Introduction to Theology, Serial No. 01125

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Father of the Son of the Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of those who believe
in you and kindle within them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they
shall be created. Let us pray. May the outpouring of your Holy Spirit, O Lord, cleanse our hearts
and make them fruitful by the inspiring of his dew. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Again, what is man? It was, as I mentioned, you guessed, my intention to present you with
a tangle of theological problems yesterday and we must, I think, begin at last to, as
best we can, to draw some of them out and see what we should make of them. To begin
with, we must, I think, say that the feelings of awe about the mystery of man expressed
in a psalm like Psalm 8, with which we began yesterday's lecture, may perhaps be experienced
by people who do not go on, at least immediately, to pray prayers like those in which Psalm
118 abounds, still the less those deeper searchings of Psalm 138. If we were to use Ken's useful
suggestion about the value of a word like awareness, then I imagine we must say that
as long as we are not so foolish and even presumptuous as to try to judge this in the
concrete, we must distinguish between that kind of awareness, which is like the bring
of faith, and that awareness which in fact opened the depths of our being to the action
of God, which is a grace that leads to grace. The same may and must be said of the pressures
of that innate desire for the good which St. Thomas concedes to St. John of Damascus as
being, at the very least, a confused awareness that there must be some good which could satisfy
us. Because of the extreme delicacy and hiddenness of these psychological processes, I think we
should always hesitate to identify what the older type of theological textbook was perhaps
over-anxious to make us aware might be simply natural. Was the yearning of which we saw
Heru Pachir speaking on Monday natural from the beginning, simply because we happen to
know that he became a convert? Who can be so foolish as to say? Or to try to determine
when what began as natural passed over into being supernatural. Especially when we all
know that precisely as psychological experiences, we can, even after conversion, repeatedly
go through states which feel like conversion, and perhaps indeed are. For there certainly
are, in all of us, layers that need conversion, perhaps until the day we die. In fact it was
to initiate this continuing process that we entered monastic life at all. This is doubtless
why the old monastic writers were so fond of longing for the day when all the ends of
the earth of their bodies would remember themselves and turn to God, in appropriate
allegorical reference to Psalm 22, verse 27. I imagine you have found Augustine's analysis
of the psychological processes of the conversion of love impressive enough. But now with this
allusion to conversion going right down into our bodies, I brought you back to the reason
why I deliberately finished yesterday's lecture with the kind of texts from our nears which
later books and writers, to their shame, I think, find embarrassing. You see, while the
passage I referred you to from Vatican II's document on Revelation goes a long way beyond
what documents of this type have been accustomed to do, in referring to God's approach to
us in Revelation as an invitation to friendship, we might still, I believe, question whether
it goes far enough in explicitating what this might involve.
Athanasius and Hilary speak to us convincingly of the spiritual dimension of these perspectives
and with a noble sense of balance about them, and Fr. Stenodoy gives us a further elaboration
to which we shall also have to return possibly tomorrow.
But Irenaeus alone is brave enough to go the whole way in a Christocentric incarnation
theology of redemption in daring to say that God's real intentions were not made quite
clear until, if I may translate his thought in slightly different language, we are shown
that there's nothing about being human which is incompatible with the union with God. You
see, all the later books will tend to say that man is capax de, capable of receiving
God, but they usually make it sound as though we are, so, only by, as it were, taking the
lid off the box. Now perhaps I'm being a little unfair, but not, I believe, tyranny.
Forgive me that I'm deliberately involving you in thinking through these difficulties
instead of presenting you with a splendid result, which some teachers would think it
their duty to give.
I must now mention one problem which is holding us up nearly as much as the complex problems
surrounding the doctrine of grace. It is, of course, what we are to make of the doctrine
of original sin. For there's no doubt that many of the prayers of the Psalter, and many
of our own inexperiences which make those prayers so real, seem to be connected with
some primal hang-up which is less something we have personally done than something from
which we nevertheless suffer, particularly in and through our bodily condition.
