Introduction to Theology, Serial No. 01124

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#ends-short; #item-set-209, writing on chalkboard


I know that Bishop Antony would be very sympathetic towards that sense for the Undivided Church, which I think and hope has been developing as a by-product of our work. The thing I'm thinking about occurs in an article called The Holy Trinity's Structure of Supreme Love, by Father Stanilore, whom you probably have heard of anyway, I expect. As you had connection with, how do you spell it, with Faith Edgars, John Baptist, you'll certainly know of him, because he's actually been there, I think, have you actually seen him? I was there when he gave his talks and so forth. This is reprinted in a translation of selected essays of his from Vladimir's press under


the title Theology and the Church. And Father Stanilore says, The revelation of the Trinity took place in Christ, for one divine person became man in order to save men. While another divine person remained above men, so that he who had become incarnate might raise men up to that divine person who was not incarnate, but transcendent. You'll remember the diagram we had on the board yesterday. The son becomes man, but the father remains the goal of the incarnate son's striving, and that of all the men whom the son has united to himself. The incarnate son could not have been without this goal or else he would not have been able to imprint this striving towards it upon all the faithful. The son becomes man in order to be the model and center from which a force shines out, making men like Christ in their striving towards God the Father.


This force, which becomes an intimate principle within all who believe, it always remains at the same time above them, is the third divine person, the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Spirit God becomes wholly immanent, and yet imprints upon all men this yearning for the transcendent God. The Holy Spirit must be a person in order to make us grow as persons ourselves, yet he must be the equal of the transcendent God in order to lead us into his presence and by divinizing us, give us a true place as partners with God. When the God in Trinity reveals himself to us, he reveals himself as a Savior God, and a God whom we experience in the saving activity that he exercises upon us and within us. He is revealed to us as an economic Trinity, let's say, the Trinity doing something in


the world. Clearly this deceptively simple sounding statement of the heart of fundamental theology is one we must bear in mind in anything we say about man, because it gives a kind of dynamism to the whole of life. Yes? Would you want the idea repeated? I don't think we need to necessarily go through the exact words, but what he's saying is that if you like, the revelation of Trinity takes place in Christ, because a divine person becomes man, only the Son becomes man, in order to raise us up to the transcendent Father, and he does the Father's will, and he imprints upon us this striving for the Father. But the fact that this movement goes on in us is the sign of the immanent presence of


another person who makes this movement possible, and this is the Holy Spirit. So if you like, you get then the Trinitarian attraction of the whole inner life. Yes? You say the Holy Spirit is immanent, but then it leads us to the transcendent? Yes. Yes. It sounded like, it went fast, but it sounded like the Son and the Spirit did the same thing. He said that the Son imprints upon man's soul this striving toward God, and then seemed to say that the Spirit imprints upon man this striving toward God. Yes, I suppose it's really, I think it's really, again talking about the difference between word and love movement, isn't it? Because you see, if you like, what the Son does is to give us the sense of, and the picture


of Sonship, or being a daughter, if we happen to be women. And the movement itself is a love movement which fulfills this fundamental desire we've talked about earlier. It draws us up into the life of God. Yes? In the imprinting. Pardon? In the imprinting, in the formation of our souls, is the image that is given us, that of the eternally begotten Son, or the incarnate Son? I think that's a very difficult question to answer, because I don't think there's really a choice, if you see what I mean. And let's say, when we went to the Eucharist this morning, the sacrament we received was alive, and talking in the name of the Oriental liturgies, alive as far as the divine alive,


isn't it? As the body of Christ. So it's both one and the other, I think. That's what theological sense says to me. Does it say that to you? I don't know, I don't think I have that sense. Well, I mean, it just seems like, to come to the perfection of regaining the likeness of God within us, as it's an analogy, and it's a human analogy, it seems like the incarnate life is the one which at least we unconsciously strive for. I think this is why we have to hear the Gospel every day, yes, and that's why we have to hear the Gospel every day of religion. That's why we have to live the Gospel out. This is why the Son comes and shows us what it's like to walk about, sleep and eat and


talk with your friends, and so on. And love people you have to care for, and so on. All these things are necessary. I promise that we're going to come back to this a little bit more, probably on Friday. I hope to get ready by Friday to do it. I'm sorry I'm taking a slowish road, because you can see underneath this there are a number of really quite difficult theological concepts to get hold of, and I'd rather want to avoid doing too much at one go. But I think, surely you can see the distinction I'm making here, that the pattern of the Christian life is what Christ shows us in the way he lives. In his compassion, and all those things like this. It's what he means by saying, he who has seen me has seen the Father. So you see, even in the incarnate life, we are being drawn towards the Father, whom we


do not see. So this is both and, I think. You see what I mean? All right? Ken, do you see that? No, not clearly, but it's on its way. On its way. Let's try and get it a tiny bit further. Did you get John Baptist questioned even? Because in one way, it never helps to be told. One theological student who's now much more advanced, telling me not so many days ago, the awful thing about the first way he started with theology, he was told answers to a whole lot of questions he himself hadn't asked. Because you never learn anything that way. And John Baptist was asking me, what would you like to repeat your question? Well, you were speaking about imprinting, and I just wondered if the imprint, particularly thinking of all the Cistercian things, was an imprint of the Eternal Son, who yesterday


eternally begotten, or whether it was the worthy flesh that we actually could see. Well, I think, don't you, that the wonderful thing, the best of the early Cistercian writers do is succeed in telling it both ways. For instance, Eliot very much insists on the sort of thing that the first letter of John insists on, where you can touch the body of the Son. It heals, as the term means. Well, in a sense, the question, if we speak of the Son now, we can only speak of Him as both eternally begotten and incarnate, because there isn't one or the other, in a sense, the incarnation. You can't speak of... Yes, you're quite right about that. It's a question of which level you're most aware of, isn't it?


