Thursday, 27 February 2014

Reflection on Tolerance

Tolerance is not the virtue of a magnanimous spirit but rather the vice of a tepid and weak soul.

Reflection on Diversity

If human society is truly diverse, how can we say there exists absolute equality amongst the members of it?

Reflection on Papal Popularity

Is it reasonable to suggest that if the reigning Pontiff is considered likeable, men would put away their vices at once and follow Christ wherever the Lamb shall go? It appears that Francis is lauded as it seems to the opinion makers that he is not Catholic.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

On the Gospel for Sexagesima

Benedicta sancta Trinitias, atque indivisa unitas!

Taken from St Luke, 8:4-15.

A fundamental lesson of our Lord's words in today's Gospel highlights two aspects which I would like to develop further in this short reflection. Let us begin by considering the first which will lead into a more fruitful discussion of the latter.

1) The universal reach of divine causality. 

All that is not God is under the dominion and sway of God. All persons of whatever state, condition and means are subject to His will whether they have ever paused to consider His lordship or have ever acknowledged it. This is symbolised by the various qualities of the ground. As the great multitude pressed about Jesus anxious to hear His latest teaching and perhaps to experience a further miracle, our Lord spoke in a parable which even the Apostles deemed as beyond their understanding. In response to their question as to the meaning of the sower going out to sow, Christ said, ''To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand''. In contradistinction to Billuart I consider this to be the sacred puzzle and the toughest aspect of theology for the mind to apprehend. Why is it that God elevates one to the supernatural level and maintains them there in His grace while He permits another to be obdurate before His appeal in love? Let us not be so foolish as to believe that God grants certain indiscriminate, naked graces to all souls that they are free to accept or decline. Is God not capable of bringing forth good fruit from the harshest of soil? Is He not willing to till the ground so that the weeds are cast aside to allow the seed to grow? Is He powerless before His creatures?

 We hold God to be the creator of nature and the author of grace. The fruitful reception of grace by a soul is not dependant upon the conditions of time and space which God foresees, as the followers of Molina assert, but rather it is God who turns to us and grants us life. By His divine movement He converts the soul to Himself, eliciting a truly free and human response. The soil is not 'discovered' by the sower, an analogy of the redemption love of Our Saviour, where He is incapable of turning the ground so that it is sensitive to His approach. The soil represents the soul laid bare and its quality is utterly dependant upon it's response to God's movement of redemption. Nothing else matters in this life. Is salt which has lost its saltiness is only good to be trampled upon what use is infertile soil to a grace filled, fruitful life in Christ? It is fit only to be condemned to rot.

2) Sufficient grace is granted to all men so that they might be saved. No man may ever claim that God has abandoned him to achieve his own salvation. All men are granted sufficient grace to know and love the one true God and redeemer of the nations. We hold that God is certainly capable of saving all men if He so decreed but that in His wisdom and justice He allows certain souls to remain outside of His love, where the devil reigns in his rebellion. Through malice the bloom of efficient grace is suppressed and man can only answer for his rejection of God. No soul could ever reproach God for failing to approach him in grace. Yet too many, as Our Lord teaches, only accept parts of the Gospel to suit their own ''needs'' and to appeal to their convenience. They receive it as only a teaching of man, a lifestyle, a simple philosophy to adapt to their circumstances. It is on account of this misunderstanding of the divine foundation of the Gospel, that Satan so quickly and easily snatches away the seed that God has planted so that they may not truly believe and be saved. As it falls among thorns, it is choked by a worldly conception of God's action among us. For these unfortunate souls, God's mission of redemption is seen as weaker than the allurements of the flesh, the seed of the word of God is considered cheap and easily bought. They have refused to see that the ground was purchased by the blood of Christ. It is not the burial place of the Traitor that is the field of blood, but our own souls. No fruit is brought forth for these men who have converted the Gospel into another aspect of their lives, a token, a sentimental belief that leaves their inner nature untouched by grace. They lack supernatural faith and rely on tradition, custom or hold on to particular features of the Gospel for the sake of consolation.

