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Thursday 13 June 2013

More from St. Thomas on Modesty-Part of the Aquinas Series

No comment at this point...Thomas on modesty again...

2:2; 169 It is not in the outward things themselves which man uses, that there is vice, but on the part of man who uses them immoderately. This lack of moderation occurs in two ways. First, in comparison with the customs of those among whom one lives; wherefore Augustine says (Confess. iii, 8): "Those offenses which are contrary to the customs of men, are to be avoided according to thecustoms generally prevailing, so that a thing agreed upon and confirmed by custom or law of any city or nation may not be violated at the lawless pleasure of any, whether citizen or foreigner. For any part, which harmonizeth not with its whole, is offensive." Secondly, the lack of moderation in the use of these things may arise from the inordinate attachment of the user, the result being that a man sometimes takes too much pleasure in using them, either in accordance with the custom of those among whom he dwells or contrary to such custom. Hence Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. iii, 12): "We must avoid excessive pleasure in the use of things, for it leads not only wickedly to abuse the customs of those among whom we dwell, but frequently to exceed their bounds, so that, whereas it lay hidden, while under the restraint of established morality, it displays its deformity in a most lawless outbreak."
In point of excess, this inordinate attachment occurs in three ways. First when a man seeks glory from excessive attention to dress; in so far as dress and such like things are a kind of ornament. Hence Gregory says (Hom. xl in Ev.): "There are some who think that attention to finery and costly dress is no sin. Surely, if this were no fault, the word of God would not say so expressly that the rich man who was tortured in hell had been clothed in purple and fine linen. No one, forsooth, seeks costly apparel" (such, namely, as exceeds his estate) "save for vainglory." Secondly, when a man seeks sensuous pleasure from excessive attention to dress, in so far as dress is directed to the body's comfort. Thirdly, when a man is too solicitous [Cf. 55, 6] in his attention to outward apparel.
Accordingly Andronicus [De Affectibus] reckons three virtues in connection with outward attire; namely "humility," which excludes the seeking of glory, wherefore he says that humility is "the habit of avoiding excessive expenditure and parade"; "contentment" [Cf. 143, Objection 4], which excludes the seeking of sensuous pleasure, wherefore he says that "contentedness is the habit that makes a man satisfied with what is suitable, and enables him to determine what is becoming in his manner of life" (according to the saying of theApostle1 Timothy 6:8): "Having food and wherewith to be covered, with these let us be content;"--and "simplicity," which excludes excessive solicitude about such things, wherefore he says that "simplicity is a habit that makes a man contented with what he has."
In the point of deficiency there may be inordinate attachment in two ways. First, through a man's neglect to give the requisite study or trouble to the use of outward apparel. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "it is a mark of effeminacy to let one's cloak trail on the ground to avoid the trouble of lifting it up." Secondly, by seeking glory from the very lack of attention to outward attire. HenceAugustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 12) that "not only the glare and pomp of outward things, but even dirt and the weeds of mourning may be a subject of ostentation, all the more dangerous as being a decoy under the guise of God's service"; and the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 7) that "both excess and inordinate defect are a subject of ostentation."
Reply to Objection 1. Although outward attire does not come from nature, it belongs to natural reason to moderate it; so that we arenaturally inclined to be the recipients of the virtue that moderates outward raiment.
Reply to Objection 2. Those who are placed in a position of dignity, or again the ministers of the altar, are attired in more costly apparel than others, not for the sake of their own glory, but to indicate the excellence of their office or of the Divine worship: wherefore this is not sinful in them. Hence Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. iii, 12): "Whoever uses outward things in such a way as to exceed the bounds observed by the good people among whom he dwells, either signifies something by so doing, or is guilty of sin, inasmuch as he uses these things for sensual pleasure or ostentation."
Likewise there may be sin on the part of deficiency: although it is not always a sin to wear coarser clothes than other people. For, if this be done through ostentation or pride, in order to set oneself above others, it is a sin of superstition; whereas, if this be done to tame the flesh, or to humble the spirit, it belongs to the virtue of temperance. Hence Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. iii, 12): "Whoever uses transitory things with greater restraint than is customary with those among whom he dwells, is either temperate or superstitious." Especially, however, is the use of coarse raiment befitting to those who by word and example urge others to repentance, as did theprophets of whom the Apostle is speaking in the passage quoted. Wherefore a gloss on Matthew 3:4, says: "He who preaches penance, wears the garb of penance."
Reply to Objection 3. This outward apparel is an indication of man's estate; wherefore excess, deficiency, and mean therein, are referable to the virtue of truthfulness, which the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 7) assigns to deeds and words, which are indications of something connected with man's estate.