I think this is really why, for instance, if we had several years together, we'd have lots of time to talk about this, but this is why, for instance, somebody like St. Therese of Avila will make a special point of saying to her sisters, in order to avoid a very abstract kind of spirituality, you must go to the Father through the Son, because if you like, you have God as a kind of absolute arc up there, if you see what I mean, an inconceivable, conceivably transcendent, whereas in fact, if you like, the point you're insisting on, of course, is absolutely right. It is the incarnate Son who draws you up into the transcendent, and they are inseparable, but you don't know this when you begin. I mean, if you like, the love affair with the incarnate Son is the one that draws partly


bodily. We mustn't be afraid of that aspect of it, I think. Yes, yes? My brother would say, but in the inn dwelling, isn't it, it's the second person, it's the Trinity, it's not the sacred humanity, the only place the humanity is present is in heaven, in the tabernacle, or in you for a few minutes after communion. So there is... I'm not quite sure we can really divide it up quite like that, you know, let's say, if you like, what's the act of faith about? If this is what we, if we could talk about the act of faith, then we do believe in the incarnate Son, and when I pray to our Lord as divine, anywhere, whether there's a second person or not, it's the humanity I reach. But the teaching of the church is that you can have the presence of the Trinity without


the presence of the sacred humanity being present. Isn't that right? Sure, we pray to Christ in the sacred humanity because it's easier for us to picture him that way, but it doesn't mean that the inn dwelling, the sacred humanity is not within me now, but the Trinity is. No, you haven't had access to it, and this is really what I'm saying. If you like, in one way I think you're talking about our own hearts as though they were a sort of box, if you see what I mean, they are. You're talking about our humanity, our own humanity as though it were a sort of box, whereas we're talking about it much more in terms of its dynamism, of the movements of the heart. Let's say, if you like, the thing I'm in contact with is the thing I love now, and love is a self-contact. Isn't it? This is why in his treatise on loving God, God says you don't have to give any further


explanation. If you say you love, that's the end of it. You too. Love is its own reason. I'm trying to make a theological distinction. Teresa of Babylon says that we become other Christ when we regain the likeness. She says that our soul is like a mirror, and Christ is reflected in every part of our soul. With what John the Baptist is saying, he says is that the incarnate Son that is reflected or the second person? I would assume that it was the eternal, even though now Christ has assumed a human nature to the second person. But the image that we have is what image? The second person? Incarnate? I think, to some extent, we must say yes, because that's what Christian life is about. And here I am standing in this body. And in fact, I can't be Christian if I'm not going to exercise the virtues in the bodily way.


And as I said, you can't push this to the point of having pure interiority. I guess I'm thinking of a blessing in heaven, because... I think you probably are. No, but what I mean is, the soul is... No, I mean like Teresa of Babylon. She doesn't have a full body now. She's on earth. But she's in heaven. And surely she reflects Christ, but in her soul. Now that image... And potentially in her body too, because this is... Yes, potentially. But her body is still in various places on earth. Well, whatever we mean by that. We'll have a word about that perhaps later. It's really not quite so complex, I think, as it's... And that's to say, the soul remains. One of the times he gave this puzzle, he didn't get near the answer to this one, because he was so convinced that the soul is the form of the body. He couldn't understand how the soul could know anything if it didn't have a body. Couldn't have a body? How the soul could know anything if it didn't have a body. Because that's the way we know everything. In our presence.


So you see, I suppose, if you like, it's very dangerous... Remember, we are talking all the time in these terms, we are using analogies. And it's very dangerous to talk about this kind of contact we have with the incarnate Christ as though it were... Yes? As though it were, if you like, sometimes physical and sometimes spiritual. Because, as I think Mark is quite right in saying, you can't have either one without the other. Wherever you are. Yes? Would it be true to say that in God now there is a human element? Yes, of course it is. It's of extreme importance. That's one of the things the incarnation is about. That what we are is in God. Fulfilled. And that's what we are going to be. That's why we are being transformed from glory to glory.


So the more Christ-like we become here, and we become Christ-like here by living the sort of life that Christ himself lived. And that's why it's part of virtue. It may, of course, on some days be virtuous to fast, but it's part of... Most of us have to be virtuous enough today to eat our supper, which is what our Lord did. You see? And also there's two other things that I'm thinking of. One is that... Let's have you on record. Otherwise you may not know. We may get the answer without the question. What were you going to say, Mark? Well, one notion that this brings up is what do we actually mean by the sacred humanity? Yes. And the resurrection body. Yes. And which we really don't know.


