I know everyone who's taking this is really excited about this, I wasn't expecting such a strong response to this group!
Anyways, I'm exhausted and am going to attempt getting to bed really early tonight.
Friday, April 28, 2006
The job interview went really well, I will find out on Monday evening or Tuesday if I got the job (though I had hoped to find out on Sunday evening if I got it, that way I could have quit Johnny Zee's right away if I did get it, but oh well).
I'm going dancing after my exam as a form of celebration. It's going to be with the few bucks I have left to my name, so here's hoping for a job to pay for things again :).
That's pretty much all, I'll have cool theological posts after the weekend.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I've got my last exam on Friday night and a job interview on Wednesday, please pray for me. Come the end of this week I'll be able to start posting a lot more.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I've got a exam on the Rationalists on Friday night. Please pray for me if you remember. After this exam I'll have but one more exam to go and then I'll have my BA in Philosophy. The Rationalists are an interesting bunch, and I never agree with any of them completely.
Descartes - Moron, pure and simple.
Melbranche - Cool because he is a Catholic priest, but he's got a weird metaphysics that doesn't exactly jive with Catholic doctrine.
Spinoza - Very cool and consistent, but you have to accept his axioms, and I don't, and I'm glad I don't becuse his philosophy negates the idea of free will and promotes determinism.
Leibniz - By far my favourite of the class, though he is the hardest to understand. This man was probably one of the smartest men to ever live, I mean, he invented Calculus and Symbolic Logic just to name 2 of his many MANY achievements. His philosophy is really cool because of his denial of space and time as flat, but instead as a way of representing logical relations between substances. I do have a beef with his philosophy too, though, in that his definition of substance entails the loss of free will as well, and thus all falls down the hole for me, and for him if you don't accept that. But by far the coolest and the most interesting!
Anyways, I've got a little bit more studying to do then it's time to hit the hay. God Bless everyone!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Well, despite the manner lack in a good title and the production team attempting to make this a decision that is forever, that is, that entering seminary means becoming a priest, it was a really great show so far.
All four episodes deal with the depths of the human condition, the struggle that sin has poured out on the world. I think, too, that these 4 young men were really brave to do such a thing, because it is a great witness to the world and, to my knowledge, it has been getting GREAT reviews!
It really dealt with the struggles these men were going through, as well as the fact that Christ is the source of their strength that gets them past their struggles to focus solely on Him. I will say there were some issues that each man had to deal with, but, at the same time, who doesn't? It showed that it is ordinary to have issues and to listen to what God is calling you to.
For me, on a personal level, it was great to see that in each individual I can see a bit of me, that is, I was saying to myself "I've been through that" or "Boy do I have the same issue this guy has" and so forth. It was just really uplifting to see people so on fire for Christ.
I will say this, Joe...man...if you go to Germany, you don't wait 3 days to call Anna!! I mean...you call her right away!!! I mean, one ought to do that no matter who they're visiting if it's been such a long time!
But yes..., it was just a great show and am looking forward to the final episode on Sunday, even though I won't be able to watch it until Monday probably as that will be when I can get it from said person taped at the earliest :).
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Oh, and some news. Though it's not the full time work, I did get a part time job that I had been planning on taking on top of my full time job. I'm now the new Sacristan for the Cathedral here in Victoria. It means I'll probably be working 7 days a week, but it also means working at the Cathedral a bit, so I'm quite excited.
Again, have a Happy and Blessed Easter everyone.
Our charitable activity is to be done in the light of Christ only. Our love must not be a forceful imposition of God to the world. We must not proselytize the Gospel, because it is not something that can be forced, it must be experienced and affirmed through the yes of faith.
