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Here's a slightly different translation of Aquinas' prayer before Mass:
Almighty and everlasting God, behold I come to the Sacrament of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: I come as one infirm to the physician of life, as one unclean to the fountain of mercy, as one blind to the light of everlasting brightness, as one poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore I implore the abundance of Thy measureless bounty that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to heal my infirmity, wash my uncleanness, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty and clothe my nakedness, that I may receive the Bread of Angels, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, with such reverence and humility, with such sorrow and devotion, with such purity and faith, with such purpose and intention as may be profitable to my soul's salvation. Grant unto me, I pray, the grace of receiving not only the Sacrament of our Lord's Body and Blood, but also the grace and power of the Sacrament. O most gracious God, grant me so to receive the Body of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, which He took from the Virgin Mary, as to merit to be incorporated into His mystical Body, and to be numbered amongst His members. O most loving Father, give me grace to behold forever Thy beloved Son with His face at last unveiled, whom I now purpose to receive under the sacramental veil here below.
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Here's the text I read from the Summa II-II, Q.2 (articles 1,2, and 3).
I answer that, "To think" can be taken in three ways. First, in a general way for any kind of actual consideration of the intellect, as Augustine observes (De Trin. xiv, 7): "By understanding I mean now the faculty whereby we understand when thinking." Secondly, "to think" is more strictly taken for that consideration of the intellect, which is accompanied by some kind of inquiry, and which precedes the intellect's arrival at the stage of perfection that comes with the certitude of sight. On this sense Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 16) that "the Son of God is not called the Thought, but the Word of God. When our thought realizes what we know and takes form therefrom, it becomes our word. Hence the Word of God must be understood without any thinking on the part of God, for there is nothing there that can take form, or be unformed." In this way thought is, properly speaking, the movement of the mind while yet deliberating, and not yet perfected by the clear sight of truth. Since, however, such a movement of the mind may be one of deliberation either about universal notions, which belongs to the intellectual faculty, or about particular matters, which belongs to the sensitive part, hence it is that "to think" is taken secondly for an act of the deliberating intellect, and thirdly for an act of the cogitative power.
Accordingly, if "to think" be understood broadly according to the first sense, then "to think with assent," does not express completely what is meant by "to believe": since, in this way, a man thinks with assent even when he considers what he knows by science [Science is certain knowledge of a demonstrated conclusion through its demonstration.], or understands. If, on the other hand, "to think" be understood in the second way, then this expresses completely the nature of the act of believing. For among the acts belonging to the intellect, some have a firm assent without any such kind of thinking, as when a man considers the things that he knows by science, or understands, for this consideration is already formed. But some acts of the intellect have unformed thought devoid of a firm assent, whether they incline to neither side, as in one who "doubts"; or incline to one side rather than the other, but on account of some slight motive, as in one who "suspects"; or incline to one side yet with fear of the other, as in one who "opines." But this act "to believe," cleaves firmly to one side, in which respect belief has something in common with science and understanding; yet its knowledge does not attain the perfection of clear sight, wherein it agrees with doubt, suspicion and opinion. Hence it is proper to the believer to think with assent: so that the act of believing is distinguished from all the other acts of the intellect, which are about the true or the false. (Article 1)
I answer that, The act of any power or habit depends on the relation of that power or habit to its object. Now the object of faith can be considered in three ways. For, since "to believe" is an act of the intellect, in so far as the will moves it to assent, as stated above (Article 1, Reply to Objection 3), the object of faith can be considered either on the part of the intellect, or on the part of the will that moves the intellect.
If it be considered on the part of the intellect, then two things can be observed in the object of faith, as stated above (II-II:1:1). One of these is the material object of faith, and in this way an act of faith is "to believe in a God"; because, as stated above (II-II:1:1) nothing is proposed to our belief, except in as much as it is referred to God. The other is the formal aspect of the object, for it is the medium on account of which we assent to such and such a point of faith; and thus an act of faith is "to believe God," since, as stated above (II-II:1:1) the formal object of faith is the First Truth, to Which man gives his adhesion, so as to assent to Its sake to whatever he believes.