Exactly. And also the notion, the very real notion, of the body of Christ being the Church. Exactly. And the Church is the body of Christ. And I think that's such an overwhelming reality. And this monastic community is the body of Christ. Yes, it is. Just as much or even more than the Eucharist, I think. Yes, it's more permanently so, certainly, because that's what the Eucharist is ordained to us. We must remember this is, of course, one of the special difficulties, as you know, about those kinds of Eucharistic devotion which are separated from that for which the Eucharist was instituted, namely our life. Are you going to shout? No, no, no, no. I just came to a further stage. Yes, I've never forgotten, actually, that one extraordinary occasion, many years ago, in the middle of something, a little benediction,


a South African who was still, I think, a priest, I believe. Some of the ones I knew in the Eucharist, and they were all priests, but that one was still. And I remember, he suddenly turned up, obviously he'd been brought up in Catholic family, he'd been a bit of a benediction since he could remember. He suddenly turned around and seemed to say to me, what a strange ceremony this is. And it wasn't a ceremony, it is. One ought to feel this. One ought to feel it. It is a tiny bit strange. We won't go into that any further. We'll talk about that during the lecture. Yes? Go on. Can I modify my question? Yes, yes, yes. Please do. The event of the Incarnation. Yes. Did it modify, in any way, the image which is put upon our souls, at our creation? Well, I'm going to plunge you into that one,


right at the end of this. You'll give me another ten minutes. That was fine. I'm not going to give you the answer. We're going to have to wait, we're going to have to, well, maybe, probably, we'll have to wait to get to Heaven to know the answer fully, but I'll try and give you some kind of an answer about the day after tomorrow. At any rate, when God, Father Senator's last point was, remember, when God intends to reveal Himself to us, He reveals Himself as a Saviour God. And that's what revelation is about. Lauren, is that all right? Do you see that? It's God showing Himself, if you like. Now, I'm afraid of all this,


the reason why we're having so many questions, and this is very, very important, I think, that we should be, it's really astonishing how this is still not really clearly worked out systematically in a Christian anthropology. And this is why I'm breaking my head to try and say something about this before I leave you on Monday. But it's not at all easy to organize it in such... Today, I'm deliberately putting us in the middle of a mess, if you see what I mean. I'm giving us a great big tangle of skin, and we can pull out the threads as we go along, I hope, in the next day or two. I think I have to share my difficulty with you because difficulty is part of the way we enter into theology. If you don't have any problems, I can't answer them. If you're not thinking about it, we can't learn anything. One of the reasons why theologians pray about and strive to pray the mysteries of faith, of course, is that they have difficulties about it. We've already seen two great 4th century theologians,


Athanasius and Henry, insisting that for us as believing Christians, the whole course of human history, indeed of creation itself, only becomes luminous and intelligible. This is part of the answer, do you know, Baptists? It only becomes luminous and intelligible in terms of the revelation of the person of the living Word of God, Christ our Lord. And it will certainly be necessary, as I go on, to show you something of another early theologian, the great Irenaeus, who is evidently thinking the same way. These fathers are in fact only doing what we've seen St. Thomas saying the theology of the New Testament does about the Old Testament as a whole, namely to teach it all as an allegory, a prefiguring of Christ. It's not, of course, my intention to say that they treat the idea of creation and the thought of man as a myth. But I think that until we see creation, and especially the creation of man, as the wonderful communication of God to something and someone outside himself,


we're unable to read or reach the heart of its mystery. You see, when you realize that God is complete, that he lacks nothing, it's the extraordinary mystery of supreme love that he makes someone to whom he communicates what he is. He makes someone to love who can become a lover. In this connection, it seems to me very interesting that St. Dionysius, in his great work against heretics, written sometime in the 2nd century, I suppose the second half of the 2nd century,


he died probably about 202, it seems to me very interesting that he doesn't even look directly at the scriptural text for creation, but appealing to the consistent tradition of the prophets and many pagans who observe the creation, simply says, the creation itself shows forth him who created it. What it made suggests him who made it. And the world displays him who disposed it. And the church throughout the whole world has received this tradition from the apostles. In other words, he doesn't say, look at the book of Genesis. This conviction about creation is an apostolic conviction. Now this point of view finds its place in the Summa Theologica, in the primapos Question 45, Article 7, which speaks of there being a vestige of the Trinity in created things,


such as suggested by the text from the book of Wisdom, chapter 11, verse 20. But thou hast arranged all things by measure, number, and weight. Wisdom 11, verse 20. It's a text to know and remember because many of the great theologians are going to use it. Augustine will use it quite a lot. Thou hast arranged all things by measure, number, and weight. But Dionysius will insist very firmly upon the fact that it's clear that the works of justice are performed in the body, and that our bodies will have their share in obtaining the peace of eternal refreshment, and that talk of the resurrection of the body is true and clear promise. This is again, book 2, 29.2. Now this is where it's necessary to repeat


what I believe it's true to say, that Saint Bernard, I find this a very terrifying thing, is the last great theologian to insist that the saints are not complete without their bodies. And although, of course, the image of God in man is going to be spoken of largely in spiritual terms in later writers, as in early ones, though with an important proviso it's a little worrying to find Saint Thomas in the Summa Theologica when introducing the subject of man in the first part, saying in the prologue to question 75, after considering the spiritual and corporeal creation, we have to think about man, who is composed of the spiritual and the bodily, and first of the nature of man. But it pertains to theology to consider the nature of man from the side of his soul, not from the side of his body, save insofar as there is a relationship of the body to the soul.


