Friday, November 11, 2011

"a certain beatitude of our body"

     "Thus, although sensible perception, apparently disparaged at the beginning [of the 'Adore te deuote'] (v. 5), is revealed [to be] necessary in order to understand the message and to contemplate the sacramental Christ, one notes that it persists even once glorified.  In eternity, the humanity of Christ will be also the object of our contemplation:  'There will be a certain beatitude of our body, in that it will [continue to] see God in sensible creatures, and in the body of Christ above all' (Sentences IV, d.49 q.2 a.2 [ad 6]), and Thomas specifies elsewhere:  'The blessed contemplate in the first place [(prioritairement)] the divinity of Christ and not his humanity.  But they find their joy in the contemplation of the one and of the other' (Quodlibet VIII, q. 9 a.2 [Resp.]).  This will be an integral and inalienable component of their beatitude.  Thomas, 'in his entirety' glorified, will contemplate [the] glorified Jesus 'in his entirety' [(Thomas, «tout entier» glorifié, contemplera Jésus glorifié «tout entier»)]."

     Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., "«Adore Te»:  La plus belle prière de saint Thomas," La vie spirituelle no. 726 (mars 1998):  35 (28-36).  The Sed contra of Quodlibet VIII q. 9 a.2 is more explicit than the Respondeo"On the contrary, one does not attain to the end [(extremum)] except through the middle [(medium)]; but the middle between God and men is the humanity of Christ:  1 Tim. 2:5:  ‘the mediator [between] God and men is the man Christ Jesus.’  Therefore the blessed do not attain to the contemplation of the divinity of Christ except by first contemplating his humanity [(Ergo sancti non perveniunt ad contemplationem divinitatis Christi, nisi prius contemplando eius humanitatem)]."  But there is also an "ad Sed contra," something I have yet to see in the Summa.  And it is from this that  Torrell gets his "Thomas specifies elsewhere":  "To that which [the Sed] contra throws up as an obstacle, [it is] to be said that this argument procedes with respect to the state of [life on] the way, in which, since [(sed (but), next clause)] we are not yet perfectly conjoined with God, . . . [(sed)] it behooves us to accede to God through Christ; but since in beatitude we will already be conjoined with God, we [will] intend the divinity of Christ before [(per prius . . . quam)] his humanity."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"although we can in a way understand God without understanding his goodness, we cannot understand God by understanding that he is not good".

"licet nos intelligamus aliqualiter Deum, non intelligendo eius bonitatem, non tamen possumus intelligere Deum intelligendo eum non esse bonum".

St. Thomas Aquinas, De potentia 8, trans. Ralph McInerny (Thomas Aquinas: selected writings, ed. & trans. Ralph McInerny (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1998), 309).

Lieux d'oubli

     "What is new, at least in the modern era, is the neglect of history. Every memorial, every museum, every shorthand commemorative allusion to something from the past that should arouse in us the appropriate sentiments of respect, or regret, or sadness, or pride, is parasitic upon the presumption of historical knowledge:  not shared memory, but a shared memory of history as we learned it.  France, like other modern nations, is living off the pedagogical capital invested in its citizens in earlier decades. As Jacques and Mona Ozouf gloomily conclude in their essay on Augustine Fouillé's educational classic Le Tour de la France par deux enfants [(1877)]: 'Le Tour de la France stands as witness to that moment in French history when everything was invested in the schools....
" judge from the virtual disappearance of narrative history from the curriculum in school systems, including the American, the time may soon come when, for many citizens, large parts of their common past will constitute something more akin to lieux d'oubli, realms of forgettingor, rather, realms of ignorance, since there will have been little to forget. Teaching children, as we now do, to be critical of received versions of the past serves little purpose once there no longer is a received version."

     Tony Judt, "À la recherche du temps perdu: France and its pasts" (1998), in Reappraisals: reflections on the forgotten twentieth century (New York: The Penguin Press, 2008), 215-216 (196-218).