Introduction to Theology, Serial No. 01114

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Well, what I've tried to do in this last lecture is to talk about our convictions about God and man in the larger context of humanity. As we've seen, not only has our faith certain dogmatic convictions in relation to those who believe, but in relation to human beings as a whole. In addition to these, and partly appealing to these dogmatic principles, the Second Vatican Council issued certain decrees, which is my duty to bring to your attention, before we look at some of the fundamental traditional principles which must open out our view of Christian anthropology in its manward side, as well as its Godward side. It seems to me there are two conciliatory declarations I must bring to your notice. The first is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, of 28th October 1965. The middle of the first paragraph of this document is


clearly expressing something which is dogmatic, although only references to the New Testament are cited, to which of course you can refer yourselves when you look it up in Austin Planner's edition, you'll find them all there. This middle section says, all men form but one community. This is so because all stem from one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all men against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city which is illumined by the glory of God, and in whose splendour all peoples will walk. It's on this account that the Council declares itself favourable to the non-christian religion in the following terms towards the end of paragraph two. The Catholic Church rejects nothing of


what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines, which although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. Clearly a reference to the prologue of John. This is obviously very nearly, but not quite expressly, a declaration of belief in a, I think, a primitive revelation to all mankind. I think it's a hint of something like that anyway. In the virtual principles which are easily reconciled with the notions of theologian like Athanasius, because we'll remember that in certain sense the fact that the world, when the moment of belief comes, the world becomes luminous with the light of the word, there is a certain sense in which this is always hidden there to be seen. And of course I feel a very strong


link with ancient Chinese philosophy of peace that this is very clearly in line with this kind of thought. There are some things about the early Taoist documents which make one feel very aware of this possibility of a primitive revelation to all mankind. I'm suddenly reminded of a book which unfortunately I left in Norway, by John Blofield, in which he describes a visit to a Taoist sanctuary, arriving at a point when they were all in meditation


and the bell rang and the old man who was the chief of the community, the leader of the community, said that he'd seen him on the road. It was very like a 24th century visit for the story. And certainly he made it sound a very impressive kind of interview. I think we must also bear in mind the possibility that God uses the searchings of many people out of contact with the Church within the so-called Christian or non-Christian countries. I mentioned on Friday the known fact that genuine prayer tends in fact to teach people a kind of theology they have in fact never learned from a book. I would perhaps also add what I didn't write down here, that my own encounters with the contemplative life, lived in various


places, has made me convinced of something I was told when I was young, but I think I would say that it shows itself by experience, that it is really rather dangerous for people to try to live the contemplative life if they have no kind of at least elementary training in theology. Because you'll remember actually St. Teresa of Avila says this, and John the Cross too, St. Teresa actually says, if you're in a fix about a spiritual matter, go to a good theologian, even if he isn't very holy. It's better to go to a man who's likely to get it right, than, or even to say he doesn't know the answer, which is quite an important kind of thing to be able to do sometimes. But so she was by no means, as you know in fact, all the things she wrote were written in obedience to her conferences. She in fact often says, I can't imagine how I'm going to get on with this, with all the noises going on in my head


at the moment. What I had written down was of course, I think the searchings of people, which occur everywhere, do very often seem to lead to the kind of proximate condition of belief and grace. Since I've been in America, I've certainly known one case of an ordinary non-christian broker, who started by joining a low yoga class for the sake of his body, and slowly found himself learning to meditate, and I have no doubt to pray for the way he talked to me, as a result of the openness of spirit, which this practice encourages when properly practiced. And I think this is why this paragraph 2 of the Vatican 2 document ends with these words, that Christians, while witnessing to their


own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual moral truths found among non-christians, also their social life and culture. I do think, you see, one's got to reckon with the fact that it's all nonsense to call countries like England and America, or France even, Christian countries any longer, because it's perfectly possible for people to have brought up in complete isolation from any contact with Christianity, to which they can perceive at least. I began to be aware of this actually when I was quite a small boy, because I remember standing, and I was only thinking about seven, behind two little girls looking into a baker's shop in the beginning of Holy Week, and inquiring of each other why it was there were crosses on the buns, to be sold for Good Friday. Although we weren't standing far from a church, physically, they didn't know. They obviously did it genuinely, they didn't know. So it's


perfectly possible not to know, and an awful lot of people don't. But a rather greater length is the Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae of 7th December 1965. Here I should like to draw your attention to two passages which seem to me to involve something dogmatic of the kind which Ken seemed to be asking in connection with the doctrine of the image on Friday. Chapter one of this document, the Declaration on Religious Liberty, paragraph two, begins with the following words. You'll find this in Orson Family's documents, the first volume. The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all men should be immune from


coercion on the part of individuals, social groups, and every human power, so that within due limits nobody is forced to act against his convictions in religious matters, in private or in public, alone or in association with others. And here comes the important sentence. The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed Word of God. I don't see why that can be other than dogmatic. The right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed Word of God, and by reason itself. They converge upon this point. This same principle is still more expressly declared at the beginning of chapter two, paragraph nine. The declaration of this Vatican Council on man's right to religious freedom is based on the dignity of the person, the demands of which have become more fully known to human reasons through centuries of experience. Furthermore, this


doctrine of freedom is rooted in divine revelation. For this reason, which does seem to be a dogmatic reason, Christians are bound to respect it all the more conscientiously, this freedom. Although revelation does not affirm in so many words the right to immunity from external coercion in religious matters, it nevertheless shows forth the dignity of the human person in all its fullness. It shows Christ's respect for the freedom with which man is to fulfill his duty of believing the Word of God, and it teaches of the spirit which disciples of such a master must acknowledge and follow in all things. All this throws light on the general principles on which the teaching of this declaration on religious freedom is based. Above all, religious freedom in society is in complete harmony with the act of Christian faith. Yes? Mark? No? All right. And just a word or two more from paragraph 10. One of the key truths in