As far as I can see, the only sensible thing to do in this lecture is to clear our minds
by just putting together two little blocks of information which set by side by side what
Scripture itself seems to say about our creation and fall, and God's intention about these,
and then a brief sketch of the way Irenaeus reconciles himself to both of these matters.
I'm not going to pretend that what I shall present here is exhaustive, but it will, I
think, be sufficiently representative to keep us on the right lines.
The Scripture can, as it happens, be dealt with relatively briefly. The story of our
creation in the image of God occurs, of course, in the doublet chapters 1 and 2 of the Book
of Genesis. Chapter 1 is fairly obviously, even without the help of scholars, a quasi-liturgical
poem on the subject of creation in which the making of man in the image and likeness runs
without a shadow from verses 26 to 31. Male and female together are made to the image
and given a directive and cooperative role over the rest of creation, and everything
is regarded by God with an approving eye. It's only in the little folktale form of
chapter 2 that the shadow falls. In this account, the man is made first and given freedom to
use everything in the garden except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
It's true that Adam is not exactly stated at this point to be made in the image of God.
There is something very like it, I suppose, in the breathing into the nostrils of the man
formed from the dust of the earth by God, the breath of life. Eve comes into the picture as
the only suitable complement to man by being formed out of Adam's rib while he sleeps.
It's almost as though he dreamt up, except that it is God who fulfills the dream,
and in many ways this emphasizes human solidarity more strongly than the making of the pair in
chapter 1. And yet in chapter 3, which continues in the same folktale vein, it is the woman who
brings about the fall. This seems to involve two unpleasant results, to say nothing of
the burden of work, namely a sense of shame about the bodily condition and a tendency
to wish to hide from God, live as it were a life on their own. In fact, I suppose both
exterior and interior sin would seem to be involved insofar as the two succumb not only
to eating the forbidden fruit, but to the suggestion that they should be like God, knowing
good and evil. Chapter 2, verse 5. The more commentaries you read on these texts, the more
likely you are to conclude that the overall obscurity as to what the original righteous
man might have meant. I think we must agree with the author in the Sacramentum Biblicum
under original sin that there is no clear Old Testament teaching about the transmission
of original sin as such. Though there are of course texts that refer to sinfulness as innate
in human beings. Later in Genesis, for instance, in connection with the construction of the
Ark, there is a statement in Genesis chapter 8, verse 21, that the imagination of man's
heart is evil from his youth. And later, one which often occurs to me, one which calls Jeremiah
chapter 17, verse 9, the heart is deceitful about all things and desperately corrupt. Who
can understand it? I the Lord search the mind and try the heart to guide every man according
to his ways, according to the fruit of his doing. It was chapter 8, verse 21. This last
phrase from the quotation from Jeremiah, closing perhaps with something positive to
which we shall return in a moment. In a word, the notion of the transmission of original
sin, whatever it may be, is almost peculiar to Paul in the New Testament. And this is
explicitly stated at the Council of Trent. The text normally quoted is Romans chapter 5, verses 5-12. And if doubts have been cast upon this by some modern scholars, including Catholics, at least
verse 19 in this chapter does seem to be conclusive, when it says, For as by one man's disobedience
many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. Equally interesting
and problematic is the question of the doctrine of man as made in God's image. It doesn't
really occur again explicitly in the Old Testament, as far as I can see, until the Books of Wisdom,
unless of course the verse I cited in my lecture in Athanasius the other day refers
to both imagehood and fall. God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices. Which
is Ecclesiastes 7. Not Ecclesiasticus, if by a fumbling little I misled you, any of
you are about this. So Ecclesiastes would perhaps be about 130 BC, as judged by the
Qumran finds. Still later are both the Books of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus or Sirach. First
in Wisdom chapter 2, verse 23 we read, For God created man for incorruption and made
him in the image of his own eternity. And there is Sirach chapter 17, verses 2 and 3.
He gave to man a few days, a limited time, but granted them authority over the things
upon earth. He endowed them with strength like his own and made them in his own image.