 The soul that is well prepared by God is receptive to His further graces. In patience they accept what He has decreed eternally at whatever moment He brings it about in time and space. Their glory before God is unending, they bring forth a hundred fold of what is sweet and pleasant in the sight of the saints. They are the moisture of civilization. They are the instrumental causes of the fruitful reception of grace by other souls. God works through them to show His mercy to others. They predispose other men to prepare themselves for God. It is with joy that they submit themselves to the sweet yoke of Christ and His Cross, where they see only glory and opportunity rather than a burden to be shunned if possible. All other souls perish when they regard the grace of God in too human a fashion, choked by cares and ambition.

 Let no man glory in his salvation but be grateful that he has been called out of nothing to be raised to a formal participation in the divine nature by grace. Let the reprobate condemn himself for his hardness of heart and stiff neck. Let God be glorified in all things.

 In Domino,

Charles Stuart.

Reflection on a "Church for the Poor"

A "Church for the poor" is just as exclusivist as a "Church for the rich" and which in turn reduces the essential mission of salvation on the part of Our Lord to that of inspirational leader or moral charlatan.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Reflection on Grace

No grace could ever be asked for had there not been an anterior grace granted so that the seeker may desire it.

Reflection on Progressivism

It is enticing to believe that popular based change is to be accounted as progress, to consider oneself to be part of a future-defining moment. Yet if there exists no standard but the very fluidity of movement, how could one possibly and objectively determine with any sort of confidence progression or regression of said acclaimed alteration?

Reflection on a New Catholic Church

To present an opposition between an exclusivist fortress Church and an evangelizing, missionary spirit is to posit a false dichotomy. For the missionary Church to be truly evangelical it must possess a truth or a treasure which is worth zealously guarding. There is nothing less relevant or useless than an open mind which is devoid of content. A missionary Church which has suffered the loss of such a precious jewel can only eco back the sundry prevailing fashions and slogans of a decadent and transient age while claiming to present a new reality for the people of God.  Their new orientation is secular humanism which is only tinged with religious sentimentality to ease their consciences.

Theological Shorts - The Immutability of God

In this theological and philosophical reflection we proceed to explain the mind of the Angelic Doctor which was in complete harmony with the articles of Faith upheld by the Catholic Church concerning the immutability of God. Our guide shall be the Theological Summa, First Part, Question 9, Articles 1 and 2.

The metaphysical essence of God primarily consists of His self-existence or what one may term His aseity. This truth is what is first presented to the mind of man when He considers the nature of God. Alone of all that exists God is said to be pure act, without any admixture of potentiality, Who is rightly held to be Himself in virtue of Himself and not through another. The Thomists teach that His existence and His essence are identical as He requires no outside force or agent to unite them by acting upon Him. We posit only a minor virtual distinction between His divine attributes and each one is notionally included in the other without confusion and each formally possesses the divine nature entirely. His duration is eternal, His relation to the external created world is non-necessary and purely voluntary. His end is Himself and all that He wills is willed for Himself and His own goodness. His will is immutable, His liberty, supreme, His knowledge, the cause of all things. The mixed perfections of creatures are contained eminently and virtually in Him and other perfections when stripped of their human mode of signification may be formally attributed to Him.

We hold it be an article of Faith as well as a certain truth of reason that God, the creator of all that is, the fountain of all that moves, the sustainer of all that perishes is Himself immutable in a way not possessed by any other substance whether rational or purely spiritual. We posit absolute simplicity in the divine nature which can be known analogously and abstractly through a consideration of God's actions ad extra. Yet the objection may arise that the angels themselves are pure spirits, free from the encumbrance of finite matter to restrain their being, possessing no division of parts, having reached their end already. However they, like man and the rest of creation, possess their essence and existence ab alio. It is correct to say that they are self-subsisting beings, individuals which do not form part of another or exist in the form of an accident in another substance, but they are still brought into being from nothing and only held in being by the benevolent will of the one true and immutable God and if He willed that they should be not, they would simply disappear. It is to God alone that we ascribe self-existence, ens a se, in the most proper sense.