Catholic teaching that is contained in the Word of God, i.e. I take it dogmatic, and constantly preached by the Fathers, is that man's response to God by faith ought to be free. This is back to the voluntary, the conception of the voluntary we were talking about in the last day or two. And that therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act. And of course so is our salvation. I say we must wish, we must want God's will. That's what we pray for in the Adonoste and my other things. Man ransomed by Christ the Savior and called through Jesus Christ to be an adoptive son of God cannot give his adherence to God when he reveals himself unless drawn by the Father. We've seen Augustine discussing that. He submits to God with a faith that is reasonable and free. You will see the harmony of all this with


what we've been exploring in order to find a true sense of spiritual liberty, which is naturally something we owe to others as well to us as to ourselves. About that slow liberation of ourselves to live according to conscience, we shouldn't obviously be anxious. Again we can only do what a human being can do the best we can in light of what we know, which is what, as we've seen, conscience is. It's not of course quite the same as consciousness, though that comes into it. As I hope I've helped you see, it's essential for us to live with and by a basic conviction of God being at work in the world and in our lives here and now.


Especially if we choose to let him in through all the doors we find are quite unnecessarily barred and loaded. And so although we can only do it very briefly, I'd like just to run through with you some of the aspects of the redemptive work of our Lord, of which we've seen something from the Fathers as the things are studied in this time in book 3 of St. John of Damascus and also in the third part of the Summa Theologica. There's I think at least one very huge useful article which it's not at all a bad thing to present at this point. Obviously one of my difficulties in preparing this course of lectures at all has been that I don't know how the course is going to be carried on, which I gathered from Father Abbott yesterday, is going to be the case. Somebody who will be arriving on Thursday will take over and give before a week. So he may very possibly do this in a more systematic way. I don't think you'll regret having


tried to look in the larger respect as we've tried to do, because there's always possibility of teaching all these things with a different emphasis and I've tended to pick out those things which seem to me to need most frequently saying are or were said in books of general introduction. Well first of all St. John of Damascus. In the opening chapter of book 3 of the Orthodox faith, that's the last part of the Fountain of Knowledge of course, St. John says, since it is by sin that death had come into the world, like some wild and savage beast to destroy the life of man, it was necessary for the one who was to effect redemption to be sinless and not liable to death which is due to sin. And it was further necessary for human nature to be strengthened and renewed and be taught by experience to learn the way of virtue which turns back from destruction and


leads to eternal life. Finally the great sea of his benevolence towards man was made manifest for the creature, for the Creator and Lord himself took up the struggle in behalf of his own creation and became a teacher indeed. Actually of course this is one of the themes which Augustine likes to come back to. He has two ways of talking about the Lord, as the medicus, as the doctor and the magister, the master, the teacher. Is it not fascinating how Bernard is directly in this tradition, certainly without knowing very directly save in itself, what it is to be a theologian really means. It means really ultimately putting ourselves in touch with divine revelation and with Christ the teacher. St. Thomas I think gives some slightly different marks of being a great


theologian in the way he leads into the subject of the incarnation with a prologue to the third part of his Summa, where he says because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the angel saving his people from their sins showed us himself the way of truth whereby we might come to the bliss of eternal life it is necessary that to the completion of the whole business theology our attention should be given to the Savior of all himself and the benefits he bestowed upon the human race. We shall especially recall all the way through today the sense of being involved with the entire human race. I kind of pass over the splendid prologue with which St. Thomas leads in this question in his other Summa, again the one against Islam, it's the Summa Contra Gentile and you'll


find you've got in the library here what is not really a translation but is a kind of, it's partly translation, partly an adaptation by a Jesuit, Father Joseph Rickerby, it's called God and His Creatures. Very nice printed book. And this book unlike the Summa is divided into four books and it's in book four that the translation comes. And there is, I've never forgotten reading this for the first time in 1948 I think. On this occasion I'm not going to make my own translation because in fact it is a very difficult thing piece to translate and perhaps does need


breaking down in the way that Joseph Rickerby has done. I think it'd give you, if I just read it to you, it'll give you the kind of feel. Remember you see that St. Thomas in this particular book has taken merely three little books which are largely philosophical and now he wants to introduce the subject revelation and especially the Incarnation. He begins with a quotation from the book of Job. Lo, these things that I have besaid are but a part of his ways, and whereas we've heard scarce one little drop of his speech, who shall be able to look upon the thunder of his greatness? And St. Thomas goes on, but because the perfect good of man consists in knowing God in such a way as he can, there is given man a way of ascending to the knowledge of God, to the end that so noble a creature should not seem to exist


altogether in vain. The way is this, that all the perfections of creatures descend in order from God. Man should begin from the lower creatures and ascend by degrees, which of course is the assertion which is being made in the letter to the Romans, isn't it really, in a certain way that you can go up to the good beyond what is visible, through visible things. It's a kind of philosophical claim. But the weakness of our understanding prevents us from knowing these ways perfectly. Feeble and inadequate then, being any knowledge to which man can arrive by these ways, God has revealed to man facts about himself which surpass human


understanding. In man's present state, in which his understanding is tied to sense, his mind cannot possibly be elevated to any clear discernment of truths that surpass all proportions of sense. In that state the revelation is given him not to be understood, but to be heard and believed. This is really quite, becomes quite important, you'll notice very clearly once you're looking at the third part of the Summa Theologica, and also of course in the Continenti there's how St. Thomas is insisting that of course God revealing doesn't tell us the whole secret, it tells us the thing we need to know. Which is why I said there's an ascent through philosophy and a parallel descent through revelation. The first is an ascent through creatures to God by the light of natural reason.