Reparation is a word lost from the pulpit in the last 40-50 years. When we all saw the entrance of the "feel good Church" in the 1970s, we were bereft of sermons on sin and punishment and the majesty of God.

Suffering was no longer mentioned. It became something to avoid, something to get prayed over to make it go away. Sin was reduced to a normal condition, and not a state wherein our very eternal life was jeopardized. The idea that our imperfections caused us to be pained because of our own sins got dropped from retreats and prayers became only grocery lists of things either we wanted or did not want.

The generation which never got spanked but had to sit on time out chairs was not taught consequences or punishment.

Suffering is mostly from our own sins and imperfections. We cause most of our own suffering. Now, I have had cancer. That is a passive suffering. It was a gift from God. So is severe sciatica, as I am humbled and cannot do the things I want to do, like be a nun.

Suffering can be both purification or purgation of sin and tendencies to sin, or suffering can be a consequence.

I am so tired of people saying that a person is a victim soul merely because they are suffering.

Those types of souls are rare. Very rare and the Church has recognized some of those souls who suffer for others. Some suffering comes in the very high stages of holiness, such as the stigmata, which is a sin of union with Christ in His Passion. Again, this is rare.

We are confused in our modern lives as to the need and value of suffering. So many Catholics, especially charismatics, think suffering is to be avoided. I have never heard a charismatic say that suffering is a good and may be an indication of the Dark Night or purgation of the senses and spirit. The so-called charismatic gifts may most of the time be false and not an indication of holiness, yet such Catholics seek those gifts and try to run away from suffering by the proliferation of healing services, many times accompanied by protestant theology. Consolations are only in the beginning stages, folks. Spiritual smarties, as I have said here before, should not be sought.

If life is hard, praise God. Suffering for our sins and the consequences of our sins may take years. Suffering can be experienced quietly, and many families experience suffering. The Holy Family provides us with a model of silence. We have no idea of the hidden years of a human family encountering God daily. Silence allows God to take over our imaginations, wilsl, intellects, souls.

Jesus is God, Mary is perfect, and Joseph was "just", that is, righteous. But, as a poor family, they suffered.

Ladies, did it ever occur to you that Mary may have had only two dresses-one for summer and one for winter?  Men, has it occurred to you that Joseph in his poverty had to work long hours to pay exorbitant taxes and tithe, as all good Jews did? Youth, has it occurred to you that Jesus was obedient to his parents pass the age of 18? At home, the Son of God was subservient to His Foster-Father and Mother.

Doing penance is a grace, a gift. The three Hail Marys we get in the Confessional might not be enough in God's eyes. Suffering strips us of our faults, bad habits, and self-will. When we are really suffering WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL. God is. That is why is we allow ourselves to cooperate with suffering, we grow in holiness. Look at Job. He was called "perfect". Yet, he did not know God in the depths of his being. His sufferings brought Him face to face with God, Who is above all understanding.

Reparation for sins comes either in this life or in purgatory. This is joyful reparation. God is good. My heart is full of love and love is what it is all about. Do you not want to be purged of all things which are displeasing to God? Pray this happens and read the other blogs on this....

One reason I am praying and hoping for the house in Walsingham is to do reparation for my own sins, for those sins of apostasy we see daily in the clergy, sins against life, and sins of blasphemy against the Eucharist.

Pray, reflect, act...

Fantastic Article for St. Anthony's Feast Day and St. Anthony, Find Me Better Net Service!

Serious Internet problems.

This has been happening in the south of England for two weeks-interrupted service. And, Skype has been down, also.

For a developed county, these services are not up to scratch.

I shall see what I can get done today, folks.

Cannot even talk to Supertradson, as he is in an urban area where cell phones do not work. Can you Adam and Eve it?

Silence here on this subject for the most part...

Years ago, in Iowa (well, in 2010), some of my excellent students did in-depth studies, with my encouragement, on this fact of GM foods. If you start to really do serious research, the results are alarming.
Monsanto is BIG in my home state of Iowa. Big money is given to both state universities for GM research and development.

Only Waitrose will now have GM free meat, specifically chickens. All the rest have caved in....more on this later.

I love Waitrose...

