Wednesday, July 3, 2013

God is still incarnate, but "wishes us to press on" beyond all that nonetheless

according to the Farrow indictment of St. Augustine, whom Farrow accuses of falling unacceptably short of St. Irenaeus:
"the Lord himself 'wishes us rather to press on; and, instead of weakly clinging to temporal things, even though these have been put on and worn by Him for our salvation, to pass over them quickly, and to struggle to attain to himself, who has freed our nature from the bondage of temporal things, and has set it down at the right hand of the Father'" (De doctrina Christiana I.xxxiv/38; cf. Ascension and ecclesia, 117-121, but esp. 119-121, where other problematic passages are cited).
Augustine's "firm confession of resurrection, ascension and parousia in the flesh rules out any retraction of the incarnation on an ontological level" (121), but there is this dangerous retraction "on the subjective level" (120).

Note, however, that even here (the most problematic of the passages cited by Farrow at this point), the ground of our freedom "from the bondage of temporal things" is precisely the session of human nature "at the right hand of the Father".

Still, Farrow may be on to something.  Note how this same passage appears in the Library of liberal arts translation by D. W. Robertson, Jr. (p. 30):
"the Lord Himself, although He saw fit to become our road [(via, as in Jn 14:6)], did not wish to hold us upon it, but wishes that we pass on, lest we cling in infirmity to temporal things, even though He took them up and wore them for our salvation.  Rather, let us run through them quickly that we may be worthy to approach and to reach Him who freed our nature from temporal things and made a place for it on the right hand of the Father."
From PL 34, cols. 33-34 (the edition ready-to-hand, but far from the best):
“nec ipse Dominus, in quantum via nostra esse dignatus est, tenere nos voluerit, sed transire; ne rebus temporalibus, quamvis ab illo pro salute nostra susceptis et gestis, hæreamus infirmiter, sed per eas potius curramus alacriter, ut ad eum ipsum, qui nostram naturam a temporalibus liberavit, et collocavit ad dexteram Patris, provehi atque pervehi mereamur.”
I would have said "the Lord himself, although He saw fit to become our Way, did not want us to occupy [(tenere)], but to pass quickly along [(transire) it]", etc.  (So I should probably look more closely at the whole of the Latin (in a properly critical edition).)

In any case, Ascension and ecclesia pp. 119-121 does raise some questions about St. Augustine.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Among the things I hope to have explained to me, on the Day of Judgement, is why I became a Catholic."

     David Warren, "Why Catholic?," Canadian converts:  the path to Rome (Ottawa, ON:  Justin Press, 2009), 259 (259-286).

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Splendor of Truth (Veritatis Splendor)

Geertgen tot Sint Jans,
The nativity at night, c. 1490.
The National Gallery, London.
O God, who through the grace of adoption chose us to be children of light, grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.  Through, etc.

Deus, qui, per adoptionem gratiæ, lucis nos esse filios voluisti, præsta, quæsumus, ut errorum non involvamur tenebris, sed in splendore veritatis semper maneamus conspicui.  Per, etc.

     Collect for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, new translation.  The CTS new daily missal, people's edition (London:  Catholic Truth Society, 2012), p. 825; Missale Romanum, 3rd (2002) ed., p. 463.  According to Corpus orationum at no. 6821, this is no. 725 in the late-9th-century Sacramentarium Bergomense (no. 725), which originated in northern Italy and possibly Milan.  Thus, it is not surprising that, before checking Corpus orationum, I found it in
an 11th-century codex containing the Ambrosian (i.e. Milanese) rite (Manuale Ambrosianum pt. 2, Officia totius anni et alii ordines =Monumenta veteris liturgiae Ambrosianae 3, ed. Magistretti (Milan:  Ulricum Hoepli, 1905), 252; cf. the critical edition, also ed. Magistretti:  Monumenta sacra et profana, ex codicibus praesertim Bibliothecae Ambrosianae 4 (1913).  My translation:

O God, who through the adoption of grace, have willed that we be sons of the light, grant, we pray, that we may not be rolled/wrapped up into (enveloped/involved/entangled in) the darkness/obscurity of error but remain/continue (pass the night!) always conspicuous[ly] in (or adhere always conspicuous[ly] to) the splendor of truth.  Through, etc.

     Were it correct to read this as "grant, we pray, that we may not be enveloped in the darkness of error but pass the night always conspicuously in the splendor of truth", I would think of Ex 14:19-20, on the undoubtedly erroneous assumption that, unlike the Egyptian, the Israelite camp would have been illuminated by the pillar of fire (13:21-22)).  I would thus envision the Israelites enveloped by the darkness of the Egyptian night, but separated from the advancing enemy by the cloud while yet lit up by the pillar.  I would think also (so long as I hadn't checked the Latin?) of Luke 24:29 and the evening prayer, "Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand, and the day is past" (1979 BCP 124, 139; ).  As for the reading "pass the night", see Lewis & Short, s.v. maneo I.B.
     And Who is the Splendor of Truth?

O God, whose eternal Word adorns the face of the heavens yet accepted from the Virgin Mary the frailty of our flesh, grant, we pray, that he who appeared among us as the splendour of truth may go forth in the fullness of power for the redemption of the world. Who, etc.

Deus, cuius Verbi æternitas cæli faciem decoravit, et ex Maria Virgine carnis nostræ fragilitatem suscepit, quæsumus, ut qui splendor veritatis in nobis apparuit, pro mundi redemptione in plenitudine potestatis procedat.  Qui, etc.

     Collect for the Monday after the Solemnity of the Epiphany, new translation.  The CTS new daily missal, people's edition (London:  Catholic Truth Society, 2012), p. 1291; Missale Romanum, 3rd (2002) ed., p. 178.