The second is the ascent of divine truth by revelation to us. Truth exceeding human understanding, truth accepted not as demonstrated to sight, but as orally delivered for belief. The third is the elevation of the human mind to a perfect insight into things revealed. Perhaps at another time and on another occasion we'll have a look at this wonderful book four of the Continentiles together. I don't yet know. You'll have to see where you've got to and what you've been doing before I turn up again if this is arranged. But both there in the Continentiles and in the Summa Theologica we see that St. Thomas observing the mystery aspect of our faith thinks that we can and should reflect upon it as all the fathers and theologians have done. In fact I suppose one of the things I've been trying to show each time we've come to a theme as


you remember is to try to separate out in so far as we can what is clearly dogmatic from those things which are speculative and to that extent may be expressed in different sorts of ways which are compatible with revelation. It's one of the sorts of things theologians do and it's one of the ways of course that's why one often needs teachers especially about these kind of things because it's the work of reconciling one's mind to define things which inevitably is a progressive affair and it does take time. We see both willingness to do this which opens with a consideration of the suitability of the Incarnation in Article 1 of the First Christian. You see the first article of the question 1 of the third part


the opening article asks if it is, the Latin word is convenient, which really means suitable of course, it opens if you like with the affirmation of the supreme aptness of the Incarnation. To take some words from the middle of the article it pertains to the very notion of the supreme good that he should communicate himself to the creature in the highest manner which is superbly done in that he joined a creature to created nature to himself that on one person should come to be from three the word the soul the flesh as Augustine says. This means of course that as a reply to the first projection says just as creation began to be when it was not when it was not before so with equal suitability what was


not united to God in person was afterwards united to the Son. This of course is a kind of term statement of a very very long chug of indeed. It was one of the things that the early Christological discussions were about were how on earth was once again to reconcile our Lord's appearance in time and worship him as divine if we were going to say at the same time that he always was eternally. And so of course what theology has opted for is saying that he was incarnate at a different moment in time. He was always divine but he wasn't always incarnate. This means of course as the reply to the objection says that it really was the kind of suitability which creation


itself has because the fact that we believe in creation. I'm suddenly reminded of seeing television film of Einstein saying I can't see how God could help it. Now this of course is one of the things that Christian theology has always denied. In other words that if you like it's always denied that creation flows out of God because he can't help it. If you like in other words it flows out of kind of natural necessity. It's like a fountain bubbling over. What theology does assert about creation is that of course it is an enormous manifestation of the superabundant goodness of God. So it's the fact if you like that it's freely chosen that creation is freely chosen just like the incarnation is a more supreme expression of the goodness of God than if it were just overflowing because he couldn't help it, if you see what I mean.


Can we ask you article two and this is I want to draw this to you because I think this is just these articles reveal what very carefully trained theologian thinks like. It's asked the question was the incarnation necessary? And St. Thomas replies something can be necessary in two ways. In the first sense something may be necessary absolutely that something should be like food for the conservation of human life. That's his example not mine. And in this way God in his almighty power could have achieved the same result in any number of ways. But a second sort of necessity a means that suitability for the purpose comes into


the picture. And here St. Thomas quotes a string quotation from both Augustine and Leo the Great on the suitability of the incarnation but concluding with these words. But there are endless other suitabilities which follow from it which are above the comprehension of human understanding. In other words it's just like the conviction about creation as being a manifestation of supreme generosity. So this is another one and all its richness cannot be comprehended by the human mind. So St. Thomas is not going to commit himself to saying more than Revelation itself says about this. And we see him going a bit further in this direction in a moment. It really comes out into the open in answering the next question which is if man are not seen would there be an incarnation?


To this St. Thomas replies naturally there have been different views about this. But for this kind of thing he abstains for as he says those things which proceed simply from the will of God above what is due to any creature we cannot know save in so far as they are transmitted to us in Holy Scripture by which the divine will is made known to us. In other words he's insisting on what is properly theological insisting we should before we say something like this we should have some revealed premise which enables us to say it. And so although he admits that this is perfectly possible to think way of thinking isn't the way he feels himself can think. And he goes on by saying and since everywhere in Holy Scripture the reason for the incarnation is attributed to the


sin of the first man it is said to be the more suitable the work of the incarnation being ordained by God as a remedy for sin. In other words he's saying what the revelation clearly says is that it always connects the incarnation with with redemption. In such a way that had there been no sin the incarnation would not have happened. Although the power of God was not limited to this for God could have become incarnate even if there'd been no sin. I hope you can see why that is really a very interesting kind of thing. It's a mark of one particular way of approaching theology. People make up all kinds of wonderful thoughts about God but what St Thomas is really saying there's some things we can't know about God unless he shows them to us and if we're going to assert these sorts


of things we ought to have some good sound ground in revelation to believe them. It seems to me that really we have here something which all theologians young and old would do well to bear in mind. Namely that in any sound theological discussion we must in the long run be ready to show either that what we wish is directly based on revelation or at least is not incompatible with it. Inevitably the nearer we get to pure speculation about divine things the more we expose ourselves to the possibility of being deceived. Naturally this should never be used as an argument against thinking about a problem. But it is I think the principle by which we can judge the soundness of the result we get. Obviously the result of that question I must now leave for now


the rest of it the rest of the discussion of the suitability of the incarnation for the moment because we should have to be doing a systematic Christology to take all that in I think. But I think this I brought this out because as I say it seems to me they've got a kind of principle about theology which is appropriate to people even when they begin to just to bear in mind about all theological discussion. So I'm going to leave for now these articles and the those on the nature of the union of the two natures in Christ and its results. That we of course already find it necessary to refer to two dogmatic aspects of the incarnation as you'll remember. Namely that we're bound to believe that our Lord had a human and rational soul and a human will. Other possible requirements for true humanity we must leave to discuss at some more suitable