Thirdly, if the object of faith be considered in so far as the intellect is moved by the will, an act of faith is "to believe in God." For the First Truth is referred to the will, through having the aspect of an end. (Article 2)
I answer that, Wherever one nature is subordinate to another, we find that two things concur towards the perfection of the lower nature, one of which is in respect of that nature's proper movement, while the other is in respect of the movement of the higher nature. Thus water by its proper movement moves towards the centre (of the earth), while according to the movement of the moon, it moves round the centre by ebb and flow. On like manner the planets have their proper movements from west to east, while in accordance with the movement of the first heaven, they have a movement from east to west. Now the created rational nature alone is immediately subordinate to God, since other creatures do not attain to the universal, but only to something particular, while they partake of the Divine goodness either in "being" only, as inanimate things, or also in "living," and in "knowing singulars," as plants and animals; whereas the rational nature, in as much as it apprehends the universal notion of good and being, is immediately related to the universal principle of being.
Consequently the perfection of the rational creature consists not only in what belongs to it in respect of its nature, but also in that which it acquires through a supernatural participation of Divine goodness. Hence it was said above (I-II:3:8) that man's ultimate happiness consists in a supernatural vision of God: to which vision man cannot attain unless he be taught by God, according to John 6:45: "Every one that hath heard of the Father and hath learned cometh to Me." Now man acquires a share of this learning, not indeed all at once, but by little and little, according to the mode of his nature: and every one who learns thus must needs believe, in order that he may acquire science in a perfect degree; thus also the Philosopher remarks (De Soph. Elench. i, 2) that "it behooves a learner to believe."
Hence in order that a man arrive at the perfect vision of heavenly happiness, he must first of all believe God, as a disciple believes the master who is teaching him. (Article 3)
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Today we discuss the doctrine of supersessionism with Fr. William Goldin.
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Here's the text we read from Aquinas:
I answer that, It behooved Christ to rise again, for five reasons. First of all; for the commendation of Divine Justice, to which it belongs to exalt them who humble themselves for God's sake, according to Luke 1:52: "He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble." Consequently, because Christ humbled Himself even to the death of the Cross, from love and obedience to God, it behooved Him to be uplifted by God to a glorious resurrection; hence it is said in His Person (Psalm 138:2): "Thou hast known," i.e. approved, "my sitting down," i.e. My humiliation and Passion, "and my rising up," i.e. My glorification in the resurrection; as the gloss expounds.
Secondly, for our instruction in the faith, since our belief in Christ's Godhead is confirmed by His rising again, because, according to 2 Corinthians 13:4, "although He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God." And therefore it is written (1 Corinthians 15:14): "If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and our [Vulgate: 'your'] faith is also vain": and (Psalm 29:10): "What profit is there in my blood?" that is, in the shedding of My blood, "while I go down," as by various degrees of evils, "into corruption?" As though He were to answer: "None. 'For if I do not at once rise again but My body be corrupted, I shall preach to no one, I shall gain no one,'" as the gloss expounds.
Thirdly, for the raising of our hope, since through seeing Christ, who is our head, rise again, we hope that we likewise shall rise again. Hence it is written (1 Corinthians 15:12): "Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead?" And (Job 19:25-27): "I know," that is with certainty of faith, "that my Redeemer," i.e. Christ, "liveth," having risen from the dead; "and" therefore "in the last day I shall rise out of the earth . . . this my hope is laid up in my bosom."
Fourthly, to set in order the lives of the faithful: according to Romans 6:4: "As Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life": and further on; "Christ rising from the dead dieth now no more; so do you also reckon that you are dead to sin, but alive to God."
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In today's episode we'll take a look at the following questions:
Is it possible to hate God?
Is hatred of God the greatest of sins?
Is hatred of one's neighbor always a sin?
Is hated a deadly sin?
If not, from what deadly sin does hatred arise?
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Here's the main article we look at from Aquinas in today's episode:
Whether it is possible for anyone to hate God?
Objection 1. It would seem that no man can hate God. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "the first good and beautiful is an object of love and dilection to all." But God is goodness and beauty itself. Therefore He is hated by none.
Objection 2. Further, in the Apocryphal books of 3 Esdras 4:36, it is written that "all things call upon truth . . . and (all men) do well like of her works." Now God is the very truth according to John 14:6. Therefore all love God, and none can hate Him.
Objection 3. Further, hatred is a kind of aversion. But according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. i) God draws all things to Himself. Therefore none can hate Him.
On the contrary, It is written (Psalm 73:23): "The pride of them that hate Thee ascendeth continually," and (John 15:24): "But now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father."