This must surely be, I think, rather worrying, insofar as it comes very close to treating the body as an appendage, which is surprising in the case of Saint Thomas, who is so firm in his conviction that the soul is the form of the body, whose thorough theological knowledge is indeed so firmly tied, as I've just said, to bodily functions, he finds the problem of explaining how the separated soul can know anything at all a very embarrassing one. If everything I've been saying in these lectures appears to you to be over-familiar or merely vaguely interesting, I beg you to note how important it is for the life of the Church within the world today these matters have been so little consistently thought out, with the exception of a very few modern theologians since the 12th century. There's really been nothing about it. It's all been up in the air. And then the documents back at Vatican II bring us back there, to which I shall be referring later. They are the first council documents of their kind,


really to deal with the nature of man as a whole in a positive way. It's very frightening. Now the awareness of a need to account for all this satisfactorily is a return to the realistic bravery of an early father like Ignatius of Antioch, who while insisting upon the importance of the spiritual for our lives, doesn't forget this has to be lived out in the wholeness of the body condition. When he says in his letter to the Ephesians, the fleshly-minded cannot do the things of the spirit, or the spiritually-minded those of the flesh, any more than faith can do faithless things, or faithless as those of faith. Moreover, the things you do in the flesh are spiritual, since you do them all in Jesus Christ. Later in the same century, Irenaeus would be so impressed by the all-embracing fact of the Incarnation and Redemption by the Only Begotten Son, that he would go even further than either Athanasius or Hilary


in connecting it with the making of man in his fleshly and spiritual wholeness, and dare to remind us that the hand of God formed Adam from the earth and forms us too. And he continues in Against Therese's, book 5, 16, the closing phrase of 16.1, Now there is another hand of God beside this, which from the beginning to the end forms us and adapts to life, and is present to his work and contemplates it according to the image and likeness of God. And proceeds, For then was this truth really shown when the word of God became man, likening himself to humanity and humanity to himself, so that by the very fact of being in the likeness of the Son, man might become dear to the Father. For in the early times it was said that man


was made to the image of God, but it was not made manifest. For the word to whose image man had been made was still invisible, and so he easily lost the likeness. And this is the danger of an over-spiritualized spirituality. But when the word of God was made flesh, he confirmed both. For he displayed the yet true image, making himself what his image was, and restored the stability of likeness, giving man a shared likeness to the Invisible Father through the visible word. Now, on this note of theological scandal, I must leave you to Dave. We're going to take a break. But not without reminding you that St. Paul's conception of a first and second Adam necessarily involves the body as well as the spirit, and is in fact intimately connected with the belief we profess in the resurrection of the body which we make when we say the Apostles' Creed. We shall need a day or two more


to coordinate all these notions as they're called up. At least we can begin today with our feet on the earth. Okay. Pause. Well, I wonder where we want to start. As you see, I deliberately put the passage around at the end as being something that really no other theologian quite says in the same way. And I think you can surely see why Agnieszka wants to say it. You see, nearly everybody is going to want to say because God is spiritual that the image of God in man is primarily in the soul.


But you can see how in one way Agnieszka wants to have the reassurance which indeed the explanation would appear to be giving us that all the splendid things that are promised to us Are you having difficulty, John Baptiste? Perhaps you'd better turn off Peter for a moment. I think it's just because it's doing funny things. Is it? I don't know anything, so... Carry on. Do you see why this is an interesting kind of text to quote? I mean, let's say that in other words in insisting that the son becomes like us and we may be like him. I think this is really an important idea not to laugh at. Because if you like,


to talk about the things which are promised to us spiritually and to remember that we are just as we are in this kind of bodily condition. I'm tired and a bit sleepy on this every cloudy afternoon. Rather different from yesterday. It's funny how all our moods are visibly different today. The sun is not shining. And we're all affected by this. And so it's very, very important to know that when the son of God becomes incarnate he really has this kind of a body. Now it's true it's not absolutely the same. We're going to have to put a few reserves in because of the effects of original sin which we haven't talked about yet. But substantially, if you like, this bodily condition, it is very, very important not to throw this out. And it becomes rather alarming


that the further we go on, as I say, after the 12th century, in their theological, in their spiritual treatises, most writers fail to mention what St Bernard explicitly brings forward in the treatise on loving God. The saints are not complete without bodies. They are bodies. And so they want them because, of course, that's what God wants. To come back to your initial point about the desire that God gives us. It's God's intention that we shall be holy ourselves. And there's no possible way in which we can be holy ourselves without including whatever it is that our bodies do for us. It's very hard to say. We are not spirits in a box. That's what Plato would have meant.


Yes, in other words, this is the difficulty, of course, of all forms of spirituality which are explicitly dependent on Platonism. Mind you, of course, let's not be unfair to the real Plato whose philosophy wouldn't work at all unless it starts with a very, very strong and vivid appreciation of the beauty of the body. The Symposium, as you know, which is one of its most important, it isn't the same thing in the Phaedo, the dialogue in the Phaedo. It's very, very important that it starts off with thinking how marvellous people look. And, of course, it's one of the things that Saint Bernard also likes to say. I remember there's a piece, I forget just where I got it from now, in Asking the Fathers, but simply about talking about what a man looks like.


I can certainly remember myself in my school days, I remember suddenly seeing one of my friends doing a very ordinary thing and thinking how marvellous this looked. I mean, it wasn't a superb action in itself, but it was an expression of this particular personality. Nobody could have done that particular thing the way he did, because it was just the way he did it. It was he, the whole person, imprinting itself upon what is done. Father? Yes? I've often wondered where, in our theology, the notion of the immortality of the soul comes from, or the soul being distinct from the body.