time. But in order to put the doctrine of man God and man in its wisest context we must I think turn to question 8. On the grace of Christ in so far as he is head of the church. Question 8. This is a very very interesting question. The first three articles I'm going to look at with you rather closely. On the grace of Christ in so far as he is head of the church. The first article of this question inquires whether he is the head of the church. I think we can usefully begin by looking at St. Thomas's position on this question. It must be said that just as


the whole church is said to be one mystical body by its likeness to the natural body. Natural human body. Which has as the Apostle says different actions according to a different members. So Christ is said to be head of the church in likeness to the human head. About which we may consider three aspects. Its order, its perfection and its power. Its order for the head is the first part of man beginning from the top. Its perfection because in the head both the exterior and interior senses are in control. While in the other members there's only touch. Its power because the power and movement of the other members and control over them in their acts is in the head on account of the


sensitive emotive power which governs there. Which of course is why a brain injury normally incapacitates us in various sorts of ways in other parts of the body. Hence a ruler is said to be the head of his people. All these three apply spiritually to Christ. In the first place of his nearness to God for by grace he is higher and prior even if not in time. For all have received grace in relation to his grace according to the words of Romans 2 verse 29. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son in all they might be the firstborn among many brethren. Second he has his perfection in respect of fullness of grace according to the words of John 1


verse 14. We have seen him full of grace and truth. Thirdly he has the power to make grace flow into all members of the church according to the word of John verse 1 verse 16. Of his fullness we have all received. And so it's clearly suitable that Christ should be a head of the church. The second article asked whether he is head of man in respect of his body only or in respect of our souls. He answered insofar as the soul is the moving part of the body and the body serves the soul instrumentally so it must be said that the humanity of Christ has its influential power insofar as it's joined to the Word of God to which the body is united by the soul. And so the whole humanity of Christ that is to say soul and body has an influence over men both in respect of their souls and their


bodies but principally in respect to the soul and secondly in respect to the body. In one way insofar as we yield our members to God as instruments of righteousness in the soul that exists through Christ. In another way insofar as the life of glory arrives from the souls to the body according to the words of Romans 8 verse 12. He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead would give life to your mortal bodies also through his spirit which dwells in you. And then this is really what I've been working up to. Comes the important article which asks whether Christ is the head of every human being. Here's Christ the head of every human being. I'd just like to sketch the objections first because


they're really more as the ones one would I think almost naturally think up. The first objection to saying that he's the head of every human being is this. The verse is that the head can only be related to its own members and there are lots of unbelievers who are not members of the church. So he can't be the head of all men. Secondly he isn't even head of all the faithful. For it's said in the Ephesians that the church is supposed to be without spot or stain but not all the faithful are like that. Thirdly it's obvious that Christ can't be head even of the fathers of the Old Testament for as the letter of the Hebrew says they were only a figure of things to come. That cuts nearly everybody out. The Swazio is of course of primary importance with two capital New Testament texts which I think one must keep in one's head. Remember


one from the first letter to Timothy chapter 4 verse 10. He is the Savior of all men especially of those who believe. That's starting the assertion that he is the Savior of all men especially those who believe. And 1 John chapter 2 verse 2. He is the expiation of our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And this is part of what being a head means. The body of the altar begins thus. I reply that we must say that there is this difference between the natural human body and the mystical body of Christ. The members of the natural body are simultaneously present. I haven't got Ken's feet. But the


members of the mystic body are not simultaneously together. They are not so either by nature for the body of the church consists of human beings from the beginning of the world to the end or even by grace for those who are so at one time lack the grace they will afterwards have together with those who already have it. Thus the members of the mystical body are to be understood to be not only those who actually are but also those who could be. So if we put it up I suppose in a scheme rather like this. The head of all men is the head of all men because although there may be some actually however of course when we say talk about this possibility it must be recognized


that there are some with which this will never become a fact while some will at some time take the step. And this according to three degrees of which the first is faith the second is charity in this life and the third fruition in heaven. And let's say what he's saying about the possible ones is saying that sometimes can be united to Christ by faith. This is obviously going to sort out lots of members of the church because some are going to be to believe that faith is true but not really live as Christians should. So they are only going to be united by faith and then there are those who are united by love in this world.


And there are also those who are united by love in heaven. But of course they are still in this. I just don't know if we are going to be in church after Vespers or not. Thus it must be said that taking that agenda for the whole time of the world's existence that Christ is the head of every human being but in different degrees. First and chiefly he is the head of those who are united to him in glory. Secondly of those who are here and now united to him by charity. Thirdly those united to him by faith. Fourthly of those who are united to him potentially not realized yet but which will be realized.


Fifthly of those who could be but never will be. I must say in relation to the last group I must say that I am prepared to admit even in public to sympathizing what may have been the heresy of one of the most learned men the church has ever had. Origen who seems to have held that the great shepherd would not leave any of his sheep unrescued in the end. It is a very appealing point of view. I may point out that though we may not hold this as a dogma since it seems to be conscious of the implications of several New Testament texts we are not forbidden to hope that it might be true. As you know one of our great difficulties about Origen is that his undoubted stature has really come I suppose most clearly before in our own time.


Largely owing to the work of Cardinal Daniel but not him alone. People have returned to recognize what a very great writer Origen was. And we must always remember that he was also writing very very early with very little tradition behind him with a very very fine mind. He had taken immense power immense trouble to get a good text of the Old Testament. He had all things written out in parallel columns and all that kind of thing. Enormous enormous undertaking work. And then of course when eventually he was criticized for some of his more speculative thoughts we have the greatest difficulty in establishing what these things were. We know what people said they were. But then as you don't need me to tell you what everything that everybody has said to have said they have actually said.