Now naturally, New Testament references to the doctrine of the image in man are normally
closely linked with our Lord himself as the image. This is true when looked at in the
context in which it occurs, even of 1 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 7. For a man ought not to
cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.
The preceding verse 3, having said that the head of every man is Christ. So even there
the image is referred back to Christ. Complimentary to that is of course chapter 15, verse 49.
Just as we are born the image of the man of dust, we shall also be the image of the man
of heaven. A phrase which incidentally suggests to me at any rate that it looks back to man
in his fallen condition as due to return to dust, but for the redemptive work of the
second Adam.
Altogether more splendid and important for the future of spiritual doctrine is 2 Corinthians
3, verse 18. And we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed
into his likeness from one degree of glory to another. This certainly seems to be talking
of a restoration of the image within us, as Colossians 3, verses 9 and 10 very explicitly
is, seeing that you have put off the old nature, the old man in the old translations,
with its practices and put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after
the image of its creator.
Just before we turn from this sketch of the scriptural evidence, I think we should note
that both the Old Testament and Paul sometimes look at another aspect of the human situation
before God, which is, I believe, much closer to the standpoint of Irenaeus. Namely, it tells
not so much what God has permitted or done, as what he fundamentally intends. You will
for instance start to remember the lovely scene in the final chapter of the book of Genesis
where Joseph, naturally later treated as a type of our Lord, is reconciled with his brothers.
And he says in chapter 50, verse 20, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant
it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today. So
do not fear.
Likewise, St. Paul, in the very same chapter 5 of the first letter to the Thessalonians,
where he is told us to keep awake and be sober, also says in verse 9, For God has not destined
us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so
that whether we wake or sleep, we might live with him.
Now this, unless I utterly misunderstand, is essentially the point of view of the theology
of Aeneas.
In this is typical of what has gone on being the attitude of the Christians of the East.
As one very sensible sentence in Karl Rohrer's article on Original Sin in the Concise Sacramentum
Mundi says, The Greek Fathers, with their incarnational theory of redemption, and in
their struggle against the pessimism and determinism of Gnosticism and Manichaeism, were not very
interested in the doctrine of Original Sin, though it is not absent.
That you will find on page 1149 of Sacramentum Mundi.
No wonder they are so congenial to us nowadays, when very similar factors are once again so
alive among our contemporaries.
I have, for instance, been told that there is a lady on French television who gives
horoscopes whose programs claim far and away the greatest view or attention of all programs,
and naturally popular science reports in magazines and journals do nothing to diminish the sense
of the world being ruled by a fatal determinism instead of the divine providence implicit
in the view of Joseph about the way his brothers had treated him.
I think that this does give these early Greek writers such a contemporary fear of force
that they are strongly denying so fatalistic a view of life as is apparently very widespread
Now in sidestepping, but not denying, the doctrine of Original Sin, the entire trust
of the theological interest of Irenaeus is in God's original intentions for human beings.
For as he is only worthy of a man of faith, he is unable to believe that God has quite
given these things up.
And this, I need hardly say, is also really the view of St. Paul, though it is not perhaps
the first thing that occurs to him to bring out.
And so, let me try, for most of the rest of this time, to demonstrate my contention about
Irenaeus in his own words, as economic as I can.
We have already seen at the end of our last lecture that, exactly as though he were anticipating
some possible reaction to later writers, with their doctrine of spiritual renewal and
or liberation, Irenaeus seems to be saying, show me first that this is possible for this
kind of a being that I know myself to be.
You must bring the body into the picture.
And of course, by the Incarnation, our Lord has done it.
Now we come to that heap of why does God questions, with which we often get invaded, either from
without or within.
It was, of course, remiss and neglectful of me not to bring to your attention how the opening
chapters of Genesis, unlike most of the rest of the Old Testament, with some notable exceptions
in prophetic vision, particularly 2nd Isaiah, are concerned with humankind as a whole, and
not simply with the Jews.
Irenaeus, as a Christian, is also inevitably concerned with the universal.