Understanding the basics behind Christian charity, we must now understand what is needed in order to be formed so that we can properly enact charity in the world. The Pope said that in order to carry out the charitable activities of the Church, we must first and foremost contemplate the love of Christ through prayer. We must spend much time in prayer, and fast and do penance for the spiritually poor. He emphasizes the need to serve all poor, and this includes the spiritually poor. By contemplating the life of Christ through the reading of scripture, through the rosary, through the reception of the Sacraments, and through simple contemplation in His presence in adoration, we are able to receive the graces necessary to fulfill the will of God in the charitable activities we do. Before his conclusion, Pope Benedict states that “Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world – this is the invitation I would like to extend to you with the present encyclical.” He then ends the encyclical by giving us examples of various Saints who enacted the love of God to others in their lives, such as our Martin of Tours, Blessed Mother Teresa, and our Holy Mother Mary, who gave herself completely over to God.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The Funniest Dancing Ever
The Pope, now having an idea of what justice is, states that the love of caritas is always necessary in a just society. Love is that which governs the just society. Thus we are called through our common faith in Christ to serve society with that charitable love in order to help enact a just society. Sin has made the world a lonely place, a place of suffering. We are now called to love so that people can experience the trueness of what it means to be human. Charity thus gives us a glimpse into the original state of man prior to the fall, it is also a foretaste of the Heavenly kingdom, where we will experience the charity of Christ in perfection in the Heaven for all eternity.
This call to Charity is thus not something that is bound to the state, but is bound instead to each individual person. The state does not make Christ present to the world, but we do, through our own individual actions. It is unified in love through the Holy Spirit and our communion with each other in Christ, and thus the Church as it is known is made present as a whole through the charity we enact on a personal and individual level.
This is where the lay faithful show their utter importance and necessity for the Church, for there would be no Church without the laity. This is Pope Benedict showing us the true meaning of the role of the laity as the proper interpretation from the Second Vatican Council.
Justice must be the pursuit of the state. The Church has no role in politics, which is emphasized in the Church's stance against liberation theology, in which it taught that the Church ought to form the state. Instead, it is the Church's role to propose the claims of truth which it believes, thus forming those who form society. The Church does not form society, it forms the people who form society. The Church is there to simply propose the claims of truth which are rooted in Jesus Christ.
The origins of politics are found in justice and the pursuit of a just society. It is constantly asking itself how justice can be enacted in the modern period of our lives. It must deal with ethical questions which are constantly posed. But, if politics is to pursue justice, one needs to understand what justice is. It is in the definition of Justice that faith and politics meet. Notice how he does not say religion and politics, and he has good reason for not using the word religion. It denotes a social construct that has based itself on such a vague meaning that it, in essence, has no value at all. Faith, however, is rooted in truth and love. One has faith because one encounters love. This is why faith and politics meet, because faith is an act of love in which justice is poured out, and since justice is the pursuit of politics, then politics must turn to faith in order to understand what it is that it is pursuing.
Here the Pope talks about the necessity of faith and reason. St Anselm once exclaimed, and rightly so, that I believe so that I may understand. In order for us to use our reason, we must have faith in reason and God so that we can properly form our reason. Faith liberates reason. Only through faith, through that ultimate act of love towards God, can we see the ground and purpose of our reason. Faith is constantly present and thus constantly gives us the ability to give an answer to what is justice in the the here and now.
Monday, April 10, 2006
This universal ecclesial action is made present to us throughout the history of the Church. This is made present to us in Acts 2:44-2:45 where it states that “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” Acts 2:42 states that fidelity to the “teaching of the apostles, communion, the breaking of bread, and prayer” are all necessary for the community of believers. Again, that communion is made known to us through the sharing of possessions with each other in order to live a dignified life.
As the Church was growing, the Apostles were being stretched very thin, and needed to institute an office in order to help with a certain aspect of their office. Thus, they instituted the office of Deacon, in which the Deacon is there to serve the poor. This continues to be a distinction, where as it is the role of the Bishop to lead and teach the faithful, it is the role of the Deacon to serve the poor. This is why the treasury of the faithful was always held by the Deacon. As someone was in need, they would approach the Deacon and would distribute wealth in accordance to the person's need. This is exemplified to us most concretely in the story of St Lawrence, who was in charge of the wealth of the Church of Rome. He distributed all that the Church had to the faithful who hid it in their homes. When the Roman soldiers found him, they asked him where the wealth of the Church was, because it was his duty to look after the wealth. He then stated, pointing to the faithful gathered around him, that the people were the wealth of the Church. He was, as we all know, cooked alive on a grill and to this day is one of the more famous early Church Christians.