And it's more than likely that Origen didn't really say all the things that were attributed to him. All right Peter is that functioning all right? That's fine. Religion is of course prayer is one example of that kind of thing. It's a means. The direct thing is faith, hope and love. And thus religion is not a theological or intellectual virtue but is a moral one. That says the kind of virtue about which I have to make sensible choices. That's to say in other words religion is to do with us.


Now these two of course all come together. But they don't in fact of themselves just like that. As we all know. I suppose what for us needs to be clarified here is the real thing. Which explains the need for things like changes in the liturgy. Its reduction in quantity and so on. And of course can be even used as an argument for the abolition of all cult. As it is in Quakerism. And this matter is discussed in article 7 of question 80 R1 which asks whether religion has external acts. I suppose the most obvious objection to its being considered so. Can be taken from our Lord's own words to the Samaritan woman at the well. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. And Thomas amplifies this objection by saying that.


Exterior acts are clearly not matters of the spirit but matters of the body. Certainly they are. And the second objection almost flows out of it. Namely that since what we show by bodily action would seem to have the needs of human beings for their object. Its incongruous to use them for reverence in God. The mediating expression is a rather charming one. Quotation from Psalm 84 verse 2. My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the Lord. So the heart is the interior act and the flesh is the exterior. But the main body of the argument is very clear and important and I translate its opening words. It must be said that the honour and reverence we give to God is not for his sake. For he is in himself full of glory to which nothing creaturely can add.


But it is for our sake. Because by this means we venerate and honour God and our spirits are submitted to him. And this is the perfection of religion. The human spirit needs, if it is to be joined to God, to be led by the hand of sensible things. And so in divine cult we need some corporal things so that by them, as by signs, the human spirit may be aroused to spiritual acts. And so religion indeed has interior acts as its chief ones which belong in themselves to religion. But also has exterior acts as secondary and for the sake of interior acts. So if you like, what we are saying is that the direct object of this virtue is helping us.


We need to exercise these virtues, to have contact with God through faith, hope and charity. And so we need, if cult is to come alive, it must of course have interior acts. But needs some bodily ones. So. And of course, as we know, cult can either reach a degree of elaboration or be carried out in such a way as to defeat or almost nullify its true purpose.


I remember once at Shepparton, on the eve of the celebration of the Byzantine liturgy for our day's birthday, a tired Sackerson saying to me, talk about the Old Testament. In this connection I suppose we must note that in so far as cult ought to lead us to and help us to pray, St. Thomas aligns himself with the thought of St. Benedict, whom he doesn't report, and with the Desert Fathers, as known to Augustine, whom he does report in his important letter to Provo, letter 130, that prayer should be short and pure, and less prolonged under the inspiration of divine grace. For, in question 83 on prayer, I can't take it back, this is question 83, this is 81.


In question 83 on prayer, article 14, St. Thomas says that it is suitable that prayer should only last as long as it helps to arouse the fervour of interior desire. For when it exceeds that measure, so that it cannot go on without tedium, prayer should not be further prolonged. Well that's obvious, isn't it? In fact, one of the things I haven't drawn in here is that Thomas does draw in something at its origin, in the teaching of origin on prayer, naming that, of course, if we have the desire of God in what we do, then this is where it is drawn up into the totality of our prayer. It doesn't mean to say that it is prayer. It seems to me, of course, that in modern times, people have got too used to saying that, of course, my dear, as long as you're working, you're praying. It's not true. Unless you're also praying.


Alright? Now obviously, behind all these considerations, we return almost to full circle to the dignity of man as made in God's image. All of which can be hindered in this recovery by having a wrong view of the way we should live in relation to the world and our present condition. Starting in misunderstandings about providence or fate, or about the appropriate things to do about cult. If man, in some way, realises that he's made a little less than God, it's because he stands in a kind of mediatorial position. He has, as far as we can see, a priestly function to voice the praises of creation. And this function is explicitly restored in baptism. Please notice, I am glad to see you've mostly got some famous Vatican documents here, because we've got not only the main documents,


we've also got the subsidiary declarations, and this is very useful. So, note please, in chapter 1 of Vatican II, a decree on the ministry and life of priests of the 7th of December, 65, begins at paragraph 2 with the following words. This, I think, touches the thing we were talking about last night, Gina. Autoglossed. The Lord Jesus, whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, makes his whole mystical body share in the anointing of the Spirit, wherewith he has been anointed. For in that body all the faithful are made holy, and a kingly priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. And they proclaim the virtues of him who has called them out of darkness into his admirable light.


Therefore there is no such thing as a member that has not a share in the mission of the whole body. In other words, notice that right near the document on the ministry and life of priests, the council decided to make a reassertion of the doctrine of the priesthood of all the faithful. This statement very clearly involves something which is dogmatic. And for that I would refer you back to the dogmatic constitution, Blumengensium, the constitution of the Church, of the 21st of November, 64. Particularly the second half of paragraph 10, which says, and here again I quote, Though they differ essentially and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial and hierarchical priesthood


are nonetheless ordered to one another. Each in its own proper way shares in the priesthood of Christ. If we've got time, I'd like to mention one book which I think may have an interesting and important future for this subject. Though they differ essentially and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood are nonetheless ordered to one another. Each in its own proper way shares in the priesthood of Christ. Having then brought you back to something dogmatic, which places man, as it were, in the centre of his life, as a liturgist, makes him a dancer in that course which the Son of God himself leads. I should like to present you with some reflections of the late Father Alexander Speyman in his book For the Life of the World,


which I think effectively bring together imagehood, priesthood and cult in a way which shows some true theological sense. Speyman says, In our perspective, the original sin is not primarily that man has disobeyed God. It is in that he has ceased to be hungry for Him and for Him alone, ceased to see his whole life depending on the whole world as a sacrament of communion with God. I think perhaps we should say in brackets about that, that evidently we are here everyday thinking about what, dogmatically speaking, are the effects of original sin. We lose our appetite for God. The sin was not the man in the late of his religious duties. The sin was that he thought of God in terms of religion, opposing Him to life.