Yes, in this way, of course, you'll be quite rather charming with Saint Thomas, because he had very big problems about this too. I suppose it is because, if you like, while thinking in a philosophical way about the idea, as you know he's non-existent, let's just very briefly sketch the way it works, because perhaps we should be alluding to it, either while I'm with you now, or if I'm ever allowed to come back in. I may be burnt at the stake in the meanwhile, of course, as I'm here to see. It's gone down on the tapes, but if it hasn't, I might even come back in. And so it is perhaps important to know that Saint Thomas is so convinced that every ensouled thing, and let's say the trees are,


they do take the form they do, because they've got soul. They feel like they're formed by a living principle. Everything that replaces itself is like this. Let's say Ken sitting on that chair now is not the same Ken as he was seven years ago, physically. This is really why I think there's no problem about the resurrection of the body. I mean, it doesn't matter where the bits and pieces are, because from that we... I always think the most fascinating thing about meals, when you're looking around at everybody eating their meal, they're eating our lunches today. We all had the same lunch. Now it all looks so different, doesn't it? We've made it different. We've actually transformed. They said the soul is a very extraordinary thing, even in its present condition, isn't it? So if it's possible for the soul to be a mortal mark, then I suppose there'll be no problem about the resurrection of the body, will there?


I mean, we can obviously make bodies. We're quite used to that while we're alive. We're in the body. Is the notion that we have, in a chronological sense, substantially the same as Plato gave us, in terms of immortality itself? That's in the Symposium too, isn't it? I suppose I don't think it's quite... I think it's the clearest, really, in the letter on the death of Socrates, isn't it? Probably, I think. But I haven't looked over these. These are the kind of facts that easily slip from one's mind, where things are. But I suppose, if you like, the fact that we can appreciate the good and the beautiful and devote ourselves to it,


and that this gives us a sense of timelessness, is what makes us feel that the soul is immortal. But this, of course, is not really the revelation reason why we think the soul is immortal, is it? It's very clearly one of the things St. Paul is saying in the first letter to the Corinthians, is that if there is no resurrection, in other words, if there are no souls that are not going to be embodied, then our faith is all nonsense. Well, that's what I'm wondering, if that's what St. Paul is saying. St. Paul is talking about an immortal soul when he talks about what's buried, a physical body is raised, a spiritual body.


It's not clear to me that he has an immortal soul in mind there. I think you're absolutely right if you're talking about the philosophical concept of soul. That's really why I hesitate to answer John Baptist positively on this issue. Because, you see, I think a philosophical concept of soul is a kind of tidying up of what might be the result of reflecting on this. Let's say it supposes some kind of continuity, doesn't it? It isn't just a kind of revival. It's curious how universal this concept, this idea of the persistence of souls is, isn't it? And that's why you get so many people ready to accept the, to me,


totally curious idea of transmigration of souls. But I suppose you sound as though you were saying something which is very interesting and I think very, very much like the point from which St. Thomas is puzzled about the separated soul begins is that it's very hard to think of what on earth we can mean if we don't have a separate soul. About the soul when it isn't what's making our bodies. Yes? Is he saying he just can't imagine what it is? Or is he calling into question the whole... Because it could be and he just can't imagine it. Well, St. Thomas' real difficulty is this,


that his, what I was about to say and suddenly found myself forgetting to say was that, was that, you see, St. Thomas says that just as a child I began by feeding my way around the room, feeding tables and chairs and legs and hands and so on and getting to know my own body in this way. So all thinking is somehow related to bodily functions. This is why when we get tired we find it harder to think. Because the imagination is a physical function fundamentally. And there's no idea, St. Thomas would insist, however spiritual, doesn't need the support of some kind of phantasm. Doesn't mean to say an image exactly but it means some tenuous mental thing which is bodily supported. And let's say, somehow or other,


although we now know in terms of modern surgery that the body is capable of extraordinary adaptations for certain kinds of functions, it still is true that the condition of our body does affect how our capacity to think and to know. And so even the most spiritual things we know and talk about have started from some physical impression somewhere. And once you become convinced about this, of course it is harder and harder. I think this is really, you can see this is more than just an imaginative difficulty, it's a theoretical difficulty as well, is how on earth can you be you if you're not the kind of you who is growing and receiving your impressions and developing and so on through a life of the senses. What about Christ's statement to the thief that


you know, this day you will be with me. Yes. Did anybody mention that in connection with what we're talking about? Well, as I say, I think there's no doubt about it, it seems to me, and I think Mark is not really going to deny this, except that we're both going to find it a bit difficult, that it's implicit in what St. Paul is saying about the resurrection of the dead, which would not be without hope for them. It's implicit that the souls of these people are somewhere, even if their bodies are in the state of dissolution, which we happen to know is a visible fact, I mean that most people's bodies do, except in certain climates, decay. Yes? St. Teresa, one time God revealed her her own soul, and she said that one of the things that makes her happy


is that to see the great beauty, was that she had something to do with helping it to become so beautiful. That's cool. And she said that to think of the soul, she says, don't think of the soul as being confined within the body, she says, rather the body is more or less like within the soul, she says, think of it as, and they say in Spanish, the word that she uses means not many mansions, but like millions of rooms. Yes, she does. Like if you could imagine the most rich castle out of gold, and precious gems, she says the soul is so much more beautiful and big, she says the capacity, she said it's almost like infinite, that you cannot over-imagine how beautiful and how great it really is. Yes. Yes, that's a lot. Like many mansions above and below. Yes. And that was just her, the way that she tried to explain it. Yes, but it's obvious. And the nicest thing of all was that God, within the innermost part,


is God who is dwelling there within you, and giving the light, beautifying all the mansions. Yes, doing it all the time. But of course, I think the reason why those sort of images are possible is because, of course, the potentialities of somebody who is alive with love are almost infinite. I mean, let's say anybody who has an experience of loving anybody else is very well aware that the first thing, one of the first things you experience about them as an impression is their enormous potentiality, which is undeveloped. There's no limit to it. I suppose this is what we're going to have to say somewhere or other. We're going to have to find some fairly correct way of saying that, if you like, the soul's capacity,