I answer that, As shown above (I-II:29:1), hatred is a movement of the appetitive power, which power is not set in motion save by something apprehended. Now God can be apprehended by man in two ways; first, in Himself, as when He is seen in His Essence; secondly, in His effects, when, to wit, "the invisible things" of God . . . "are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). Now God in His Essence is goodness itself, which no man can hate—for it is natural to good to be loved. Hence it is impossible for one who sees God in His Essence, to hate Him.
Moreover some of His effects are such that they can nowise be contrary to the human will, since "to be, to live, to understand," which are effects of God, are desirable and lovable to all. Wherefore again God cannot be an object of hatred if we consider Him as the Author of such like effects. Some of God's effects, however, are contrary to an inordinate will, such as the infliction of punishment, and the prohibition of sin by the Divine Law. Such like effects are repugnant to a will debased by sin, and as regards the consideration of them, God may be an object of hatred to some, in so far as they look upon Him as forbidding sin, and inflicting punishment.
Reply to Objection 1. This argument is true of those who see God's Essence, which is the very essence of goodness.
Reply to Objection 2. This argument is true in so far as God is apprehended as the cause of such effects as are naturally beloved of all, among which are the works of Truth who reveals herself to men.
Reply to Objection 3. God draws all things to Himself, in so far as He is the source of being, since all things, in as much as they are, tend to be like God, Who is Being itself.
- ST II-II, Q. 34, A. 1
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Today we're joined around bar table by my good mate, Michael Gormley (Gomer) of Catching Foxes to discuss a wide range of topics through a Thomistic lens.
- Virtue ethics
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- The difference between material and formal heresy
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Today Fr. Dominic and I take a look primarily at ST. III, Q. 9, A. 1.:
Whether Christ had any knowledge besides the Divine?
Objection 1. It would seem that in Christ there was no knowledge except the Divine. For knowledge is necessary that things may be known thereby. But by His Divine knowledge Christ knew all things. Therefore any other knowledge would have been superfluous in Him.
Objection 2. Further, the lesser light is dimmed by the greater. But all created knowledge in comparison with the uncreated knowledge of God is as the lesser to the greater light. Therefore there shone in Christ no other knowledge except the Divine.
Objection 3. Further, the union of the human nature with the Divine took place in the Person, as is clear from III:2:2. Now, according to some there is in Christ a certain "knowledge of the union," whereby Christ knew what belongs to the mystery of Incarnation more fully than anyone else. Hence, since the personal union contains two natures, it would seem that there are not two knowledges in Christ, but one only, pertaining to both natures.
On the contrary, Ambrose says (De Incarnat. vii): "God assumed the perfection of human nature in the flesh; He took upon Himself the sense of man, but not the swollen sense of the flesh." But created knowledge pertains to the sense of man. Therefore in Christ there was created knowledge.
I answer that, As said above (Article 5), the Son of God assumed an entire human nature, i.e. not only a body, but also a soul, and not only a sensitive, but also a rational soul. And therefore it behooved Him to have created knowledge, for three reasons. First, on account of the soul's perfection. For the soul, considered in itself, is in potentiality to knowing intelligible things. since it is like "a tablet on which nothing is written," and yet it may be written upon through the possible intellect, whereby it may become all things, as is said De Anima iii, 18. Now what is in potentiality is imperfect unless reduced to act. But it was fitting that the Son of God should assume, not an imperfect, but a perfect human nature, since the whole human race was to be brought back to perfection by its means. Hence it behooved the soul of Christ to be perfected by a knowledge, which would be its proper perfection. And therefore it was necessary that there should be another knowledge in Christ besides the Divine knowledge, otherwise the soul of Christ would have been more imperfect than the souls of the rest of men. Secondly, because, since everything is on account of its operation, as stated De Coel. ii, 17, Christ would have had an intellective soul to no purpose if He had not understood by it; and this pertains to created knowledge. Thirdly, because some created knowledge pertains to the nature of the human soul, viz. that whereby we naturally know first principles; since we are here taking knowledge for any cognition of the human intellect. Now nothing natural was wanting to Christ, since He took the whole human nature, as stated above (Article 5). And hence the Sixth Council [Third Council of Constantinople, Act. 4] condemned the opinion of those who denied that in Christ there are two knowledges or wisdoms.
Reply to Objection 1. Christ knew all things with the Divine knowledge by an uncreated operation which is the very Essence of God; since God's understanding is His substance, as the Philosopher proves (Metaph. xii, text. 39). Hence this act could not belong to the human soul of Christ, seeing that it belongs to another nature. Therefore, if there had been no other knowledge in the soul of Christ, it would have known nothing; and thus it would have been assumed to no purpose, since everything is on account of its operation.