The, Church, amidst persecutions, continued to grow, and thus the common wealth of the Church was no longer deemed possible. The administration charity was and still is one of the central activities of the Church, along with the administration of the Sacraments and the proclamation of the Gospel. However, because of the growing popularity of Christianity, the Church began to find different ways to serve both the spiritually and materially poor.
This administration of charity was so essential that Julian the Apostate, who was the only Roman Emperor after Constantine who was a pagan, attempted to reform paganism so that it could be prominent again by incorporating charitable activities. However, he was not successful in reestablishing paganism and God triumphed as Christianity grew leaps and bounds.
Over the years, the Church's charitable activity was always at work. The Church instituted the hospitals, universities, and was always there to serve the spiritually and materially poor in the orders, one cannot help but think of the Dominicans and Franciscans especially. Thus, the social aspect of the Church is no mere coincidence, it is not a mere response to modern demands of social responsibility, but it has always been a central aspect of the Church as an expression and encounter of the Trinitarian God, who lavishes us with His infinite fount of love and mercy.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
This class is Philosophy of Truth, perhaps THE most frustrating class I have ever taken. I have never seen so many people dispute the meaning of truth, and to see that some even deny its value! I definitely take to the medievalist point of view which is a correspondence theory of truth. A correspondence theory of truth states that for that which is said, there is a corresponding reality. If there is no corresponding reality, that is, thing or state of affairs, then it's false, but if it does have a corresponding thing or state of affairs, then it is true. It can get more complicated, but that's the jist of it. Ockham has some pretty cool stuff to say.
Anyways, so we have the exam on Tuesday. It's worth 30%. I didn't do so well on the first one unfortunately, but I'm feeling a lot more confident with this one. I've been typing up notes all day, explaining concepts as I read them in my own words. My teacher also posted his notes, which is very helpful for guiding me, so that if I don't understand something, I refer to his notes, which are brief, but they give me the starting point for figuring it out. By typing out these notes, it's really sticking in my head. It's an open book test, so I figure if I have everything summarized in one big hunk of notes, it should make it an easy test. But it's actually all making sense finally. It took me all semester, but it's actually a bit enjoyable now, simply because I can enjoy it and thus construct working arguments against a lot of these guys, especially the ones who deny the value of truth.
That is all, just thought I'd share. Please pray for me during the exam period :).
St Augustine states that “if you see charity, you see the Trinity”. The reason behind this is the Spirit which dwells within us, which Christ gave up on the Cross for the sake of the Church. It is the Holy Spirit that unifies our heart with the heart of Christ, thus moving us towards a love of neighbour in the manner that Christ loves, in a self-giving and selfless way.
It is the same Holy Spirit that transforms the community of the Church to be a witness to the love of God. In fact, that is the role of the Church in its fullest sense, to make the love of God visible for the whole world to see. We make this love known in many ways.
It is in service that charity, caritas, a Latin term denoting a certain type of love, that envelopes the whole of the Church's activity of making the love of God present to all. It is these activities which are the outward expression of the inner experience of the overflowing love of God.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Can we love God without seeing Him?
Can love be commanded? (Quick clarification, I believe that "command" is being used in the sense of the choice of the individual, that a person commands their own willingness to love)
Response to the first question: God is not totally invisible to us. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council said that Christ is really present to us in five ways at the Mass alone; in the congregation, when it gathers for prayer, in the word of God when it is proclaimed, in the priests, when they preside at the liturgy, in the sacraments, when they are administered, and finally, in the Host and Chalice offered at Mass. Furthermore, we must remember, God loved us first, and this love is made visible to us in Christ. Through the incarnation, Christ is made present to us not only in the Mass, but in our entire lives. He is made present through the activities of the Church, He is made present in the poor, in the homeless, the hungry, the thirsty, the imprisoned. Indeed, God is ever present to us in an ever new and dynamic way. We encounter God in an intimately personal way each day, through our own actions and the actions and needs of others. Thus, God's love is not distant and far off, but it is a dynamic experience, it is something that we encounter, and something that is ever unfolding in our lives. Because God loves us first, we can now respond to that love as it wells up within us. We are not forced to love, but we want to love
Love, therefore, is not a sentiment, it is not a feeling. Those come and go and change like the wind. If love is a purification of man in his entirety, as spoken of already, then love must engage man entirely, and not depend on his emotions simply, though they can express the reality of love, but only for a brief moment, and thus the incompleteness of feelings with regards to love. If love involves the whole self, then it must be an act of the will, the intellect, and the sentiments. Only all three together, which are attributed to man in his fullness, can man make a truly loving act. It is the will, however, which begins this act of love. We need a will to make an act, thus the willingness to say “yes” to God is our act, which encompasses the will, intellect, and sentiments. We must make that initial yes to God in order to respond to the love he outpours to us. Once we receive God's gift of love by responding with a complete yes that involves our entire self, we are abile to begin the life long, open-ended process of the exchange of love between God and ourselves. It is thus through this love that the love of neighbour comes about as a natural result of our love for God. If we love God, we will love our neighbour, in whom Christ is present. If we love God, we will love the beauty of His creation and give it the respect that is due to its dignity. Because all men and women are created in the image and likeness of God, there is thus a dignity there that is due our love. This is all a result of the overflowing of love. A loving communion brings about an overflowing of love.