13th century theologians will all say it's capex dei, capable of God. This means, if you like, the soul is capable of transcending itself. But I don't think we should just, again, I don't think we should just look at this in terms of straightforward spiritual things, because, at least in the conventional sense of the word spiritual, because it does also affect the way people behave in their ordinary everyday living. I mean, let's say life is more or less beautiful according to the way people live and express themselves, isn't it? The way they do things. It's very, very interesting to see St. Teresa, St. Bernard, St. Dominic and one or two other people, we happen to know they were extremely concerned with being clean, physically clean.


So that the sense of physical beauty is very often strongly associated with these people who have a very strong spiritual sense. They're not, on the whole, people who talk too much about the spiritual life tend sometimes to be rather careless about those things, which makes one worry whether they really understand the spiritual life at all. Because, if you like, one of the ways in which one contributes to the beauty of the soul is by doing the ordinary things as beautifully as you can. Isn't it? Yes? When Fr. Loren was talking about what St. Teresa had to say, I was thinking that another way of saying that, instead of using the word soul, I was just thinking the possibility that that's a cultural term, a term of her place and her time,


that you could just as well use the word self or person. Or, like St. Bernard says in his Fourth Degree of Love, is to the love of yourself. We love ourself for the sake of God. And that's kind of what you're saying. It is. This is exactly, in other words, it's a feeling of enormous responsibility towards the one who loves you. This is what it is. Yes, thank you. Because when you talk about soul, to me, it becomes kind of something... I know, I feel the same. It's different from my life. Yes, exactly. It's sort of a thing that's just there. Yes. She didn't exclude the body. Oh no, by no means. No, of course she was... Remember, I think I should like to sit... I should like to...


to sit beside you. I should like, Loretta, to sit beside your interior mansions, and comment on the portrait of the man to whom she said, you know, you've made me rather blear-eyed. So she wasn't without awareness of the enormous importance of the physical. God, she didn't make me so ugly and blear-eyed. Exactly. And they said it was a very flattering portrait of her. More than likely, too. Yes. They said it was a very flattering portrait of her. And she didn't like it. No, she made me very ugly and blear-eyed. Yes, yes. So, she was on Mark's side, I think, you see. I think we've got somebody on our side. Spanish. Yeah, so Spanish.


Yes. Yes. Things went wrong in his rituality, and he started to bring it down to his body. Yes, I think so. I think this is really the reason why I brought this forward, because it does seem to me, if you like, that if we are to recover our sense of the convictions of undivided Christianity, we must return, not only for our own sakes, because otherwise we'd go away, but also for the sake of the world in which we live, where, in some ways, people are going to have to start to climb this particular sort of ladder, if you like, of thought. The way that Plato did, I mean, by simply evaluating the beautiful and choosing to have the beautiful, starting with the body. Father, every time you say that,


about beauty and Plato, thinking about how beautiful people are, of course, everyone loves beauty, but everyone's concept of beauty is different, but the shroud of Turin, is that how you say it? I think, I don't know how to tell you this, but that's my favourite picture of our Lord. Yes. That's the most beautiful picture of Him. Yes. It seems like that is really He, and He was not concerned about His look, but we're not concerned about what He looked like. Well, I wouldn't say that a bit. I absolutely wouldn't say that a bit. Why on earth should we think that our Lord was especially indifferent about things like that? Absolutely not. And it's very evident that He did. It's made clear enough in the Gospel that He had some people to whom He felt closer than others. Isn't it? It's made quite clear. But I mean that in Scripture it says


that there was nothing in His looks that made them make us... Oh, you're referring to the prophecy in Isaiah. There's nothing in Him that would make us delight in Him or suffer. I mean, you see the suffering that He's undergoing. I never forget the first time I saw that. I couldn't say that it was really Him. If that really is His portrait, that the only portrait He left behind is one of a disfigured, broken face, with a broken nose and a swollen... Yes. But for us, He did that. That's probably the most beautiful thing because it reveals who He is, what He did for us. Yes, all right. And sometimes, of course, I always think one of the striking things is how when people have a very powerful interior life, of whatever kind it may be, it does actually make their bodies more beautiful.


Even if they have no kind of external signs of this. Somehow the body is transformed by the character of the soul. There's no doubt about that. And especially, I suppose, when one was actually helping people in the work of counseling or therapy, as they get better, as they become more themselves, so their bodies do actually change and they become more pleasant to look at. There's a description in Christopher Armstrong's Biography of the Underhill, the centenary one, where, if not he describing it, but he's quoting a description where she was a very old woman who went into, you probably know it, went into the room where she was confined and that she was just luminous. Yes, yes.