 In addition we hold that God is immutable as regards His full possession of perfection or it may be more correct to state that He is Himself perfection of being. He requires no further knowledge to improve His choices, He is in no need of another to console His uniqueness in eternity, He is impassible in His divine nature and subject to no other.  Who could move Him? Who could further determine Him? Who could even have existence beside from Him? He remains from all eternity what He is and He remains Himself without any 'shadow of alteration or decay'.

As a corollary let us pause to set out what Billuart has called the ''nodus totius theologiae intricatissimus'' and an 'aenigma sacrum' that of the relation between the divine immutability, which applies not only to the substance of God but also to His will, and His absolute liberty. God's decrees are entirely free of coercion, change or error. Although it is certainly puzzling to modern man, but God's immutability is the very foundation of His liberty. Man is often deceived as to his choices, which would for sure change if he knew all things and needed none of them, yet he holds himself free in choosing multitudinous objects in successive acts of the will as they are presented to Him. God possesses greater liberty inasmuch as His relation to the world is as the cause of it. There is no necessary relation of God to what is brought into being by Himself from nothing and therefore He is free supremely from want or obligation to act. Joseph Pohle explains furthers:

 ''The kernal of this difficulty is to be found in the thoroughly anthropomorphic conception of divine freedom which man forms after the analogy of his own free will, without considering that the liberty of God is something altogether different in kind...The liberty of God, on the other hand, is not an active indifference with respect to several subjective acts. It is but the indifference peculiar to a single, absolutely simple pure act, in relation to different objects. This divine act, being intrinsically necessary, immutable, and eternal, is extrinsically free, inasmuch as it implies a non-necessary, and therefore a free relation to the created universe'' (Dogmatic Theology, Volume 1)

God in one pure and simple act wills His own goodness and the created participatory goodness of that He chooses to bring into being. His will remains immutable while He creates in time what He has decreed from all eternity to bring forth.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Reflection on the Papacy

The Roman Pontiff is the most bound of the servants of God, his scope of action is restricted by divine decree to the presentation of the Sacred Deposit of Faith. He is tied taught by the chains of Saint Peter.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Reflection on "Marriage Equality"

If we are to hold that in the 21st century marriage is nothing more than an oppressive, outmoded institution, the offer of "marriage equality" should appear more as an act of cruelty than one of solidarity.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Reflection on Sanctity

Sanctity may be described analogously as the striving to love God as He loves Himself. An absolute identity of being, intellect and will resting in the Supreme Good.

Reflection on Euthanasia

To reduce all worth in human living to the sensation of relative painlessness is to devalue humanity to the level of brute beasts where few rights could ever apply.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Reflection on Equality

Is there anything less self evident than the equality of all men, but is more treated than a fundamental dogma of modern living?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Reflection on the Supersubstantiality of God

God is above all that we know and is the source of all we know. It is only through the latter that we can know Him at all.

Reflection on a Notion of God

Our conception of God has been the first casualty in the progressive war on civilisation. The anthropomorohization of the divinity to create a God more favourable to human vices has not made Him more relevant but has formed a being utterly incapable of receiving any sort of reverence.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Reflection on Liberalism

The liberality of modern day liberalism appears confined to the sexual whereas in matters economic and political it verges on the totalitarian.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Reflection on God's love for Man

An appreciation of God's love for man may be honoured in solitude alone. Once out in a crowd, passersby appear only as irritants and obstacles. Let us marvel that God even loves this tangle of souls.

Reflection on "Know Thyself"

If man is a mystery to himself how is he to reach the transcendent God? Consider yourself and His creation in a tranquil spirit.

Reflection on Charity and the Poor

                   The relief of the poor of temporal concerns is only to refresh their hearts for the eternal.

Reflection on Democracy

Democracy is the widescale political equivalent of handing a five year a scalpel to operate on you in the interests of fairness.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Reflection on Slogans

The vulgarisation of the political or societal slogan has been deftly exploited by those opposed to a natural objectivity and foisted upon a generation much given to parroting a phrase in common but not devoted to actually understanding it. The downfall of liberalism can be brought about by applying their lines of attempted "thought" to situations hardly considered.