You'll remember that I've said earlier that religion is a virtue appropriate to our state of separation from God. That's why we have to do something about it. The only real fault of man is in non-Eucharistic life, in a non-Eucharistic world. The fault is not that he preferred the world to God, distorted the balance between the material and the spiritual, but that he made the world material whereas he was to have transformed it into life in God, filled with meaning and spirit. Obviously it seems to me this is what monastic life is about, isn't it? It's about the transformation of life in the world to a liturgy of the spirit. But it is the Christian gospel that God did not leave man in his exile in the predicament of confused longing. He sent light.


He did so not as a rescue operation to recover lost man, but as rather for the completing of what he'd undertaken from the beginning. God acted so that man might understand who he really was, where his hunger was driving him. The light God sent was his son. You will see that this is a modern expression of the conviction of Athanasius and Nereus that the centre is Christ, that it is from him we have to look whether backwards or forwards. While this moment continues, Christianity is in a profound sense the end of all religion. In the gospel story of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus makes this clear. She asked him a question about cult, and in reply Jesus changed the perspective of the matter. Nowhere in the New Testament, in fact, is Christianity presented as a cult or religion. Religion is needed where there is a wall of separation between God and man.


Christ, who is both God and man, has broken down the wall between man and God. He has inaugurated a new life, not a new religion. I think it's very important to concede the truth of that. It's a new way of living. But I'd ask you to note in brackets that the New Testament has, in fact, two opposite positions about this, or rather interpenetrating ones. The part of Anastasia says, Our Father, who art in heaven. Who are in heaven, in this house. At any rate, we acknowledge our separation from God, which is why we are engaging in cult, because we are making contact with him. I.e. separated. And then, of course, we've also got St Paul saying, The Spirit within us cries, Abba, Pater, Abba, Father, which is contact.


So, really, we have it both ways. All right? So, you see, in other words, one can't say it too, one shouldn't say it too extremely, but I think it's making a very important point. The primary thing is that it is a new way of life, and not primarily new cult. The Church itself, which is something Mark was saying the other day, the Church itself was the new and new way of life. The Church in Jerusalem is, by contrast, unimportant. The fact that Christ comes and is present was far more significant than the places where he'd be. The historical reality of Christ was, of course, the undisputed ground of the early Christian faith. Yet they did not so much remember him as know that he was with them. And in him was the end of all religion,


because in him was the answer to all religion. Well, that's all I intended to say today. You may intend to say some more. I think that's really very useful, don't you? That point of Father Schreiber, remember that putting the primacy, if you like, as St Thomas in effect does, although he appears not to be doing so on the surface, where it really lies with us. And that's to say that unless this cult is accompanied by, unless it leads to interiority, then of course it is completely... the display of our separation from God. In one sense, of course, reverence of any kind


is itself the acknowledgement, to some extent, of separation, but it also is the sign of our putting ourselves into relationship with God as something, or someone, created by him and so caused by him. So our Father who art in heaven is something we go on doing and saying, although of course we may come to a point, as Ignatius of Antioch did, do you remember? He says, there's nothing left in me except what a living saying, come to the Father. That's the real interiority of religion, when one becomes oneself the complete oblation, and when union with God is really brought about


in the depths of the soul. But I say that both those dreams are present in the New Testament because of the pattern prayer of the Our Father and the St. Paul's notion that the spirit within us says, Father, which of course is meant to express intimacy. In fact, of course, you'll probably remember one of those Council documents I quoted, something that's turned off. Yeah, that's it. Is it? Yes. One of those Council documents was planting... No, it was another piece of shaman, wasn't it, probably, the other day. Was it shaman? I think it was. Creating... No, it wasn't, it was Father Senodoy, of course, quoting and saying we have the first fruits of the spirit,


which of course is Romans 8, where you'll remember St. Paul is actually saying we who have the first fruits of the spirit growing within us because we long to have the whole thing complete, we share in the groans of creation because everything suffers. I bet you'll know, most of you will know the little thing about Adam's Lamentation by Father Silouan from Mardathos, which takes up this idea of Adam involving himself in the sorrow of what creation suffers because he is no longer in the immediate contact with God, which is possible, which is made possible for us because by our baptism, this priestly function, which of course is not just exercise in church,


but really exercise in the way we live, is restored to us and so we can give a voice to creation as we do in those canticles. We had one the other day, didn't we? Which day was it? We had one. At Lourdes. We had one version. Perhaps it was on our Sunday at Lourdes, I forget the day we had it, but we did sing. The Three Boys song, didn't we? About all the creatures. Do we have it every Sunday at Lourdes? Some places they do. We have it every Sunday at Lourdes. Yes. It is, of course, one of the things, those of you who gradually get to know him,


you'll find there's a rather splendid piece in the smaller reflections of Simeon, the New Theologian, which talks about this. He's, of course, not unique in this. It just occurs to me that it happens to come in there. What are called Gnostic chapters. A little, two or three short verses. And, of course, it's a very traditional Christian. In fact, it goes right back to the Catacombs. So, it's very interesting. These kind of themes are not peculiar, if you like, especially to monks, but they are very much an expression of the Christian apprehension of our faith. Right at the very beginning, one of the common early Catacombs pictures of the 3rd and 4th century is of the three boys in the fire. With, of course, the fourth one who is mentioned, who makes the fire cool. So, the boys' caps don't get smoky.