I suppose we must say that almost all the other questions that might be asked about
the special strangeness of the human situation are answered by Irenaeus by saying that God
saw in advance what he intended to do about them.
Not only does God permit the Fall, because he intends to bring about the Redemption,
but he even arranges that the two events should, as it were, be synchronised in time.
Thus we read in Against the Heresies, Book 5, 23, 2,
And so, on the very day they ate the fruit, they died, and became debtors to death.
For, according to the circle of days, if anyone should wish to know on exactly which day of
the week Adam died, he will find it was the one chosen by the Lord.
For in bringing to a head in himself everything about human beings, from the beginning to
the end, he also did this with regard to his death.
And so it is clear that our Lord underwent his death in obedience to the Father on the
very day on which Adam died in disobedience to God.
For on the day on which he died he had also eaten the fruit, since God had said,
On the day you eat of it you shall die.
And so, resuming that day in himself, our Lord came to his passion on the day before
the Sabbath, which is the sixth day of creation on which man was made, thus granting him a
second creation through death, which is creation out of death.
This is our Lord's own words, granting him a second creation through death, which is creation
out of death.
You'll see how the entire perspective of this kind of theology is dominated by the sense
of the happy thought, which is still celebrated by the deacon as he dedicates the Easter candle.
And I may also be permitted to mention in parenthesis that however unpassionate and
fashionable it may nowadays seem in some quarters, and probably would have seemed so of St Thomas,
this is the only kind of theological thinking which made possible the definition of the
dogma of the immaculate conception, as both the dogmatic decree and the collect of the day
make clear.
Our Lady is said to be among the redeemed through the foreseen merits of her son.
When we've said something like this, I do not think this is the moment to dismiss the
is the conviction that an element in God's purposes for man was educative, education,
a permanently acceptable notion in connection with sin and its consequences in all their forms.
To get this clear, we have to go back to passages like this from book three, against the heretics,
twenty, paragraph two.
This then was the purpose of God's magnanimity, by man's going through every situation and
the experience of death, and from that coming to the resurrection of the dead, and learning
by experience, a very favorite word by the Cistercian writers, of that from which he
had been freed, he might ever after be grateful to the Lord, and might love him the more for
having received from him the gift of incorruption, since one to whom more is forgiven loves more.
Thus too he would know he was mortal and weak, and taught by all this might think of God
in a way that is appropriate to him.
And then comes one side of the most frequently quoted phrases of all from Agnus,
the glory of man is God, and the recipient of all his wisdom and power is man.
In so far as the doctor is put to the test in those who are sick, so God too is made
manifest in human beings.
This is why Paul also said, in Romans 11, 32 of course,
For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.
And the paragraph ends with this very gentle touch.
The word of God dwelt among men, and came, the Son of Man, to accustom men to be aware of God,
and accustom God to dwell among men, according to the wish of the Father.
This may sound very anthropomorphic, let's say following a picture of a human thing,
but there is something about it which is very serious,
and does enable ironies to assert in the same book 3, especially paragraph 23,
that this is something which affects everyone.
Thus book 3, 23, 3,
This is why in the beginning of the transgression of Adam, the scripture said,
God did not curse Adam, but the earth at which he worked.
In spite of all this, as 22, 3 has already said,
Luke's way of tracing the genealogy of our Lord is to link the end to the beginning,
so that our Lord would recapitulate all nations and generations,
and so make the entire story sensible.
For the final sentence of the paragraph says,
Since he who would save already existed,
it was necessary that one to be saved should come to be,
that the presence of one who saves might not be pointless.
In this paragraph we also get the comparison between the first and second Eve.
I may say, of course, that right up until the Council,
all kinds of documents, and especially paper letters,
went on quoting convenient little chunks out of ironies,
without looking at the general perspective of the whole thing, I think, very often.
Thus, if you like, the destiny commands the beginning of the journey.
That is, book 5, 6, 1 says,
God will be glorified in his creature when he has made it conformable to and like his Son.
And in book 4, 20, paragraph 7,
we get the complement to the idea of God being the glory of man.
