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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