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Friday 25 April 2014

Examinations of Conscience Repeats

Father Z posted these on his blog in 2011. Father Tim Finigan wrote these for his parish in Blackfen.
I highly recommend these. Please remember to use Catholic sources for such and not any other group's, as Jansenism has invaded some orders in the past and some of the examinations were not healthy or balanced.
These are.

Confession leaflet for children
- A5 leaflet suitable for children aged 7-10.
Confession leaflet for teenagers
- A4 tri-fold leaflet suitable for young people 11-16.
Confession leaflet for adults – A4 tri-fold
leaflet for adults.

A great link
These notes and videos cannot be put on the blog, so please go, read and look.

Praise God in His saints.

Canonizations are part of the infallibility of the Church. If one is having difficulties with these canonizations, please pray. God will show you the way.

I was not a great fan of Blessed John Paul II, and God brought me to repentance concerning my own arrogance at judging him. Usually, we do not know the mind of God except through His Church.

Obedience is found in humility.

John Paul II taught me the truth of God allowing one to experience one's purgatory on earth. Saints are those who go to heaven when they die. The Church recognizes the virtues of their lives for us to emulate.

May the Blesseds, John Paul II and John XXIII bless me and you this weekend. Those who rave against goodness will have to answer to God for pride and, even, envy. Ideologies sometimes keep people from simple truths.

I ask these two men for many things today and through the weekend, as I have so many needs. I trust that they hear me according to God's Will. I have gone to them with a list. May they hear my many prayers.

Pray and believe.

I touched a saint and I am asking that he touch me

Well, years ago, when I was a guest at the Venerabile in Rome, I attended several Masses of Blessed John Paul II. At one, I was in the front of a barrier at the Gesu for Epiphany Mass. Blessed John Paul II was walking by in order to go up to the altar, when he stopped to bless a little toddler in the arms of a dad standing next to me. As John Paul II reached out to bless the boy, I, like those bold ladies in the New Testament, reached out and touched the Pope.

Those were the days before hyper-security. Now, since my eyes were operated on last month, I have had serious troubles with both. I have seen the specialist who just told me to come back if things got worse.

Instead, I prayed to Blessed John Paul II and asked him to heal the problems with both eyes.

I reminded him that I touched him, and that time does not matter in the world of the spirit.

Today, there is a difference in my eyes. I believe Blessed John Paul II will heal the problems. The worst of the symptoms are gone for the first time, but the problems are not gone completely. Please join me in prayer for a complete healing of both of my eyes.

I shall keep you posted on this.

The End of Manipulation, Maybe

Ladies' Home Journal is closing down this summer, going from a monthly to a quarterly publication. Some are stating that this is because of the demise of print. But, I think magazines have misunderstood the modern woman and have missed opportunities for growth because of ideologies.

Few women have time to sit down and read articles on celebrity friendships, make-up, or travels of the First Lady.  Women have their own lives, and do not need to read vicarious stories involving other women whose lives may be more boring than their own.

Few live in such isolation that they must live out dreams through the stories of others.

The days of learning to be "one of the gang" through magazines are long gone. Mags once gave identity to American women of the middle class, forming several generations into conformists regarding dress, recipes and decorating the spare room.

Those women who work read journals regarding their careers. They read news sources online, yes, but also read more specific articles for information, not for entertainment.

What the ladies' mags seem not to understand is that women are way more intelligent than the editorial or feature staffs.

This transition is not simply about whether the Net is making print obsolete. This transition reveals the dated manipulation of women's lives via advertising and other's opinions.

The younger generations simply want to do their own thing and not be told what to buy and what to wear.

I would like to see the demise of most women's mags, as these are merely brain-washing engines for continuing consumerism.

If a woman does research online and goes directly to a source for clothes or shoes or recipes, skipping the flipping through pages stage, why not?

Women do not need Ladies' Home Journal.

Third Attribute: Simplicity

This Attribute may be the most easy to comprehend. God is not a composite Being. The Church tells us that our soul is "simple". Aquinas says it best, in my opinion.