Reply to Objection 2. If the two lights are supposed to be in the same order, the lesser is dimmed by the greater, as the light of the sun dims the light of a candle, both being in the class of illuminants. But if we suppose two lights, one of which is in the class of illuminants and the other in the class of illuminated, the lesser light is not dimmed by the greater, but rather is strengthened, as the light of the air by the light of the sun. And in this manner the light of knowledge is not dimmed, but rather is heightened in the soul of Christ by the light of the Divine knowledge, which is "the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world," as is written John 1:9.
Reply to Objection 3. On the part of what are united we hold there is a knowledge in Christ, both as to His Divine and as to His human nature; so that, by reason of the union whereby there is one hypostasis of God and man, the things of God are attributed to man, and the things of man are attributed to God, as was said above (III:3:1 and III:3:6). But on the part of the union itself we cannot admit any knowledge in Christ. For this union is in personal being, and knowledge belongs to person only by reason of a nature.
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Today we chat with Aquinas about the 3 reasons we should fast.
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Here's what Aquinas had to say on the matter:
I answer that, An act is virtuous through being directed by reason to some virtuous [honestum] [Cf. II-II:145:1] good. Now this is consistent with fasting, because fasting is practiced for a threefold purpose.
First, in order to bridle the lusts of the flesh, wherefore the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 6:5-6): "In fasting, in chastity," since fasting is the guardian of chastity. For, according to Jerome [Contra Jov. ii.] "Venus is cold when Ceres and Bacchus are not there," that is to say, lust is cooled by abstinence in meat and drink.
Secondly, we have recourse to fasting in order that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things: hence it is related (Daniel 10) of Daniel that he received a revelation from God after fasting for three weeks.
Thirdly, in order to satisfy for sins: wherefore it is written (Joel 2:12): "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning." The same is declared by Augustine in a sermon (De orat. et Jejun. [Serm. lxxii (ccxxx, de Tempore)]): "Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one's flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity."
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Today I'm joined by Fr. Damian Ference to discuss Aquinas & Augustine. How they complement each other, how Aquinas builds upon Augustine, and why you still should be reading Augustine even if you're an Aquinas geek. ... Like me.
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Here's what we read from Aquinas in today's episode:
On the contrary, Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. vi, 12): "Man's excellence consists in the fact that God made him to His own image by giving him an intellectual soul, which raises him above the beasts of the field." Therefore things without intellect are not made to God's image.
I answer that, Not every likeness, not even what is copied from something else, is sufficient to make an image; for if the likeness be only generic, or existing by virtue of some common accident, this does not suffice for one thing to be the image of another. For instance, a worm, though from man it may originate, cannot be called man's image, merely because of the generic likeness. Nor, if anything is made white like something else, can we say that it is the image of that thing; for whiteness is an accident belonging to many species. But the nature of an image requires likeness in species; thus the image of the king exists in his son: or, at least, in some specific accident, and chiefly in the shape; thus, we speak of a man's image in copper. Whence Hilary says pointedly that "an image is of the same species."
ST I, Q. 93 A. 2.
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Today I chat with Fr. Chris Pietraszko about the sin of sloth.
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Here's the texts we read:
I answer that, Sloth, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 14) is an oppressive sorrow, which, to wit, so weighs upon man's mind, that he wants to do nothing; thus acid things are also cold. Hence sloth implies a certain weariness of work, as appears from a gloss on Psalm 106:18, "Their soul abhorred all manner of meat," and from the definition of some who say that sloth is a "sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good."
Now this sorrow is always evil, sometimes in itself, sometimes in its effect. For sorrow is evil in itself when it is about that which is apparently evil but good in reality, even as, on the other hand, pleasure is evil if it is about that which seems to be good but is, in truth, evil. Since, then, spiritual good is a good in very truth, sorrow about spiritual good is evil in itself. And yet that sorrow also which is about a real evil, is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds. Hence the Apostle (2 Corinthians 2:7) did not wish those who repented to be "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."
Objection 2. Further, a capital sin is one to which daughters are assigned. Now Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) assigns six daughters to sloth, viz. "malice, spite, faint-heartedness, despair, sluggishness in regard to the commandments, wandering of the mind after unlawful things." Now these do not seem in reality to arise from sloth. For "spite" is, seemingly the same as hatred, which arises from envy, as stated above (II-II:34:6); "malice" is a genus which contains all vices, and, in like manner, a "wandering" of the mind after unlawful things is to be found in every vice; "sluggishness" about the commandments seems to be the same as sloth, while "faint-heartedness" and "despair" may arise from any sin. Therefore sloth is not rightly accounted a capital sin.