Malta Today: and a comment from Cardinal Burke

I love my friends who tell me they are homosexual, but, they know from this blog or conversations, I cannot support their lifestyle or choices. We may agree on many things, such as politics and the culture, but not on this one point.

The good Cardinal Burke has a new comment on this. I pray that all the good, talented, loving men and women I know who have chosen the path of gay identity may come back to the Truth. God bless you all. What else can I say?

More on CNA found here....

Cardinal Burke emphasized, “it is important that good Catholics enter into politics to influence a change in the direction in which a number of nations are going, which is very anti life and anti family.”

He also spoke about the growing European pressure for Poland and Ireland to legalize abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

“The Church has a very critical role to play in Ireland and Poland,” he stated.

“I can’t believe that the people of Poland and Ireland, once they understand what is happening, will not stand up in defense of human life.”

“The important thing is that the citizens be well informed about what is happening, which is against the most fundamental moral truth, and that they be encouraged to resist,” the cardinal said.

On storms and abortion....and money

As I sit in a really cold room this morning, I am grateful that my family members were not affected by the huge storm which passed though their area. The storms were caused by a derecho, which means that the winds move in a straight line, and can cause tornadoes.

Here is a photo from Wiki and a chart from Wiki.

Today, I am homesick, which rarely happens. I love the heat of summer and miss the exciting weather. Living in a cold, damp climate despite the beautiful gardens, for the last few months, makes me want blue skies and hot temperatures. I am supposed to be going to Ireland very soon, invited by a friend, and I am not sure I can face two things there-the horrible weather and the new culture of death. What is worse, horrible weather or the death of babies? The press goes on and on about people lost in storms and is silent on the huge killing of babies in the womb. Double standards. Anti-child. Utilitarianism. The world is fast becoming anti-life in a wholesale fashion.

This new law is being pushed to be passed by summer....whenever summer arrives, I do not know, sitting in this cold room, with a fire and my coat on over my jammies....

The state of anti-life in Ireland shows how quickly a culture can change. This is one prophecy that Robert Hugh Benson got wrong in his great book, The Lord of the World. One hundred years ago, although he could imagine Great Britain turning evil, he could not envision Ireland doing so.

Tragic...Ireland has lost her identity. She has made up another one, which has money as god. I spoke with a woman last night and noted that some of the English and some of the Irish talk about how much things cost all the time. No exaggeration. Where I come from, to speak of the price of things and complain is really bad form. These discussions, which happen daily reveal two things-one, money is god and therefore needs such obvious attention; two, people avoid serious discussions, such as abortion, ssm, etc. and talk nonsense or trivia in order not to upset others. Oh, dear....

The Soul in the Dark

St. John of the Cross noted that the house which is stilled, that is, one in which the senses are mortified, the fire of the passions put out, and the appetites, is in the Dark Night of the Soul. In this phase, the person does not have any consolations or clarity about God.

This is the stage of waiting.  There is great suffering in this stage, as a person has no trust in his or her own judgement and are not moved by consolations. The person lives in a holy fear, and a dryness. The reason for this dryness is so that the soul seeks God only.

John of the Cross gives us three signs of the Dark Night.

1) Self-knowledge causes pain and suffering.Truth about one's self brings a misery. Self-knowledge brings true humility.

2) There are no consolations, either from God or from men. This is a good sign, as God is weaning the person away from all things but Himself.

3) The soul in literally in the dark about all things, including what he should do and his own spiritual life.

One could add two more points outside these three; these are the necessity of silence and the loss of memory, which means that one is no longer concerned about the sins and failings of others.

Nothing matters but the search for God.

But, this search is NOT ACTIVE. In the passive purgation of the soul and body, God does all the work. One only needs to cooperate with grace and suffering. Mother Teresa's dark night was almost 50 years of silence and turmoil.

St. Gemma Galgani described her dark night:

No one will believe you and you will suffer scorn and reproof. No one will give you comfort; not even those you look up to. In fact, all will reproach you and you will feel great confusion. What will cause you more grief will be that the Heavens will be like bronze to you . Jesus will appear to you as a severe judge. You will pray, but you will feel as if you did not. You will look for Jesus, but you will not find Him.