Summa Theologica I;3

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 6,7): "God is truly and absolutely simple."
I answer that, The absolute simplicity of God may be shown in many ways.
First, from the previous articles of this question. For there is neither composition of quantitative parts in God, since He is not a body; nor composition of matter and form; nor does His nature differ from His "suppositum"; nor His essence from His existence; neither is there in Him composition of genus and difference, nor of subject and accident. Therefore, it is clear that God is nowise composite, but is altogether simple.
Secondly, because every composite is posterior to its component parts, and is dependent on them; but God is the first being, as shown above (Question 2, Article 3).
Thirdly, because every composite has a cause, for things in themselves different cannot unite unless something causes them to unite. But God is uncaused, as shown above (Question 2, Article 3), since He is the first efficient cause.
Fourthly, because in every composite there must be potentiality and actuality; but this does not apply to God; for either one of the parts actuates another, or at least all the parts are potential to the whole.
Fifthly, because nothing composite can be predicated of any single one of its parts. And this is evident in a whole made up of dissimilar parts; for no part of a man is a man, nor any of the parts of the foot, a foot. But in wholes made up of similar parts, although something which is predicated of the whole may be predicated of a part (as a part of the air is air, and a part of water, water), nevertheless certain things are predicable of the whole which cannot be predicated of any of the parts; for instance, if the whole volume of water is two cubits, no part of it can be two cubits. Thus in every composite there is something which is not it itself. But, even if this could be said of whatever has a form, viz. that it has something which is not it itself, as in a white object there is something which does not belong to the essence of white; nevertheless in the form itself, there is nothing besides itself. And so, since God is absolute form, or rather absolute being, He can be in no way composite. Hilary implies this argument, when he says (De Trin. vii): "God, Who is strength, is not made up of things that are weak; nor is He Who is light, composed of things that are dim."
Reply to Objection 1. Whatever is from God imitates Him, as caused things imitate the first cause. But it is of the essence of a thing to be in some sort composite; because at least its existence differs from its essence, as will be shown hereafter, (4, 3).
Reply to Objection 2. With us composite things are better than simple things, because the perfections of created goodness cannot be found in one simple thing, but in many things. But the perfection of divine goodness is found in one simple thing (4, 1 and 6, 2).

The purpose of looking at the Attributes of God is to come into active contemplation of God. This active contemplation, obviously, brings us closer to Him as we use our reason and open ourselves to the infusion of knowledge from God, as much as He desires to give.

Sometimes, one can only contemplate God in love, when looking at the Attributes.

To be continued....

Attribute Two: Unity

Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. i Corinthians 8:6 DR

Garrigou-Lagrange has another book in which he looks at the Trinity. Now, the Mystery of the Triune God separates us from many other "faiths".

Unity is one of the Attributes of God. Here is a long selection from the book, The Trinity and God the Creator,  and then a comment in blue.