Reply to Objection 2. Gregory fittingly assigns the daughters of sloth. For since, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 5,6) "no man can be a long time in company with what is painful and unpleasant," it follows that something arises from sorrow in two ways: first, that man shuns whatever causes sorrow; secondly, that he passes to other things that give him pleasure: thus those who find no joy in spiritual pleasures, have recourse to pleasures of the body, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. x, 6). Now in the avoidance of sorrow the order observed is that man at first flies from unpleasant objects, and secondly he even struggles against such things as cause sorrow. Now spiritual goods which are the object of the sorrow of sloth, are both end and means. Avoidance of the end is the result of "despair," while avoidance of those goods which are the means to the end, in matters of difficulty which come under the counsels, is the effect of "faint-heartedness," and in matters of common righteousness, is the effect of "sluggishness about the commandments." The struggle against spiritual goods that cause sorrow is sometimes with men who lead others to spiritual goods, and this is called "spite"; and sometimes it extends to the spiritual goods themselves, when a man goes so far as to detest them, and this is properly called "malice." On so far as a man has recourse to eternal objects of pleasure, the daughter of sloth is called "wandering after unlawful things." From this it is clear how to reply to the objections against each of the daughters: for "malice" does not denote here that which is generic to all vices, but must be understood as explained. Nor is "spite" taken as synonymous with hatred, but for a kind of indignation, as stated above: and the same applies to the others.
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Here's the text from Aquinas we read this week:
From all this then is seen the effect of the passion of Christ as a remedy for sin. But no less does it profit us as an example. St. Augustine says that the passion of Christ can bring about a complete reformation of our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly need do nothing other than despise what Christ despised on the cross, and desire what Christ desired. There is no virtue that did not have its example on the Cross.
So if you seek an example of charity, then, “greater love than this no one has, than to lay down his life for his friends” [Jn 15:13]. And this Christ did upon the Cross. If, therefore, He gave His life or us, we ought to endure any and all evils for Him: “What shall I render to the Lord for all the things that He has done for me?” [Ps 15:12].
If you seek an example of patience, you will find it in its highest degree upon the Cross. Great patience is exemplified in two ways: either when one suffers intensely in all patience, or when one suffers that which he could avoid if he so wished. Christ suffered greatly upon the Cross: “All you who pass by the way, look and see if there is any sorrow like My sorrow” [Lam 1:12]. And with all patience, because, “when He suffered, He did not threaten” [1 Pet 2:23]. And again: “He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter and shall be dumb before His shearer, and shall not open His mouth” [Is 53:7]. He could have avoided this suffering, but He did not: “Do you think that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me presently more than twelve legions of Angels?” [Mt 26:23]. The patience of Christ upon the cross, therefore, was of the highest degree: “Let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us; looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” [Heb 12:1-2].
If you seek an example of humility, look upon Him who is crucified; although He was God, He chose to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to be put to death: “Your cause has been judged as that of the wicked” [Job 36:17]. Truly “that of the wicked,” because: “Let us condemn Him to a most shameful death” [Wis 2:20]. The Lord chose to die for His servant; the Life of the Angels suffered death for man: “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” [Phil 2:8].
If you seek an example of obedience, imitate Him who was obedient to the Father unto death: “For by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just” [Rom 5:19].
If you seek an example of contempt for earthly things, imitate Him who is the King of kings, the Lord of rulers, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom; but on the Cross He was stripped naked, ridiculed, spat upon, bruised, crowned with thorns, given to drink of vinegar and gall, and finally put to death. How falsely, therefore, is one attached to riches and raiment, for: “They divided My garments amongst them; and upon My robe they cast lots” [Ps 21:19]. How falsely to honors, since “I was covered with lashes and insults;” how falsely to positions of power, because “taking a crown of thorns, they placed it upon My brow;” how falsely to delicacies of the table, for “in My thirst they gave Me to drink of vinegar” [Ps 68:22]. Thus, St. Augustine, in commenting on these words, “Who, having joy set before Him, endured the Cross despising the shame” [Heb 12:2]. says: “The man Christ despised all earthly things in order to teach us to despise them.
Today I sit down with philosopher Dr. Michael Gorman to discuss faith and reason. What a great episode. Great a beer, here we go!