You will feel that He is rejecting you. When you will try to recollect yourself, you will feel distracted. When you call upon the Blessed Mother and the Saints, no one will pity you. You will feel that everyone has abandoned you. When you will go to confession in order to receive Jesus, you shall not feel anything, and furthermore you will feel aversion for these things. When you will practice devotions, it will be out of necessity, and you will feel as if it was wasted time. You will believe, but without belief, you will hope, but as if you had no hope. You will love Jesus as if you did not love Him, because during this time you will not feel Him. You will hate living and you shall be afraid of death; you will not even be able to cry...

One must persist in prayer, even though one is in the dark.
I have cheated and gone back to the perfection discussion because of questions. But, a good teacher is always the one who gets off the main point and goes off on tangents.

I never taught to a test...I covered more than the tests..............

To be continued...

Thomas Aquinas and Modesty 3

As I noted in one of the recent posts on modesty, this virtue is connected to the virtue of temperance.

Our society has completely lost reverence for temperance, which is the virtue of restraint.

Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia on Temperance, followed by a short section of Thomas. One can clearly see that the CE article is based on Thomistic Philosophy

Temperance is here considered as one of the four cardinal virtues. It may be defined as the righteous habit which makes a man govern his natural appetite for pleasures of the senses in accordance with the norm prescribed by reason. In one sense temperance may be regarded as a characteristic of all the moral virtues; the moderation it enjoins is central to each of them. It is also according to St. Thomas (II-II:141:2) a special virtue. Thus, it is the virtue which bridles concupiscence or which controls the yearning for pleasures and delights which most powerfully attract the human heart. These fall mainly into three classes: some are associated with the preservation of the human individual; others with the perpetuation of the race, and others still with the well-being and comfort of human life. Under this aspect temperance has for subordinate virtues, abstinence, chastity, and modesty.Abstinence prescribes the restraint to be employed in the partaking of food and drink. Obviously the measure of this self-restraint is not constant and invariable. It is different for different persons as well as for different ends in view. The diet of an anchorite would not do for a farm labourer. Abstinence is opposed to the vices of gluttony and drunkenness. The disorder of these is that food and drink are made use of in such wise as to damage instead of benefit the bodily health. Hence gluttony and drunkenness are said to be intrinsically wrong. That does not mean, however, that they are always grievous sinsGluttony is seldom such; drunkenness is so when it is complete, that is when it destroys the use of reason for the time being. Chastity as a part of temperance regulates the sensual satisfactions connected with the propagation of the human species. The contrary vice is lust. As these pleasures appeal with the special vehemence to human nature, it is the function of chastity to impose the norm of reason. Thus it will decide that they are altogether to be refrained from in obedience to a higher vocation or at any rate only availed of with reference to the purposes of marriage. Chastity is not fanaticism; much less is it insensibility. It is the carrying out of the mandate of temperance in a particular department where such a steadying power is acutely needed.
The virtue of modesty, as ranged under temperance, has as its task the holding in reasonable leash of the less violent human passions. It brings into service humility to set in order a man's interior. By transfusing his estimates with truth, and increasing his self-knowledge it guards him against the radical malice of pride. It is averse to pusillanimity, the product of low views and a mean-spirited will. In the government of the exterior of a man modesty aims to make it conform to the demands of decency and decorousness (honestas). In this way his whole outward tenor of conduct and method of life fall under its sway. Such things as his attire, manner of speech, habitual bearing, style of living, have to be made to square with its injunctions. To be sure the cannot always be settled by hard and fast rules. Convention will often have a good deal to say in the case, but in turn will have its propriety determined by modesty. Other virtues are enumerated by St. Thomas as subordinate to temperance inasmuch as they imply moderation in the management of some passion. It ought to be noted, however, that in its primary and generally understood sense temperance is concerned with what is difficult for a man, not in so far as he is a rational being precisely, but rather in so far as he is an animal. The hardest duties for flesh and blood are self-restraint in the use of food and drink and of the venereal pleasures that go with the propagation of the race. That is why abstinence and chastity may be reckoned the chief and ordinary phases of this virtue. All that has been said receives additional force of we suppose that the self-control commanded by temperance is measured not only by the rule of reason but by the revealed law of God as well. It is called a cardinal virtue because the moderation required for every righteous habit has in the practice of temperance a specially trying arena. The satisfactions upon which it imposes a check are at once supremely natural and necessary in the present order of human existence. It is not, however, the greatest of moral virtues. That rank is held by prudence; then come justicefortitude, and finally temperance. 

Thomas writes on temperance and refers to modesty as well.