The most concrete example of the effect of the overflowing love that is a result of the communion between man and God is indeed our loving our neighbour. It is the result of the communion between you and God. This love is made known to us in many ways, and one of them is through the charitable activity of the Church, which is the focus of the second part of the encyclical.
Friday, April 07, 2006
It is the Eucharist that fulfills this meaning of sacramental mysticism. It is here that we encounter Christ truly, really, and substantially present to us. It is food that nourishes our spirit, that eternal wisdom. Thus, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, give us the ability to respond to God's love to us. God gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, in which we respond back in praise and thanksgiving through the contemplation of that which we just received, through the contemplation of the Divine Mystery of God's love. This brings us to many realizations about the Eucharist. First and foremost, the Eucharist is something we receive, we do not take. The Eucharist is God's gift to us, and the priest stands there in the person of Christ, thus Christ is giving Himself to us, just as He gave Himself to the Apostles 2000 years ago. As a result of this gift, we exclaim Amen(and it ought to be a joyful exclamation)! Amen means “Let it be so, It is True, I believe”. That is our response to the gift of Christ. Thus, in the Eucharist we experience God's love in its threefold fullness. We receive the healing power of the Eucharist through the grace we receive which helps us grow closer to God in the forgiveness of our sins, hence the inseparability of the Sacrament of the Eucharist from the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Without one, there would not be the other. Secondly, God seeks us out first. The priest says “The body of Christ”. Christ has come to seek us out and make Himself known to us, and presents Himself to us through the priest. Thirdly, God gives Himself to us completely in the Eucharist. We witness the sacrifice of Christ in the Mass which makes God present to us, and we receive that ultimate love, Christ, from that ultimate act of love, His death on the Cross.
That is only the aspect of God's action of love in the Eucharist, we have a loving aspect as well. We go up to receive the Eucharist. We go out to seek God. Our hearts yearn for that truth which is made present to us in the Eucharist, it is what we truly long for and yet, it is something we cannot attain on our own. Thus God comes down to us so that we may receive His love. God gives Himself to us when we seek Him, because He seeks us first. When it comes time for us to have the privilege of receiving our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we make some sort of act of worship before reception. This is that outward sign of that interior reality. We have faith that what we are to receive is Christ, and we make that know by bowing, genuflecting, or making the sign of the Cross. This is our act of love to God, acknowledging Him for Who He is. Then the priest says “The Body of Christ” and we say Amen. We thus give ourselves over to God through that act of faith made known through our exclamation of Amen! Thus, love between man and God is comes to it fullness in the Eucharist. We participate in that heavenly reality right now and thus also have a foreshadowing of what Heaven will truly be like. The liturgy is an experience of Heaven, and Heaven, as is experienced through the liturgy, is a communion of love between God and His creation. There is much, MUCH more to say on this aspect of the encyclical, but that could take nights up nights to discuss. I highly recommend you go out and read it for yourself to see these truths which our Pope speaks of with regards to the Eucharist.
Anyways, because I'm taking a night off from all that cramming and studying, I have an interesting article for you all. In it, Cardinal Francis Arinze is calling on priests to put the tabernacle back at the center for the Church as a means to restore reverance for Christ's presence, that Christ is there for all instead of off to the side...interesting.