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Today I sit down with philosopher, Dr. Frey to discuss life. A much more difficult issue than you might think.
Here's two of the main texts' from Aquinas that Dr. Frey and I reference ... I bet if you read these excerpts after listening to the show they'll make a lot more sense.
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Whether life is properly attributed to God?
I answer that, Life is in the highest degree properly in God. In proof of which it must be considered that since a thing is said to live in so far as it operates of itself and not as moved by another, the more perfectly this power is found in anything, the more perfect is the life of that thing. In things that move and are moved, a threefold order is found. In the first place, the end moves the agent: and the principal agent is that which acts through its form, and sometimes it does so through some instrument that acts by virtue not of its own form, but of the principal agent, and does no more than execute the action. Accordingly there are things that move themselves, not in respect of any form or end naturally inherent in them, but only in respect of the executing of the movement; the form by which they act, and the end of the action being alike determined for them by their nature. Of this kind are plants, which move themselves according to their inherent nature, with regard only to executing the movements of growth and decay.
Other things have self-movement in a higher degree, that is, not only with regard to executing the movement, but even as regards to the form, the principle of movement, which form they acquire of themselves. Of this kind are animals, in which the principle of movement is not a naturally implanted form; but one received through sense. Hence the more perfect is their sense, the more perfect is their power of self-movement. Such as have only the sense of touch, as shellfish, move only with the motion of expansion and contraction; and thus their movement hardly exceeds that of plants. Whereas such as have the sensitive power in perfection, so as to recognize not only connection and touch, but also objects apart from themselves, can move themselves to a distance by progressive movement. Yet although animals of the latter kind receive through sense the form that is the principle of their movement, nevertheless they cannot of themselves propose to themselves the end of their operation, or movement; for this has been implanted in them by nature; and by natural instinct they are moved to any action through the form apprehended by sense. Hence such animals as move themselves in respect to an end they themselves propose are superior to these. This can only be done by reason and intellect; whose province it is to know the proportion between the end and the means to that end, and duly coordinate them. Hence a more perfect degree of life is that of intelligible beings; for their power of self-movement is more perfect. This is shown by the fact that in one and the same man the intellectual faculty moves the sensitive powers; and these by their command move the organs of movement. Thus in the arts we see that the art of using a ship, i.e. the art of navigation, rules the art of ship-designing; and this in its turn rules the art that is only concerned with preparing the material for the ship.
But although our intellect moves itself to some things, yet others are supplied by nature, as are first principles, which it cannot doubt; and the last end, which it cannot but will. Hence, although with respect to some things it moves itself, yet with regard to other things it must be moved by another. Wherefore that being whose act of understanding is its very nature, and which, in what it naturally possesses, is not determined by another, must have life in the most perfect degree. Such is God; and hence in Him principally is life. From this the Philosopher concludes (Metaph. xii, 51), after showing God to be intelligent, that God has life most perfect and eternal, since His intellect is most perfect and always in act.
ST I, Q. 18, A. 3
Whether death and other bodily defects are the result of sin?
I answer that, One thing causes another in two ways: first, by reason of itself; secondly, accidentally. By reason of itself, one thing is the cause of another, if it produces its effect by reason of the power of its nature or form, the result being that the effect is directly intended by the cause. Consequently, as death and such like defects are beside the intention of the sinner, it is evident that sin is not, of itself, the cause of these defects. Accidentally, one thing is the cause of another if it causes it by removing an obstacle: thus it is stated in Phys. viii, text. 32, that "by displacing a pillar a man moves accidentally the stone resting thereon." In this way the sin of our first parent is the cause of death and all such like defects in human nature, in so far as by the sin of our first parent original justice was taken away, whereby not only were the lower powers of the soul held together under the control of reason, without any disorder whatever, but also the whole body was held together in subjection to the soul, without any defect, as stated in the I:97:1. Wherefore, original justice being forfeited through the sin of our first parent; just as human nature was stricken in the soul by the disorder among the powers, as stated above (Article 3; I-II:82:3), so also it became subject to corruption, by reason of disorder in the body.
Now the withdrawal of original justice has the character of punishment, even as the withdrawal of grace has. Consequently, death and all consequent bodily defects are punishments of original sin. And although the defects are not intended by the sinner, nevertheless they are ordered according to the justice of God Who inflicts them as punishments.