Origen says (Hom. viii super Luc.): "If thou wilt hear the name of this virtue, and what it was called by the philosophersknow that humility which God regards is the same as what they called metriotes, i.e. measure or moderation." Now this evidently pertains to modesty or temperance. Therefore humility is a part of modesty or temperance.
I answer that, As stated above (137, 2, ad 1; 157, 3, ad 2), in assigning parts to a virtue we consider chiefly the likeness that results from the mode of the virtue. Now the mode of temperance, whence it chiefly derives its praise, is the restraint or suppression of the impetuosity of a passion. Hence whatever virtues restrain or suppress, and the actions which moderate the impetuosity of the emotions, are reckoned parts of temperance. Now just as meekness suppresses the movement of anger, so does humility suppress the movement of  hope, which is the movement of a spirit aiming at great things. Wherefore, like meekness, humility is accounted a part of temperance. For this reason the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 3) says that a man who aims at small things in proportion to his mode is not magnanimous but "temperate," and such a man we may call humble. Moreover, for the reason given above (Question 160, Article 2), among the various parts of temperance, the one under which humility is comprised is modesty as understood by Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54), inasmuch as humility is nothing else than a moderation of spirit: wherefore it is written (1 Peter 3:4): "In the incorruptibility of a quiet and meek spirit."
Reply to Objection 1. The theological virtues, whose object is our last end, which is the first principle in matters of appetite, are the causes of all the other virtues. Hence the fact that humility is caused by reverence for God does not prevent it from being a part of modesty or temperance.
Reply to Objection 2. Parts are assigned to a principal virtue by reason of a sameness, not of subject or matter, but of formal mode, as stated above (137, 2, ad 1; 157, 3, ad 2). Consequently, although humility is in the irascible as its subject, it is assigned as a part of modesty or temperance by reason of its mode.
Reply to Objection 3. Although humility and magnanimity agree as to matter, they differ as to mode, by reason of which magnanimity is reckoned a part of fortitude, and humility a part of temperance.

Question 161 same part

Why this is connected to modesty is the application of the virtue of temperance to meekness and quietness.

Modesty is meek and quiet. Loud talk, or raucous actions show the opposite spirit. Sometimes, we see older women being loud and over-exuberant, and we know that there is something not quite right with their spirits. The meek and humble woman speaks quietly and is not strident. This is the COMPETE opposite of the feminist mode.

Temperance and meekness indicate that a soul has found peace within herself. What has clothing to do with this, one may ask?

Modesty does not attract anyone. Modesty humbly causes a person to be overlooked. Can one imagine the difference between a modest woman and one who purposefully draws attention, even sexual attention to herself?

As I have warned women about the 3Ps, I warn men about the woman who has to be the center of attention in a room of men, the woman who flirts and entices. These characteristics are the opposite of modesty.

A little lesson from Jane Austen....on the lack of modesty in one case and the shock that immodesty should cause in a good, innocent soul.

You may wonder at a combination of Thomas Aquinas and Jane Austen. Austen understood, as did Thomas, and Aristotle, that the virtues of fortitude, justice, nnd temperance are the moral virtues, which are the natural virtues. 

Natural virtues "preserve", protect and perfect human nature. The moral virtues perfect the appetites. Prudence, by the way, is an intellectual virtue.

Temperance it is which restrains the undue impulse of concupiscence for sensible pleasure, while fortitude causes man to be brave when he would otherwise shrink, contrary to reason, from dangers or difficulties. Temperance, then, to consider it more particularly, is that moral virtue which moderates in accordance with reason the desires and pleasures of the sensuous appetite attendant on those acts by which human nature is preserved in the individual or propagated in the species. The subordinate species of temperance are:
  • abstinence, which disposes to moderation in the use of food;
  • sobriety, which inclines to moderation in the use of spirituous liquors;
  • chastity, which regulates the appetite in regard to sexual pleasures; to chastity may be reduced modesty, which is concerned withacts subordinate to the act of reproduction.
The virtues annexed to temperance are:
  • continence, which according to the Scholastics, restrains the will from consenting to violent movements or concupiscence;
  • humility, which restrains inordinate desires of one's own excellence;
  • meekness, which checks inordinate movements of anger;
  • modesty or decorum, which consists in duly ordering the external movements of anger; to the direction of reason.
To this virtue may be reduced to what Aristotle designated as eutrapelia, or good cheer, which disposes to moderation in sports, games, and jests, in accordance with the dictates of reason, taking into consideration the circumstance of person, season, and place.