And, in one way, of course, we're spending most, partly because of the things, the torments we've gone through early on this afternoon. We know what it's like to be in the fire. And to be getting out of the situation into the cool. When, really, everything speaks to us of God and we ourselves speak about God. And we're ready to sing, join in the Magnificat, which we hope to do in a very short time. So that we all sing our Magnificat. It's a rather wonderful song. Yes? Striking from yesterday's remarks, that this balance of the interiority and the external connections. Yes. The monastic life, I mean, it was in Benedictine. Mark was saying a little bit about that yesterday,


but just struck me again, saying how it's really there. Or very much, you see. And always, I think the marvellous chapter, the really wonderful chapter amongst others, is the one on the solarism, when all the vessels of the heart are holy. Like the vessels of the sanctuary. Because this is the real liturgy, this is our priesthood, isn't it? This is the thing you wanted to get onto. This is everyone's priesthood. Treating all the vessels of the heart as holy. And that's when we're digging our patch. As I hope to be digging mine next week. Whatever it is. I mean, this is a holy thing. And it's just as much holiness as doing what we do in church. In one way, of course, it's sometimes closer. Because, in fact, we are actually cooperating with God in this kind of thing. And to the extent to which in our weakness, of course,


you don't need me to give you all the references. Because St Thomas says, what everybody else also says about it, is that it isn't possible for us always to attend to every single word of the prayer we're singing. It's enough that we should intend to do so. And God receives us as such. But still, it is the same. It is true to say that we do this, and we are sometimes acutely aware of doing it, especially on days when we're tired, but in a state where God is not immediately united to us, and where we are uniting ourselves to Him by an activity of our own, which we've chosen to do, and we've in fact made up, I mean, religious man-made thing. And this is really why, and I'm quite sure, I first realized, I think, with great vividness, how important it was to make changes in the liturgy. When I was asked to give a retreat for, many years ago,


must have been well over 20, 25 years ago, to half the clergy of an extremely remote part of Wales. And it was really terrible, the number of young ones who said to me, you know, Father, I've said my offering, but I don't understand a word of it. I mean, they really needed an act. I can very well understand how Pope John felt, because I felt like it myself. You couldn't really believe that they were wholly serious that they wanted it done in some other language than Latin. I mean, he'd always been used to it since he was a child, and I began to say mine is taught in Latin when I was a child. But I realized how very, very important it was that these people shouldn't be doing just dumb show. They really should have something that would help to feed them, and so on. But of course, I also discovered at the same time, in connection, coming back to the general human thing


we were looking at, which I think was worth taking all the trouble, wasn't it really? It wasn't wasted time to see the whole human thing going on, and see how God can come into it at every point. And the more we are aware of this possibility, both in our interpersonal relationships and in working in the world, with and for the building up of the world, and creatively doing so, this can all become part of the function God means his image to have. So you see, in fact, I think I'm going to quote a couple of documents tomorrow, Ken, which do suggest that the image has almost got a kind of dogmatic formulation, in some of the Council documents, equivalently so.


They don't actually cite any previous Council, but they do it on the basis of the scriptures themselves. As I say, it was so obvious, in any case, it's so obviously the consistent doctrine of all, the tradition of the Church, that there's no doubt it's very central to our understanding of ourselves, that our image function is meant to reflect, in the way we live, all that God intends for the world. So we ought to intend it in our hearts, and it ought to be a guiding thing for the way we work and live, all the time. And so, of course, to do everything much more humanly, thinking and choosing, enough anyway. It's, of course, very, very important, as we all know,


in this kind of life that we lead, where the day is very full of doing, really, in a way. I've always had to point out to people about the contemplative life, it's very, very active in its organisation. Some people can't stand it because it's too active in that way, there are too many things to do. But, of course, in some ways, it becomes helpful when you're used to it, isn't it? Because it gives you a specific occasion for doing certain sorts of things. What you then have to keep your eye on, when that's happened, is that you sometimes step back enough from them again, to see them quite fresh and make them quite real, insofar as you can. And also be prepared to step through the framework when you need to. It's very important to keep the silence in life, and not to step over somebody who's dying in the corridor,


and not do anything. Sometimes you have to make that kind of decision. Because, of course, none of those cultic things, none of those observances, are in themselves absolute. And provided we've got the balance right, and provided we do concentrate on what's holy, even about what the mundane things are, then, somehow, it's extraordinary how God sometimes gives one a gift. He gives you back. Perhaps you've thought to yourself, Oh dear, I shan't get any time, at all time, I plan to give the prayer today, I shan't do it. And then, you do what perhaps falls to your lot, somebody falls in a heap in front of you, and you pick them up, whatever the thing is. And then, somehow or other, you suddenly find you're not tired anymore,


and everything's going all right, and you see lots of things you wouldn't have seen at all, if you'd sat down in church and started praying. I would have become completely blank. I think God generally does treat us a bit like this. I don't think He does it very good, because, God's always doing something, isn't He? God is never idle, as most of the great writers like to say. He's always doing something. And, of course, sometimes He does it by permitting things. And we get, if we only listen to the Gospel every day, it's astonishing how easy it is not to, but if one only listens to it every day, we get our Lord reminding us of this kind of thing. I suppose some of the reasons why the people went by, who was injured on the way down to Jericho, was because they didn't want to interrupt something else which they thought was a more important duty.