Reply to Objection 1. Causes that produce their effects of themselves, if equal, produce equal effects: for if such causes be increased or diminished, the effect is increased or diminished. But equal causes of an obstacle being removed, do not point to equal effects. For supposing a man employs equal force in displacing two columns, it does not follow that the movements of the stones resting on them will be equal; but that one will move with greater velocity, which has the greater weight according to the property of its nature, to which it is left when the obstacle to its falling is removed. Accordingly, when original justice is removed, the nature of the human body is left to itself, so that according to diverse natural temperaments, some men's bodies are subject to more defects, some to fewer, although original sin is equal in all.
Reply to Objection 2. Both original and actual sin are removed by the same cause that removes these defects, according to the Apostle (Romans 8:11): "He . . . shall quicken . . . your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit that dwelleth in you": but each is done according to the order of Divine wisdom, at a fitting time. Because it is right that we should first of all be conformed to Christ's sufferings, before attaining to the immortality and impassibility of glory, which was begun in Him, and by Him acquired for us. Hence it behooves that our bodies should remain, for a time, subject to suffering, in order that we may merit the impassibility of glory, in conformity with Christ.
Reply to Objection 3. Two things may be considered in actual sin, the substance of the act, and the aspect of fault. As regards the substance of the act, actual sin can cause a bodily defect: thus some sicken and die through eating too much. But as regards the fault, it deprives us of grace which is given to us that we may regulate the acts of the soul, but not that we may ward off defects of the body, as original justice did. Wherefore actual sin does not cause those defects, as original sin does.
Article 6. Whether death and other defects are natural to man?
Objection 1. It would seem that death and such like defects are natural to man. For "the corruptible and the incorruptible differ generically" (Metaph. x, text. 26). But man is of the same genus as other animals which are naturally corruptible. Therefore man is naturally corruptible.
Objection 2. Further, whatever is composed of contraries is naturally corruptible, as having within itself the cause of corruption. But such is the human body. Therefore it is naturally corruptible.
Objection 3. Further, a hot thing naturally consumes moisture. Now human life is preserved by hot and moist elements. Since therefore the vital functions are fulfilled by the action of natural heat, as stated in De Anima ii, text. 50, it seems that death and such like defects are natural to man.
On the contrary, (1) God made in man whatever is natural to him. Now "God made not death" (Wisdom 1:13). Therefore death is not natural to man.
(2) Further, that which is natural cannot be called either a punishment or an evil: since what is natural to a thing is suitable to it. But death and such like defects are the punishment of original sin, as stated above (Article 5). Therefore they are not natural to man.
(3) Further, matter is proportionate to form, and everything to its end. Now man's end is everlasting happiness, as stated above (I-II:2:7; I-II:5:3-4): and the form of the human body is the rational soul, as was proved in the I:75:6. Therefore the human body is naturally incorruptible.
I answer that, We may speak of any corruptible thing in two ways; first, in respect of its universal nature, secondly, as regards its particular nature. A thing's particular nature is its own power of action and self-preservation. And in respect of this nature, every corruption and defect is contrary to nature, as stated in De Coelo ii, text. 37, since this power tends to the being and preservation of the thing to which it belongs.
On the other hand, the universal nature is an active force in some universal principle of nature, for instance in some heavenly body; or again belonging to some superior substance, in which sense God is said by some to be "the Nature Who makes nature." This force intends the good and the preservation of the universe, for which alternate generation and corruption in things are requisite: and in this respect corruption and defect in things are natural, not indeed as regards the inclination of the form which is the principle of being and perfection, but as regards the inclination of matter which is allotted proportionately to its particular form according to the discretion of the universal agent. And although every form intends perpetual being as far as it can, yet no form of a corruptible being can achieve its own perpetuity, except the rational soul; for the reason that the latter is not entirely subject to matter, as other forms are; indeed it has an immaterial operation of its own, as stated in the I:75:2. Consequently as regards his form, incorruption is more natural to man than to other corruptible things. But since that very form has a matter composed of contraries, from the inclination of that matter there results corruptibility in the whole. In this respect man is naturally corruptible as regards the nature of his matter left to itself, but not as regards the nature of his form.