Here I am using the translation I made for Asking the Fathers.
This is why the word became the dispense of the grace of the Father for the prophet of men,
for whom he performed such redemptive work,
displaying God to men and man to God.
He preserved the invisibility of the Father,
that man should never come to despise God,
might always have some goal towards which to move.
You remember that Father Standoy has got this very distinct mind
in talking about Christ displaying himself as Son.
At the same time, he made God visible to men by many acts of mediation,
lest man should be so utterly deprived of God that he should even cease to be.
For the glory of God is a living man,
and the life of man is the vision of God.
If then the manifestation of God by creation gives life to all who live on earth,
how much more does the revelation of the Father by the word give life to those who seek God?
I cannot conclude this sketch of the vision of Irenaeus without another passage I quoted in Asking the Fathers,
since it is the one which perhaps most directly suggests how the image is to be restored in us.
It comes from 4.39.2, against the Ossetians.
How shall you be God, who have not yet been a man?
Or how shall you be perfect, when you have scarcely been created?
How shall you be immortal, when in your human nature you have not obeyed your Creator?
For it is necessary in the first place to keep your position as a man,
and only then to receive a share in the glory of God.
For it is not you who makes God, but God who makes you.
If then you are God's workmanship, await the hand of your maker,
which does everything at its proper time, opportunely, however, in relation to you who are being made.
Offer him a supple and docile heart, and keep the form which the artist has given you,
having in yourself the water which comes from him,
and for want of which, in hardening yourself, you would resist the imprint of his fingers.
I must say that looking at this passage again now, with its wonderfully confident assertion that God is still at work on man,
I am almost struck by the challenge it offers for us to find the sound Christian conception of man.
Not too dazzled by our call to glory, but impressed in the right way by our own dignity.
A word on that from the Council, tomorrow perhaps.
Just one final word on man's sin situation as both an obstacle and a call to humility.
It seems to me that we perhaps say enough about the doctrine of individual sin,
if we serve it what my own professor of theology, Father Victor Wyatt, used to say,
that it is the sin situation from which we suffer, the sin situation in which we find ourselves,
as opposed to the situation in which we place ourselves by personal sin.
For I think this is perhaps just the sort of consideration that persuades our ears to say that God does not curse the human race,
in the person of Adam, but in the soil he must cultivate, and out of which he is made.
I still very much like the way this is expressed by a fine orthodox theologian, who has only just died, it seems.
He writes in his book, which is called The American Tradition, in Red, For the Life of the World,
it is not accidental that the biblical story of the fall is centred on food.
Man ate the forbidden fruit.
The fruit of that one tree, whatever else may signify, was unlike every other fruit in the garden.
It was not offered as a gift to man, not given, not blessed by God.
It was food whose eating was condemned to communing with its life alone, and not with God.
It is the image of the world loved for itself, and eating it is the image of life as understood as an end in itself.
Man has loved the world, but as an end in itself, and not as transparent to God.
The world is a fallen world, because it has fallen away from the awareness that God is all in all.
The accumulation of this disregard for God is the original sin that blights the world.
It is page 16 in the paperback edition of For the Life of the World.
We need, perhaps, as our nearest thought, to experience this, and to recognise, as Athanasius and others since him believed,
that we shall always drift into unlikeness, unless God helps us to be ourselves again.
I hope I haven't gone too fast with that. Is there anybody who wants to get something again that they didn't quite get?
It seems to me very reasonable to present Ironies in this way, where it can be made immensely complicated, of course,
but it is really, I think, quite important to see these two aspects of Ironies' perspective.
First of all, the one that somehow the way to see the human story, and the story of redemption,
is to see it from the centre of Christ, so that God permits what happens because of what is going to happen, what he's going to do about it.
And then also, this other aspect, the part of the doing, is an education, it's an actual formation by God.
And so, in a certain way, I suppose one could say that the cursing of the earth,
which to some extent, of course, includes what the dust we're made of ourselves,
is a very different thing from cursing the man.
Because this means that we have a task to do, which may be difficult, but it's a task through which we learn,
both about ourselves and about God.