First Article: Whether There Is A Trinity In God
The difficulty arises from the fact that everything that is triune is threefold, whereas God is not threefold since He possesses the greatest unity. Nevertheless the reply is in the affirmative as an article of faith. In the Athanasian Creed we read, "The Unity is to be worshiped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity."[327]
Theology offers the following explanation. In God there is a transcendental plurality of persons. The term "Trinity" according to revelation limits this plurality to the three persons. Therefore the term Trinity can rightly be used.
Reply to the first objection. Etymologically the term "Trinity" seems to signify the unity of three, but in a special way it signifies the transcendental number of persons of one essence. Thus we cannot say that the Father is the Trinity. The term "Trinity" signifies at the same time the number of persons and the unity of the essence.
Reply to the second objection. St. John declared, "And these three are one" (I John 5:7). Hence we have the name "Trinity."
Reply to the third objection. Nevertheless in God there is no triplicity because triplicity denotes a proportion of inequality as do duplicity and quadruplicity. Thus we cannot say that God is threefold. That which is threefold has in a sense been tripled, as, for instance, a triple crown signifies the union of three crowns.
If God were said to be threefold, the three persons together would be more than one alone, and one person would not have infinite perfection. But we can say that the persons are threefold and the processions are twofold, because by adding person and procession we exclude sufficiently the multiplicity of nature.
Reply to the fourth objection. Unity in Trinity signifies that there is one nature in three persons, and Trinity in unity signifies three persons in one nature.
Reply to the fifth objection. We cannot say that the Trinity is threefold for this would mean that there were three supposita of the Trinity, whereas there are only three supposita of the Deity.
First corollary. From the foregoing the Thomists, especially Gonet, conclude that those things that belong to the persons by reason of the essence alone are predicated only singly. Those things, however, that belong to the persons by reason of the persons alone are predicated only in the plural. Those things that belong to the persons by reason of the essence and the relations are predicated both in the singular and in the plural.
The reason for this rule is that in God all things are one and the same except where there is the opposition of relation; only the relations are multiplied in God, the essence is not. This was defined by the Council of Toledo: "Number is discovered in the relation of the persons; but we find nothing that is numbered in the substance of the divinity. Thus number is indicated only in this, that they are mutually related; and they lack number in this, that they are in themselves."[328]

From this rule it follows that it is correct to say that there are three persons or three hypostases in God but not three individuals because the nature is multiplied in individuals. In its formal signification person denotes personality; in its material signification it denotes nature. On the other hand, the individual in its formal signification denotes nature; in its material signification it denotes personality.

This Truth to me is most awesome. God has "personality" and that is what distinguishes this definition of the Trinity from "individuality". That there are Three Persons in One God of one substance seems clear in the above clarification. Garrigou-Lagrange goes on to say that "...the Fourth Lateran Council, which said that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are "co-omnipotent and co-eternal, one principle of all things."[350]"

These Three Persons are One, but are knowable because of certain "notions" given through Revelation. These notions are defined as a "notion is that which is the proper reason for knowing a divine person." 

Theology and philosophy, that is reason, can lead us to some understandings through the notions, but we need Revelation to help us know the Trinity.

Of course, Christ told us that He revealed the Father and that the Holy Spirit would come after His Ascension. That Christ came to reveal the Trinity is clear from the Annunciation. Christ became Incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the Fatherhood of God.

Mary was one of the first to have the Trinity revealed to her, and the only human to have experienced the Trinity as Three Persons intimately.

Personality indicates that God, like us made in His image and likeness, have knowledge of self. God reveals Himself to us as One, but in notions, which indicate relationship.

Here is the Dominican again.

Thus we have paternity, filiation, common active spiration, passive spiration, to which we add innascibility, because the person of the Father is known not only by paternity but also by the fact that He is from no one and that He is the principle without a principle. This notion is in conformity with the dignity of the Father, ....[370]

We may come to understand the Unity of God through Creation, through relationship with Him. His Unity is that there is only One God, One Infinite Being, as explained by the Church.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again.

The perfect intellect, however assimilates its Word most perfectly, not only intentionally, but really in nature and in a nature that is numerically one, so that the divine Word is not accidental but substantial, at the same time living and understanding, because in God being and understanding and being understood are the same. Revelation affirms that this substantial Word is the person of the Son of God. This is true generation, which primarily deserves the name generation; other kinds of generation are generation by participation and secondarily, although they are prior in our knowledge. Therefore St. Paul said," or this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named" (Eph. 3:14 f.).[170]

My response to this small bit of explanation and guidance is pure awe and wonder. Actively contemplating on the Unity of God brings one closer to Him in this Oneness. Such is the grace He wants to give us.

I can only dip into the great complexity of the Attributes of God, but this little series may whet your appetite to study more.

To be continued.... and find more here

Attribute One: Perfection continued

Now, there are two erroneous views on perfection regarding God. The first is that only God as Spirit is perfect and that the material is imperfect. This is no longer true since the Redemptive action of Christ on the Cross, redeeming nature as well as spirit. As the Incarnate God, Christ joins the perfection of man with the perfection of God. The Hypostatic Union in Christ means that the Divine Nature is truly one with the Human Nature of Christ. Arians deny even today this Union, and we see heretical sects, such as the Christian Scientists denying the material, human nature of Christ, stating that it was an illusion.