And yet, you know, she was a very old and broken woman. Who is he? Oh, a psychologist. That's what his iconography, I guess, implies to do that, to show that... It does. It gives us, if you like, I suppose, a soul portrait in certain ways. There is a kind of... That's why they're all painted on the gold surfaces, because what they do is to make the people as a herald present to us. This is the conception. And St. John of Damascus, of course, defends it by saying that God is the first maker of images. It's one of the arguments in the defense of the icons. Yes, that God is the first maker of images. And, of course, there's no doubt about it, I suppose,


that the most beautiful thing we ever see is our fellow human beings. I suppose every body goes through every body's physical form, at least, goes through a stage of quite objective physical beauty. And it sometimes, as I say, it continues. It depends extraordinarily on others. It's not describable very easily, but St. Bernard refers to it, and obviously the early social writers were all very acutely aware of this as being something that does affect the body. And so I think it means that, and of course St. Thomas will say, I suppose I'm just going to put this in some way before the end of the week, that we have to love our bodies with a love of charity, because they are, in fact,


and this is one of the reasons why, as you know, in fact, it was not Christian custom to cremate the dead, so that, in fact, because the body is the instrument of the soul, this is why we are able to identify sometimes Christian catacombs, and I look at them, because they were not cremated. So the fact that the Church has now waived the objection to cremation, largely, of course, because it was connected specifically with a certain kind of political and atheistic ideas, it was forbidden until recent times, but the oldest Christian tradition is somehow or other to treat even the bodies of those who have departed with respect,


because they have been instruments. Yes? I'm going to get back to it. I want you to, yes. I think that's very good. It's a question that I've had for a while, and it has to do with the immortality of the soul. Yes. Especially in the resurrection. Yes. And taking a viewpoint that's from the Gospels and the New Testament. Yes. Now, it seems that in the Gospels, and even in St. Paul, that they're really... I don't see how the immortality of the soul enters in. I don't see that that's even in the mind of the writers, especially in the Gospels. And I guess my question comes down to, what's the point of the resurrection


if, in fact, we do have an immortal soul by nature? That's sort of my question. What's the point, then, of the resurrection? And if the resurrection is not the... Of course, maybe we don't know exactly what the resurrection is. But it seems like the resurrection is the resurrection of the person in his totality. It is. And all of what he is meant to be and all of what he is and has been. To think of that as the powerful Christian revelation... Yes. I don't see how the immortality of the soul


enters into that. Well, I think it's... I think, really, what you're objecting to is surely what, in fact, St. Bernard was very careful to assert, that one mustn't forget, if you're going to talk about the souls of the righteous being and God, to quote a text of scripture about this, then you must think that because God has made... I'm just about... I was just in the middle of typing for the day after tomorrow a text concerning the incarnation of our Lord in which a council actually defines that our Lord has given an intellectual soul in the body. Is that this kind of a soul, if you like, the immortal soul is not a sort of


vague kind of smoke screen, but it is that which relates to the body. And this is really why the saints wish what God wishes, the resurrection of the body. And that's to say, if you like, the saints who are present to us through the icon saying, Ah, the war, the moment, are present to us through the nearest thing they can have in a physical form for the moment, if that makes any sense. I mean, it's obviously out of time anyway. And the resurrection has already happened, everything is already over, isn't it, in a certain way. Well, that's all going on. And that's the way we are journeying, we've already arrived, if we're ever going to get there. What did the Jews believe, the Jews?


Well, on the whole, it looks as though, of course the text I quoted comes quite late, doesn't it, in Jewish literature. And on the whole, the Jews really did think of the souls as kind of wandering about, rather like the Greeks also, wandering about in rather shady places. Sheol is a kind of place which is all sort of very ghost-like, all full of cobwebs and whatnot. Certainly not persons, and this is the point that Marcus is really making, that what we mean by a person, what we really mean by immortality is the immortality of a person, not the immortality of a soul. And that's what our faith promises us. Well, see, that's what the resurrection keeps saying. It is. I mean, it's almost like saying that we didn't know about that before the resurrection


and before the teaching of the resurrection. We didn't know about the resurrection. No. Well, we knew of it, and I guess Brother Warren was saying that you can find a development in the Old Testament, in the Jewish heritage. In the Old Testament, and also, of course, there are independent, natural intimations to be found all over the world, aren't there, of the immortality of the souls, even if it only concerns things like freeing the souls from the body, and to find them to the gods, because it's quite a kidding way, all that sort of thing, which is what is concerned with some funeral rites in certain places. But I suppose the more intimately one has known anybody, the more difficult it is, at least for me, to think of them as not being alive. Isn't it? I think it is.


This is one of the things that intimacy always produces, is the feeling of the presence of the other people, even if one is actually in the presence of their corpse. The extraordinary thing about seeing a dead body is that it is dead, so obviously dead. It's extraordinary. I've never forgotten my very first impression of this. On one occasion I was travelling over the Cotswolds in a coach, on a journey somewhere or other, and we were suddenly delayed, and so I went forward and said to the driver, I think there must be an accident, I'm a priest, I'd better go and see what's happened. And when I got to the end of this long queue of cars, there was a car in a great mess and all kinds of bodies strewn all over the place, and I gave an absolution. There was one clear case


where you didn't need to be a doctor at all to know this person was dead. She was already a corpse. I mean, she absolutely was manifestly a corpse. There was nobody there. It wasn't anybody. And there's a difficulty, if you like, the difficulty works both ways, doesn't it? Both with the conception of the immortal soul, and with the absolute kind of shell-like quality of the body when the soul is not the present. And I suppose this is where you begin to get intimation, it must make sense to talk about soul as separate from body. Because when the separation occurs, the absence is not like something changing shape. It's the absence of presence in an extraordinary way. It's hard to know how to describe this, but it is the absence of a presence.