Because it's a happy task, which is going to lead to a happy conclusion.
Father, what was the second part of the Ironies' quote, it's a famous one,
that begins, the glory of God as a living man, and then something about the vision of God.
Yes, that was the one I took from, that was the one I used in Asking of Fathers.
It's in page 23 of Asking of Fathers.
My translation of it, and it is book 4, 20, paragraph 7.
And the second one, about the education process,
how shall you be God if you've not yet become a man,
is again something very, very real kind of thing to say to somebody, I think.
In one way, of course, so many spiritual books since about the 15th century,
have tended to, you know, shoot you up into heaven almost, before you have time to know where you are.
And this is, as I said, book 4, 39, 2, and that's Asking of Fathers, page 25.
God with his fingers on us.
What's the second half of the following?
Oh, the distinction between the two, yes.
Yes, well, what he always used to say was that,
original sin is the sin from which we suffer.
In which we find ourselves.
And the one we do is, of course, the one in which we place ourselves.
That's what personal sin is.
That's a very interesting, I've been going through for tomorrow,
and I'm going to present systematically what is the dogmatic,
what are the dogmatic statements that we're bound to in this subject.
There are still left a good many obscurities,
and one of the things I haven't mentioned, but might mention,
is, for instance, a very, very long, and I thought very instructive,
article by Father Ron on the meaning of concupiscence in the Council of Tenth's decision.
We'll talk about that probably tomorrow.
Let's take a break for a bit, and then we'll come back and discuss whatever seems to concern us.
As we come forward.
I think you can see that here you've got a very special kind of theological perspective,
which does seem to be very much like the perspective of the New Testament.
Which I suppose is why the Gospels, you see, it suddenly occurs to me,
because one of the clear things which is a parallel to this way of thinking,
is our Lord's answer to those who ask why the man who was born mine should be born thine.
Is it anybody's sin?
And our Lord says, no it isn't.
It is so that the works of God may manifest in him.
And this is exactly our nearest point of view about the whole human situation.
Could you say that just once again, please?
You'll remember that when our Lord is about to heal the man born blind,
people ask, did this man sin or did his parents?
And our Lord says, it isn't either.
But it is so that the works of God may manifest in him.
In other words, the answer comes before the question.
Shall we see what I mean?
And the situation exists because of what is going to be made out of it.
And I suppose one could also say that even in ordinary processes of therapy,
what one is generally trying to help somebody about,
is to see in what way their difficulties are an asset.
Whatever they happen to be.
Because there's nothing so terrible, there's something positive about it,
when you look at it the right way round.
When you see where you're going to get with it.
Let's take a break.
This is again one of those grey afternoons.
It looks as though the sun was going to come through,
be bright, but it hasn't done it.
Because virtue seems to require us to do this particular thing,
even if it results in our death.
I mean, for instance, just to give an example of the sort of thing
that could occur in the life of a priest,
is that I might be asked, suddenly, to hear it go.
In fact, this did occur somewhere where I was.
Yes, not so long ago.
Yes, it occurred in Santa Fe.
In fact, that a priest who was very rarely on duty,
was suddenly called to an unknown person,
and was in fact shocked when he arrived.
And it wasn't a personal vendetta,
it was just the general dislike of the priest in general.
I think this was just getting hold of one of them.
So it's a rather indefinite sort of thing.
But if you like, there you've got something where
a special situation, if you like, of thinking has been done in advance.
I tell you what happened, when I was ordained,
I promised Adol that I would not refuse to go and hear a confession,
even if it was extremely inconvenient.
And it's fascinating how seriously he's taken me about that.
It happens almost everywhere I go,
that somewhere, at some moment,
maybe even in the middle of the night,
somebody will come and ask for this.
Or generally, I'm very, very tired,
can't stand another thing, you know.
Then one has to do it.
Now perhaps, if you might, this is the kind of situation
where, were there not a special thing involved,
one might say the more prudent thing to do
would be to do the sensible thing.