Here's the Article
Thursday, April 06, 2006
-Finish paper on Frege and Ockham on Truth. For those of you who are medievalists out there (and I know there are), Ockham is going to blow Frege out of the water with regards to the theory of truth as it relates to language. Ockham's theory of supposition and signification are ingenious. This is one of the better papers I think I have ever written, it is a point of seeing whether my prof will think so. Due Monday, but want it done for Friday.
-History in Byzantine Art Final Exam - Friday. Worth %15 of my mark, and it shouldn't be too hard.
-Go out Swing Dancing on April 7th and April 22 & 23 at the Victoria Hot Jazz Festival. Apparently dancers will only be having to pay $20 for those two days!!!
-Philosophy of Truth exam, Tuesday, the 11th at 9am. Glad it's the first one because it's been a painful class.
-Chrism Mass on Tuesday...have drinks with clergy and Bishop and serve them dinner, and then go to the Chrism Mass.
-Work and Holy Thursday, parents are also coming over that day.
-Good Friday...pray, fast, go to Good Friday Service.
-Holy Saturday - Go to Vigil
-Easter Sunday - Go to Mass
-Easter Monday - Work
-April 21st - Rationalist Philosophers Final - 7pm
-April 28th - History of Intellectual Thought in the Middle Ages final - 7pm. Rejoice after exam because I will never have to step foot on that campus for a class ever again.
-FIND A JOB!!!! (Interced for me St Joseph the Worker).
That is all...it's a busy month indeed. And that's only the important stuff! Needless to say, as much as I love learning, I'm looking forward to just working and making money and relaxing and reading what I want to read for a while :).
Agape, in its dimension within the reality of God's love, goes so far beyond self giving that it includes forgiveness. It is in the sin of man that God reveals His love at its fullness, that self-giving love includes forgiveness, and this can be seen from numerous examples in the Bible. This is the centrality of Christ's death on the Cross, that God loves humanity so much, that He would turn against Himself by becoming man, and thus, through His death, reconcile justice and love. Thus, God is indeed love, just, and forgiving.
From this image of God, we come to the image of man. For the sake of time and the fact that this will be discussed at a later time in our talks on the Theology of the Body, I will simply say the following about this. Eros is rooted in our nature, that we man is incomplete without both male and female, hence why it is not good for man to be alone. Man, in his nature, is a seeker of a communion of persons. Thus, it is this communion of persons that define who we are, and it is this communion of persons that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
This brings us to Christ, who reconciles the rift sin made between God and man through God becoming man in Christ. It is Christ who makes present to us in a very real way the true meaning of eros through the incarnation so that He may come to search out the lost sheep. It is this seeking that is the center of all the parables, such as the woman looking for the lost coin, and the shepherd going after the stray sheep. And this is all realized at the Cross when Christ's side is pierced. It is here where we see God turning against Himself, it is here that we see man raised to a new life never before imagined, through the participation in the Divine life. Yet, this is something that cannot be achieved blindly, nor intellectually. We come to realize this through contemplation.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I really think this is the best picture ever. Cute, fun, and just shows the lighter side of the faith, that God indeed does have a sense of humour. Thank you to American Papist for posting it. He's got a few more from a gusty Wednesday Audience.
Speaking of Wednesday Audiences, I hope that his audiences will be published one day as are the ones of John Paul the Great. He's got some great stuff, but because we get the shortened version in english, it'd be nice to see what he has to say in full.
It is eros that leads us to agape. It is through eros that we begin our search for happiness, and our intentions become less and less self-centered, and thus grow gradually to a greater selflessness, thus the entering of agape. And agape itself cannot survive on its own. Man cannot constantly give, but he must receive as well. Receiving is an act of love, it is an affirmation of the love shown to you, and thus the agape love leads to the love of eros. Both types of love are totally and utterly dependent on each other. Without each other, love is not at its fullest, but is incomplete. The Pope is saying something very important here; that it is good to receive and bad to just give. Love is an act that involves two parties. Love must also be reciprocated. Thus, when one gives love, another receives, and, as a response to that reception of love, one gives back. Love is thus a communion, which is the very inner life of the Trinity. Therefore, love must contain both the love of agape and eros. This is exemplified to us through Jacob's latter and its interpretation by the Church Fathers. They saw Jacob's latter as a metaphor for love, of our seeking God (eros), and receiving God's love (agape). The ascending of the latter was the seeking of God, while descending was the reception of that love.