So the outsider, who's not much of one about rules, doesn't even know very many of them, does the best thing. Is there anything else? Are we all worn out? Well, of course, that's quite a good thing to remind oneself of. I think sometimes one has to, at the end of the day, if it's normal, if you spend the day doing the things you should have done, you should be tired. God makes it so. So, my little picture of Mark having tea, supper, and then going to bed, will apply to all of us. I don't think we can all get taller. Actually, I have a very funny thing when I'm tired. I don't know whether any of you have it. Perhaps as probable as I am,


I think I start by being a rather small person, and I generally manage to pick up shoes, because I have rather small feet, and in sales, they may always want to get rid of the shoes that are too small for anyone else to wear, so I can get them back. On a daily basis, I feel very tired. Now, everybody looks instantly much taller. Some people look about two feet taller. It's nice to feel myself to be right down there, about two feet high. But it's good to be tired when it's time. I didn't want to get anything anyone to know us. I think we pretty well worked ourselves through today. We certainly made up for any time we didn't take any other day. I hope we've got somewhere with it. I think we have, in fact. And you see, it does come round a very full circle to what we meant to do. We still won't quite have finished


the lots of things we'd like to do about the Christian Association, but I think by the time we finish what we're going to do on Monday, we'll have not done too bad. We've got some of the major things in. Because what I'm hoping to do on Monday is just to give a picture of ourselves functioning in the whole ordinary human condition, because the Council has two important documents on our relationship to non-Christian religions and also to the liberty of conscience of Christians to practice their faith. And then I hope to look at the Doctrine of Redemption. Yes, please. Go ahead and finish. No, I'm finished. For the moment. I should have stopped you when you said it. You said something about work and prayer.


Yes. I said that sometimes in the modern world this can be turned into a heresy. You know, sometimes your peers have said to very, very overworked subjects, of course, my dear, remember your work is your prayer. Well, that's all right, provided the person is able to function really humanly in such a way that what they're doing is actually virtuous and not slavery. Because then, of course, the interiority of the act of charity, which only immediately goes to God, not immediately, but immediately through the kindness one is doing for somebody else, whatever the thing is, this is part of the kind disposition which we express in our prayers, isn't it? It's the openness to do the will of God, which is the fundamental thing, which is prayer.


It's the openness to put ourselves in the stream of divine action in the world. But it's very, very important, I think, not to, if you like, to make this the excuse for not praying, not making time to pray. Obviously there are days when one just is driven to that. I mean, it can happen that, it's often happened to me since I've been ordained, I think, that on certain days, all my attempts to find time for prayer, you know, somebody will knock and come, but something you can't say no to. You have to do it now. Or something just happens that you have to deal with. And it would be very unvirtuous not to do it. And Teresa of Avila, again, and one of the many people who just says, you know, don't worry your head about it, you can't pray for two days or something like that. As long as you haven't made up your mind you're never going to pray again. It's important to keep your eye on getting back to doing this.


Because otherwise, I think you begin to live presumptuously. You put too much weight on your own action. Yes, Peter? Don't you find, though, or at least I find, when you do start getting towards presumption, my life just ends up helter-skelter. It does. And that's sort of a sign that, hey, you know, you've got other activities going on. It does. Exactly. To show that generally God hits you on the head with something, rather, and brings you back to your senses. But I think one shouldn't, one mustn't presume. Did that sufficiently answer what you said? As I say, it is, the origin, of course, you realise this was a great discussion for the first four or five centuries, is how on earth we would fulfil the precept which appears to be evangelical, that we should always pray. In fact, of course,


everybody admits they can't always pray. We can't pray for 24 hours a day. People have to have pauses. And in fact, it can lead to a completely heretical position if you try to do this, because this is to ignore what is one of the given things in our human situation. We must prepare our food, we must work, and so on. In fact, this is why we had to go through all the things we were going through earlier. We have to make choices, we have to reflect on things, and so on. That's all part of what virtue requires and what being human requires. We mustn't try to get out of that. That wouldn't be being true to God at all. To do, as the Superior said, make your work your prayer, or whatever the wrong aspect of it is, to think on what we were saying earlier, is really to encourage the mindlessness and being sunk in the fateful sort of situation. Yes, it is.


Of course, I'm afraid, I think some of the most faith-bound people I've known have been people in religious life. Because once they've both been treated like that, and accepted the theory, then they're done for, of course. They really are. Then they are slaves. Straightforwardly. Fortunately, of course, God sometimes makes them will. Then something else has to be done. Even an illness is often God's something to do with one's growth and one's life. Yes? Father, what is your interpretation of the dialysis of prayer without ceasing? Well, I think the classical one which Origen worked out in his wonderful little treatise on prayer, has been accepted by most people in prayer, by most people writing about prayer subsequently, that the fundamental prayer


is the desire to be united with God. And so, when we're not actually praying, provided what we are doing is being done because we desire to be united with God through that thing, then it is, as Origen says, drawn up into our prayer. As I say, it is important not to say that it is the same thing as prayer, that it is drawn up into prayer. As I say, Origen is the first one to say this very clearly. And I think you will find that all great treatises on prayer depend directly or indirectly on this. Even if they don't know it, he was the first one to say this very clearly. It's a very beautiful work. It's very, very scriptural. And generally available in one or two translations. You've probably got one or two, haven't you? Yes. There's a new one out. Yes, somebody's just done one. I noticed that. I haven't looked at it,


I haven't seen it, but I know somebody's just done a new one. I'm sorry I can't remember out of my head which paragraph that comes in. It comes fairly well on in the treatise. But it's one of the central topics of discussion. It's Origen on prayer. If you can produce a copy, that would help us, John. Well, John, back to it before we go. Before we are finished. And so we can devote ourselves to having it some day, I hope. Oh yes, it's kind of neat. It's writers. Oh yes, and a rather good man's done it. Two. It came out in, as it came out in 54 in the United States. Just let's see


whether we can put our finger on it straight away. Where it comes. Oh yes. If that's the page reference, we may have it at once. Yes. It's chapter 12. Paragraph 2. He prays without ceasing


who joins prayer to works that are of obligation and good works to his prayer. For virtuous works or the carrying out of what is enjoined form part of prayer. It is only in this way that we can understand the injunction pray without ceasing as something that we can carry out. That is to say, if we regard the whole life of the saint, that's to say the one who is always doing the good thing, whether it's work or prayer, as one great continuous prayer. What is usually termed prayer is but a part of this prayer and it should be performed not less than three times each day. All right. Bless you all. Thank you for your patience.