Friday, September 6, 2013

"to delight in the praise for its own sake..."

For some reason I've been getting a lot of kind, flattering, humbling feedback from fellow students in the course I'm taking on the Holy Trinity.  I think that this total stranger's response represents one of the few moments in my life I've felt understood.

[my original post]
Agere sequitur esse. This famous scholastic dictum encapsulates the point at issue in "I, Q'.s 4-6" [of St. Thomas's Summa Theologiae]. What a thing does (agere) is a "second act" which follows upon what a thing is (esse), it's "first act." Since God is ipsum esse, being simply, everything He does is one with what, or that, He Is. Whatever good a person -- or any created substance -- achieves, however, is resultant upon its act of being, and can fall short of goodness or perfection. Formality and Goodness, while separated in rational analysis, are in Nature, as in God, not separated -- are, in fact, synonymous. Ideally, every thing, by being what it is (form), achieves its perfection (goal). God -- Existence per se  -- is fully actual, and existing beings participate in His primordial existing, but analogously, namely by the limitation of individual essence, which is separated out by matter. Humanity in particular -- because it is Fallen and possessing free will -- falls short of its own perfection, lacks full participation in the human essence (human "being"), what humanity is created to be (but that leads to another issue). And even in Nature, which is composed of creatures subject to generation and corruption, we find beings which fall short of their essence, especially in the phenomenon of death or in the process of decay. Since in God there is no distinction between His attributes and His existence -- and since we are certain of His existence by the proofs -- we can equally be certain of His goodness and His perfection.

[stranger's reply]
 Trevor I heard your voice in my head as I read. We were in a stone church classroom, candles lighting up the stone walls with years of soot rising up the walls. The fire was cracking but not irritatingly, and one would notice the graphics on the high walls for ancient councils in which the archbishop was called to attend. You were reading from a stool, one leg over the other, and holding a pipe in one hand. In the other was a book, a brief and concise analysis of the Summa to which you narrated quite well. Your fingers broke the spine of the book and simultaneously help open the pages flat, neat and open enough to read line to line, edge to edge.

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