Thus, the Pope concludes, love is a singular reality, with various dimensions that emerge more clearly to us as we are purified by God's love. Love, however, can be mistaken when it's various dimensions are separated from each other to appear as though they are very distinct realities, and thus the true idea of love is impoverished and incomplete. The Bible speaks to the truth of the human experience of love, and this is expressed in the Song of Songs, in which the first part expresses the seeking of love and this seeking is fulfilled through the giving of self. Thus love can only be fulfilled when the twodimensions of eros and agape are seen as dimensions of the same reality of love. This now brings us to our biblical faith. We must now put these aspects of love into context of the image of God and the image of man
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
The modern interpretation of erotic love is a response. It is a response to what is perceived as the Church being opposed to the body. The Church has never opposed the body, but has defended it.
However, due to these false perceptions, there has been a false response. The view of society nowadays is to say that it is the body only that is important. Hence erotic love in our culture is seen in the light of pure sex. This is why we have a culture of death and a culture of sex. It is a false response to what is a false perception of the dignity of the human person. If we do not recognize the great dignity of man shown through the unity of body and soul, then people will view a baby in the womb of his or her mother as a simple fetus, a grouping of tissue, and will view pain as burdensome, and will view physical pleasure as the only means to happiness. The body is made to express our entire being, but nowadays it expresses only that physical aspect of our being, and thus is incomplete and devoid of the dignity that is due to the human person. This is the erotic love that needs to be purified. Erotic love indeed does lead us to the divine, into an ecstasy that leads us beyond ourselves. However, it must incorporate our entire selves, and not just a singular aspect.
So then, how are we to experience erotic love so that it can be fully realized? What is this process of purification that is needed to experience erotic love in its fullness? Love is a process of discovery of the other. It is a movement away from the self and towards giving completely towards the other. As we discover the other, our motives for loving the other change. While love in its initial stages is on the more insecure, self-seeking level, it grows towards a more self-giving level in which one's personal goals and aspirations are put to the side for the other. Love becomes totally self-sacrificial and self-giving. This move towards the other is a move from the temporal to the eternal. We move away from our own immediate desires towards the wanting of eternal care and happiness for the other, thus why love has that meaning of “for ever” stamped into its nature. Love looks to the eternal. Thus, love is ecstasy, in that it is an on going move from the immediate self towards the eternal self-giving. This finds its completion in the eternal Other, God, who we give ourselves eternally to Him, and where we find our true ecstasy, our true love, our true end.
We come to realize, now, that love cannot stop at the human. If love is supposed to bring us to the eternal, then man cannot do this alone. Indeed, God, as stated, is the true end of our love. This thus brings us to biblical faith.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Love raises many questions for us. Who is this God who loves us without end, and who are we that God would love us so? But if love defines God and defines us, then what do we mean by love? Perhaps the most common use of love in society, since society is increasingly turning away from God, is the love between a man and a woman. This love, which intimately unites the man and woman in the lifelong bond of marriage, is an intimate union of body and soul in one flesh. This seems to be that epitome of love to us, all other types fail in comparison. Do these other types of love have something in common, do they designate the same reality, or are they all different realities in which there is no commonality. This is the Pope's purpose in his analysis of love.
We must now define some terms. There are three Greek words for love that are mentioned in this encyclical and they are as follows:
Eros means erotic love, love that leads us in ecstasy to the Divine, but is worldly, ascending
Philios means brotherly love (think Philidelphia).
Agape means self-sacraficial love, a love that is grounded and shaped by faith
The Pope analyzes Eros and Agape, while he puts Philia to the side. Eros, the Pope says, which is the most frequently used word for love in Greek, is rarely used in the Bible, while Agape, which is rarely used in the Greek language, is the most commonly used word for love in the Bible. So, the Pope asks, are Eros and Agape mutually inclusive or mutually exclusive?