The Nicene Creed is clear on this Hypostatic Union. This Union is Perfect. Christ's Will was Divine and Human. He is One Person with Two Natures, but "consubstantial with the Father".  There is only One God, one Substance, with Three Divine Persons. Christ is begotten not made.

Christ is Body and Soul, in Heaven. His Resurrected Body bears the wounds of the Cross, a great mystery of His victory over sin and death.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The second common modern error, which is old, but rehashed, is that God is not perfect, that He is somehow an image of man. the Greek gods were made in the image of man and so too, some people attribute to God the imperfections of man.

to be continued....

Attribute One: Perfection

Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:49 DR

Aquinas writes this below, on God as Perfect.

All created perfections are in God. Hence He is spoken of as universally perfect, because He lacks not (says the Commentator, Metaph. v) any excellence which may be found in any genus. This may be seen from two considerations. First, because whatever perfection exists in an effect must be found in the effective cause: either in the same formality, if it is a univocal agent---as when man reproduces man; or in a more eminent degree, if it is an equivocal agent---thus in the sun is the likeness of whatever is generated by the sun's power. Now it is plain that the effect pre-exists virtually in the efficient cause: and although to pre-exist in the potentiality of a material cause is to pre-exist in a more imperfect way, since matter as such is imperfect, and an agent as such is perfect; still to pre-exist virtually in the efficient cause is to pre-exist not in a more imperfect, but in a more perfect way. Since therefore God is the first effective cause of things, the perfections of all things must pre-exist in God in a more eminent way. Dionysius implies the same line of argument by saying of God (Div. Nom. v): "It is not that He is this and not that, but that He is all, as the cause of all." Secondly, from what has been already proved, God is existence itself, of itself subsistent (Question [3]Article [4]). Consequently, He must contain within Himself the whole perfection of being. For it is clear that if some hot thing has not the whole perfection of heat, this is because heat is not participated in its full perfection; but if this heat were self-subsisting, nothing of the virtue of heat would be wanting to it. Since therefore God is subsisting being itself, nothing of the perfection of being can be wanting to Him. Now all created perfections are included in the perfection of being; for things are perfect, precisely so far as they have being after some fashion. It follows therefore that the perfection of no one thing is wanting to God. This line of argument, too, is implied by Dionysius (Div. Nom. v), when he says that, "God exists not in any single mode, but embraces all being within Himself, absolutely, without limitation, uniformly;" and afterwards he adds that, "He is the very existence to subsisting things."

In this sense, perfection is a wholeness, a completeness of all that is good. God is not wanting in anything. And, all that is rests in Him. Nothing that is created exists outside of God. God, as the First Principle, is Perfect.

When God calls us to perfection, He is calling us to be all that He intended us to be. This cannot be done without His grace. This is the reason for purgation, to be emptied of all that stands in the way of our perfection in God.

God is the Essential Being and we participate in that. And, as we are made in the 'image and likeness of God", the image being free will and intellect, and the likeness being grace, which we must regain in baptism, we participate in the perfection of God according to how God has called us to that perfection.

God alone is totally Perfect.

New Series Coming Up-The Attributes of God

As much as I like Suarez, I am going to use St. Thomas Aquinas in a new series on the Attributes of God.

There is some confusion on this topic, as Protestants have come up with their own list. Of course, I shall refer to the greatest Doctor of the Church on this matter.

I hope to cover all these attributes in the next few days. But, today, let me list those according to Aquinas.

He divides the Attributes into those of divine substance and those of divine operation

Those of divine substance are: simplicity, perfection, goodness, infinity, immensity, immutability, eternity, unity, invisibility and ineffability.

Those of divine operation are: knowledge, will, love, justice, mercy, and providence.

More coming up...most of the information will be from The One God by Garrigou-Lagrange. See you all later.