Say, I'm sorry, I can't do this now.
But whether the thing is postponed,
and there can be all kinds of reasons,
there might be a friend who had to be rescued,
or something like this.
This sort of situation can arise for anybody
where you haven't very much choice,
though you have some choice,
you can always refuse to follow what you know.
In fact, do remember,
we just have to put up what's the crucial,
if you like, the thing,
the connection between intellect and will become crucial
in the case of quantum science, definitely.
See, this is an inviolable thing,
because it's what tells me what to do
when this is the work of knowledge.
And, you see, that's why your conscience
is different from mine.
It's because what we both know
about any given thing is different.
And you can only act with what you know.
That's why, to some extent,
because if we've got to do something together,
we can only decide what it would be right for us to do
if we can tell each other what we know.
Which is what the other one ought to know,
in order to decide to do the thing,
you see what I mean?
But this is, if you like,
does this explain what you're puzzled about?
That's it, if you like,
this is the thinking thing.
It's the intellect working.
And when you bring that together with the will,
then you are ready to act.
Or not to act, as the case may be.
I think it's often quite important to point out
that not to act is also an act of conscience,
sometimes, isn't it?
It's always a choice.
I often used to have to say to my students,
do remember, if you've decided
you ought to lie down now,
just as we ought to stop in just a moment or two,
because we're all out of time,
that'll be virtuous.
But if you find yourself lying,
then you ought to ask yourself
why you got there.
Because the fully human thing
is to act in the light of what you know.
And the nearer you get to not doing things like that,
the more you behave like the squirrel on the tree.
The less you're fully human.
We ought to try to do most things as humanly as we can.
This is the way the virtue begins.
All right, boy, with me?
Anybody got a puzzle about that?
I hadn't meant to talk about this,
but does that give you enough light?
The end of each.
What's the end of the intellect?
The proper end?
And the proper end of the will?
They don't have the same end?
The will always seeks the good, doesn't it?
The will is always seeking the good.
The mind is probably proper, aren't you?
There it is.
This is really why, you see,
it does matter.
That's why, in fact,
in order to make an active conscience
about certain things,
there are some things you have to know.
This is why, for instance,
you can only
a serious sin
if you know what you're doing.
So it comes down to
the will
depends on knowledge.
It does depend on knowledge,
and that's, of course,
if you choose to act,
although you know the truth,
you choose to act
on the truth,
then obviously this act
will be not good,
but evil, won't it?
It'll be a good act
if it follows on
the will,
the truth informing the will.
Now, if,
as I say,
I put truth in backwards
and decide
I wish to know what I know,
if I take the false
and choose that as my good,
then this will be evil down here.
This will be either good or evil
according to which combination I've made.
You call this whole dynamism,
this whole process,
the heart or the mind,
are they synonymous
when they refer to the heart
or the mind?
Well, I suppose, if you like,
the Jewish conception of the
thing that thinks is the heart,
as you know,
the heart thinks.
In other words,
when our Lord says
out of the heart comes
evil thoughts and so on,
these are spontaneous deliverances,
unreflected, aren't they?
This is why, really,
I suppose,
you can say that
in some cases
you may have to do
quite a lot of thinking
before you can make an act of conscience.
Unless you've been,
unless you're going to do an act
which comes along the line
of connaturality,
where nothing very complex is involved.
As I can remember being called
one convenient,
I'm not here to confession,
but the businessman
wanted to know
what I thought about
some kind of business proposition
which was a lot like
what we were hearing about at lunch,
where in fact,
in order to help him
to make up his mind
what he had to do,
I had to know
what the circumstances were,
what he had to decide about.
He said, you know,
in a shortened way,
as a businessman gets used to
forgetting certain things,
though I inevitably
remember certain things
because they're necessary
for helping other people.
Here, in other words,
he had decided he couldn't
in fact just make up,
make this decision by himself
because he really wanted
to ventilate this area
which is generally
the most difficult thing.
The earlier you get
simply to act in,
out of,
let's put it over here,
desire may be
even just simply physical.