Eros, in the time of the Greeks, was considered as something that overpowers the reason, in which the physical pleasures one gets out of erotic love take over and the spiritual side of love is completely forgone. It is this almost overpowering feeling that erotic love brings that it became to be considered a Divine thing, as a god in and of itself. However, we do not worship a love that overpowers our sense of reason. Love does not overpower, it empowers.
Now, this is not to say that erotic love does not have a place within the Christian faith. Erotic love indeed does have a place, it, however, has a warped understanding, and its true understanding can only be found in God Himself. Thus, there is a relationship between erotic love and the Divine, though it has been warped by many people throughout history. Love indeed does promise much, but our love must be purified and we must grow in maturity. This purification and promise of infinity indeed heal and restore the true meaning of erotic love.
Now, man is made up of body and soul. If we are to hope to attain a purely spiritual existence, then we lose the dignity in being created in God's image, but if we hope to attain a purely physical existence, which, in the end, is existing like the animals, then we lose the greatness we were made for. Man is not to be physical only, nor is he to be spiritual only, man is body and soul, and it is in this unity that man finds his dignity being made in God's image and likeness. It is thus the complete picture of man that loves, our love cannot come from just one aspect, but must involve our whole self. It is in this that erotic love is able to mature and become authenticated.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I have never been a big fan of using political terms to describe Catholic positions. Political language does not suffice to describe Catholic beliefs because the terms used in political language tend to change.
While it is true that certain teachings of the Catholic Church do refer to political aspects as well, and thus a similarity between the two, the motivation is quite different. In the political sphere, it is one's personal ideals and the party line that enables a person to go towards the right or the left, to be a liberal or a conservative.
The motivations of the Church, however, are not some political ideal, we are not, as Pope Benedict says, Christian's because of some lofty idea or ethical choice. The motivations of the Church are a result of that encounter with Christ that the Church has been participating in for nearly 2000 years. Thus, the motivations are truth, justice, and the good. The motivations are to defend the truth which is Christ, and the truth does not change with the winds of time, but is constant and always present.
For a political party, political ideals can change over time. Furthermore, we must remember, that there are certain teachings of the Church which would be, in the political sphere, be considered conservative, while other teachings (ie the Church's social teaching) are on the more liberal side. But these terms do not satisfy the meaning of the teachings. If we apply these political terms, then the teaches are no longer rooted in the truth, but in the ideals of a society in its current state, able to change over time.
The truth does not change, it is constant, and eternal, and is made known to us through our encounter with Christ. Thus, we have orthodox beliefs in the Church and those who do not follow Church teaching in way that is not good for the sake of their soul are considered to be heterodox. Those are the only terms which we can apply to the teachings of the Church. They satisfy the meaning of the teachings, because Orthodox means, simply, right belief, while heterodox means wrong belief. There is a truth and a falsity, and Christ is the truth, and thus our teachings are based in that truth. If our teachings are based in the Truth of Christ, and we have faith in Christ (that is, we believe in Him), then the only term that can have any meaning with regards to the Church's position is Orthodox.
These articles come from a bi-weekly e-mail I get from CERC - the Catholic Educators Resource Center. Here is the link:
It is a great site headed by my friend's dad, Fraser Field. It is great for any Catholic out there, as he gets together articles from all over the place and posts them in his bi-weekly e-mail. Please check it out!
Here is a brilliant defense of politicians who truly practice their faith making use of it in their daily life. Rex Murphy argues that there is nothing wrong with Stephen Harper saying "God Bless Canada", but that it is, instead, something comforting.
Here is an article which I read a few weeks ago, but is apart of this e-mail, from George Weigel. First and foremost, come to hear George Weigel speak at "Discovering the Catholic way of life" here in Victoria. Information is available at: www.standrewscathedral.com . He writes a BRIEF (and I do mean brief, 4 paragraphs to be exact) overview of Pope Benedict's first part of Deus Caritas Est. I'm glad I ran across it because it'll help me see some overarching themes so that I can shorten my talk down. Check it out:
John Allen gives us a general overview of Pope Benedict's first year. It is a long article (I will be reading it in pieces, the stuff I've read so far is very good), but well worth the reading:
I hope you enjoy the articles.