The presence of other people is so vital, isn't it? It's strange how, if you go into a very dark room, and you don't know that anybody else is there, sometimes you know that somebody is there. I don't know whether you have it, but I also have it about furniture. I'm a little bit like a cat, I can often, as you know, furniture also emanates, has various emanations. It's one can perceive, to some extent, if you're conscious and awake about it. But it's much more acute where people are concerned, I think. I think we perhaps vary slightly in our susceptibility to this, our awareness. You get the word. I mean, this is only a suasion. I feel that you are saying something that is of great importance to the way we talk about


the spiritual life, so-called, in our own time. We should recover this sense of the person. You stick more to the whole person. Because this is what is sanctified. All the sacraments touch our bodies in some way or another. Because even a thing like the sacrament of penance, which concerns sometimes interior acts, they're all done in the bodily state. And this is why we also specify them in our confession and then say the general is already. What you said, and I'm thinking of the person, the soul, in that sense, as the whole composite at baptism and throughout life.


The sacramental life is a preparation and unfolding of the paschal mystery of the resurrection event. And before that, there might be some basic ground without which the person wouldn't be able to participate in the paschal event. In other words, what's necessary for the person to be inducted in the rites of initiation to work, so to speak. Perhaps that is what the intervention is somewhat around. In other words... Yes, well this of course is why Augustine has to discuss the question of belief, isn't it? And this is where it starts. And if you like, this is what establishes a dynamic contact with God. Isn't it?


It's when you can't believe. This is where the passage about give me a lover and you will understand comes in. Because it's there. There is the point of contact. And of course it begins in a quasi-physical manner. Which is why baptism of water has to touch you. You have to go beyond it. Even if you're not in a tank. And I suppose nobody can make any sense of the And the alternative of course, the only appealing alternative, which is quite sympathetic in its own sort of way, is the Quaker doctrine of the inner light. There's no kind


of middle way for me. I'm afraid I'm such a very old-fashioned Christian. I can see only there's two extremes really. The non-sacramental kind of reason doesn't seem to be very meaningful to me. Because of this absence of physical contact. So at any rate, I wonder what we've done today. It looks to me as though I've done more or less what I'd hoped to do, which was to get you to see, and which Mark has helped us, I think, to see a bit more strongly, is that in relation to us, the Incarnation is made especially meaningful to us because if you like, whatever our problems about the immortality of the soul,


by by actually becoming incarnate, God himself shows us in fact, and doesn't tell us, which is what I'm only to say, that this sort of potentiality for divine things is possible even for a body in the inner body. The God who is not by his own nature embodied is accessible to us as the document on Revelation says in the Last Council, as a friend. And that's a presence which is ultimately quasi-physical. It's saying quite a lot, isn't it really? Does anybody want to say


anything more? Want to ask anything more about that? Yes? Yes, please. Something else. Come on. Something that we kind of touched on yesterday, Brother Lauren asked the question when we were talking about the will and the intellect. Yes. Could you say something about that? What we were talking about our Lord and I think something to do with the question is it our Lord's will or is... It's a conflict between the Lord's will and the will of the Father. And Gordon, you said something I was just wondering if that's something I always wonder about and it's been kind of a problem with me that... Well, I suppose this is really where I also have a problem if you like about how we can talk


about... say very much about our Lord's human nature because although if you like there you're asking if you like you're asking there about our ordinary psychological processes aren't we? We have to believe these also occurred in our Lord and they must have worked substantially in the same way and that's to say that in order that you may choose something you have to think about it. And this is really why we've had this particular class at all is just to point out the fact that it's not enough to desire in order to reach out to God. You have to be able to choose to want the good that God is in preference to all other goods. And this is a choice that you can only make with the will when there's some degree of reflection about the alternatives. Yes?


I'm getting that you have to understand the question before you understand the answer. I wonder if you can ask the question again. Have you got... Yes, but maybe I haven't understood your question. Well I'm not sure myself because I'm not sure of in my own I guess mind that I'm trying to differentiate or not, or just see. It's always been confusing me, the will. Well, yes, I know. After all, this is one of the ways in which in our present condition we are very mysterious. We are very mysterious to ourselves. It's like these are two different functions aren't they? And that's to say the function by which we reach a decision and determine to carry it out which is an act of will. To leave this room now and never come back again is an act of will. But it follows upon something


which I reflected about. Can't stand this place. Whatever it is, you know. These are those reasons and so on and so I'm going to go. So in fact these two functions of us are quite different things. The one is concerned with where in order to reach a rational decision when we say for instance that we make I've just actually while we've been talking I haven't said this but I've been watching two squirrels chasing each other up and down the bark of the tree there. Now in some way I take it these they are not probably making very many choices. I mean we don't quite know enough about the life of the more complex animals know just whether they do make any choices and they obviously make some kinds of choices but they're nothing like so elaborate as ours.


I mean that's to say when we go out of that door in a few moments we've all of us got an enormous number of different kinds of decisions we can reach and we do this because in fact we can compare a number of different possibilities and this capacity has got nothing whatever to do with the will but it's got to do with the intellect isn't it? That's what our mind does is to understand how things fall together the way the cookie crumbles if you like we understand this we come to some kind of understanding what the potentialities are what the possibilities are and it's on the basis of this understanding that we make a choice now it's true that sometime sometime