Desire arises
because one of the things
we're going to have to mention
presently when we're talking
about some of the effects
of original sin
in our bodies,
in our sensibilities,
we can't make a choice about
in the fact that they
actually occur.
The moment of choice comes
when you can reflect
what you know and choose.
So the conscious then is part
of the intellect?
No, it's a combination
of the two.
It's when I'm reflected
on the world.
It ought always to be informed.
That's when our conscience
ought to be informed
and sometimes that's why
we sometimes need to ask advice
because we may not be able
to get clear enough,
we may feel we're not clear enough
about what we ought to do.
Obviously I'm going to have
to analyse the disease
a bit more thoroughly
with you later on
in the custody of the heart
to watch what you let in,
isn't it?
To guard the heart
so that you don't have
improper thoughts
or know yourself.
Oh yes, this is true
but then you see,
this is really why
the mind has to develop
its appetite for truth,
doesn't it?
Because in fact,
this is why the desert
against illusions
is because they tell you
what is false.
And if you choose
what is false,
then you will be doing
things that are evil in the end.
And then the person
becomes different.
So that on the whole,
the virtuous man
is going to have
to make good money
in the end all the time,
isn't he?
I think most of us
have to make good money
out of a conscience
in the course of a desert.
Mostly by quite small things
but of course the little ones
prepare for making the big ones.
It's not really every day
we have to make a vital decision.
And nearly all the big
lifetime decisions
we often need to consult
we need to ventilate
so that we can reach
a decision about what is right to do.
Is that enough, Ken,
at least to answer your question for the moment?
I know it doesn't give you
the full mechanism.
And Peter, surely you can see
that this is in other words
something that is not just in mind.
Of course,
as I say,
the possibility of choosing
not to do what
the conscience tells you,
to act without the mind
is going to lead you into
what is evil.
And of course,
if you habitually do this,
this will get weaker.
I still don't see it though.
Let me go a little bit further then.
What is it you don't see?
Now, what is consciousness?
Is it distinct from the will
and from the intellect?
Or is it a combination of both?
It is precisely that
which results from
the will being informed
by what the intellect knows.
So consciousness is a decision already
that you make?
No, it isn't a decision.
It is the thing which ought
to dictate the decision.
The will is going to act upon
in the light of the conscience.
Or else it's either going to do that
or it's going to bypass it.
So it's what tells you
what's the proper thing to do.
But you see,
one ought not to think of it
just simply as though it were
rather like a picture on a screen
being thrown up.
I mean, there are some things
about which you have
an immediate deliverance,
It reminds me suddenly
of a small child
who had to come to confession
to be in a foreign language
because since she was
in all the strange circumstances
it doesn't matter what they were.
She came to me one day
and said in her confession,
I've stolen.
I said, what have you stolen?
She said, a carrot.
Then I realised
that actually she came from
boarding school and
she'd obviously taken the carrot
and it was against the rules
of the table that you just
didn't take the carrot.
And so I had to,
without weakening her conscience,
I had to put her at peace
about this,
if you like,
because it's possible
to make people too worried
about certain kinds of things.
She really wasn't actually stealing.
In fact I can very well remember
one of my first great conflicts
of conscience was about something,
another thing I felt most guilty
was something that was just
against the rules
and wasn't a sin.
I told a lot of fibs
but I didn't worry about a bit.
Those were against the truth
and one shouldn't do that.
But I worried much more
because the other thing
was that this particular
rather stiff little school
was worried that she'd get
her knuckles wrapped
if she was caught at it
taking a carrot she hadn't been given.
So if you like,
to use a tense word,
this is the awareness that comes
when what you know
is brought to bear
by the act,
the commandment
which comes from the will.
So when the act is virtuous
it will be dictated
by the function
of this thing
which is the combination
of an action
with the knowledge you have.
it's a refusal to look
at the knowledge you have
and have another glass of beer
although it'll make me drunk.
All right?
All right, we'll come back to it
at some point anyway.
We'll have to, perhaps not
if not in this session
but at some point.