The first three objections argue on the side of the matter; while the other three argue on the side of the form. Wherefore in order to solve them, we must observe that the form of man which is the rational soul, in respect of its incorruptibility is adapted to its end, which is everlasting happiness: whereas the human body, which is corruptible, considered in respect of its nature, is, in a way, adapted to its form, and, in another way, it is not. For we may note a twofold condition in any matter, one which the agent chooses, and another which is not chosen by the agent, and is a natural condition of matter. Thus, a smith in order to make a knife, chooses a matter both hard and flexible, which can be sharpened so as to be useful for cutting, and in respect of this condition iron is a matter adapted for a knife: but that iron be breakable and inclined to rust, results from the natural disposition of iron, nor does the workman choose this in the iron, indeed he would do without it if he could: wherefore this disposition of matter is not adapted to the workman's intention, nor to the purpose of his art. In like manner the human body is the matter chosen by nature in respect of its being of a mixed temperament, in order that it may be most suitable as an organ of touch and of the other sensitive and motive powers. Whereas the fact that it is corruptible is due to a condition of matter, and is not chosen by nature: indeed nature would choose an incorruptible matter if it could. But God, to Whom every nature is subject, in forming man supplied the defect of nature, and by the gift of original justice, gave the body a certain incorruptibility, as was stated in the I:97:1. It is in this sense that it is said that "God made not death," and that death is the punishment of sin.
- ST I-II, Q. 85, A. 6
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Whether the Church should excommunicate anyone?
Objection 1. It would seem that the Church ought not to excommunicate anyone, because excommunication is a kind of curse, and we are forbidden to curse (Romans 12:14). Therefore the Church should not excommunicate.
Objection 2. Further, the Church Militant should imitate the Church Triumphant. Now we read in the epistle of Jude (verse 9) that "when Michael the Archangel disputing with the devil contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee." Therefore the Church Militant ought not to judge any man by cursing or excommunicating him.
Objection 3. Further, no man should be given into the hands of his enemies, unless there be no hope for him. Now by excommunication a man is given into the hands of Satan, as is clear from 1 Corinthians 5:5. Since then we should never give up hope about anyone in this life, the Church should not excommunicate anyone.
On the contrary, The Apostle (1 Corinthians 5:5) ordered a man to be excommunicated.
Further, it is written (Matthew 18:17) about the man who refuses to hear the Church: "Let him be to thee as the heathen or publican." But heathens are outside the Church. Therefore they also who refuse to hear the Church, should be banished from the Church by excommunication.
I answer that, The judgment of the Church should be conformed to the judgment of God. Now God punishes the sinner in many ways, in order to draw him to good, either by chastising him with stripes, or by leaving him to himself so that being deprived of those helps whereby he was kept out of evil, he may acknowledge his weakness, and humbly return to God Whom he had abandoned in his pride. In both these respects the Church by passing sentence of excommunication imitates the judgment of God. For by severing a man from the communion of the faithful that he may blush with shame, she imitates the judgment whereby God chastises man with stripes; and by depriving him of prayers and other spiritual things, she imitates the judgment of God in leaving man to himself, in order that by humility he may learn to know himself and return to God.
Reply to Objection 1. A curse may be pronounced in two ways: first, so that the intention of the one who curses is fixed on the evil which he invokes or pronounces, and cursing in this sense is altogether forbidden. Secondly, so that the evil which a man invokes in cursing is intended for the good of the one who is cursed, and thus cursing is sometimes lawful and salutary: thus a physician makes a sick man undergo pain, by cutting him, for instance, in order to deliver him from his sickness.
Reply to Objection 2. The devil cannot be brought to repentance, wherefore the pain of excommunication cannot do him any good.
Reply to Objection 3. From the very fact that a man is deprived of the prayers of the Church, he incurs a triple loss, corresponding to the three things which a man acquires through the Church's prayers. For they bring an increase of grace to those who have it, or merit grace for those who have it not; and in this respect the Master of the Sentences says (Sent. iv, D, 18): "The grace of God is taken away by excommunication." They also prove a safeguard of virtue; and in this respect he says that "protection is taken away," not that the excommunicated person is withdrawn altogether from God's providence, but that he is excluded from that protection with which He watches over the children of the Church in a more special way. Moreover, they are useful as a defense against the enemy, and in this respect he says that "the devil receives greater power of assaulting the excommunicated person, both spiritually and corporally." Hence in the early Church, when men had to be enticed to the faith by means of outward signs (thus the gift of the Holy Ghost was shown openly by a visible sign), so too excommunication was evidenced by a person being troubled in his body by the devil. Nor is it unreasonable that one, for whom there is still hope, be given over to the enemy, for he is surrendered, not unto damnation, but unto correction, since the Church has the power to rescue him from the hands of the enemy, whenever he is willing.
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