(NOTE: This transcription has been automatically generated through an AI program. Consequently, this transcript may not match everything you hear in the podcast episode, and it may contain errors such as spelling, grammar, word choice, etc., due to the limitations of current AI technology.)
Hi everyone and welcome to Season two, episode 2 of Midnight Carmelite. So let’s get started right away here. So, last episode we talked about inconstancy and love and basically to kind of summarize here, we said that we as human persons are in constant in our love, meaning, you know, sometimes we prioritize things right? Sometimes I prioritize things wrong, right? Meaning God is first sometimes in the case where it’s right, God is second to finite things, but when it’s wrong and putting God’s second really is where sin comes in, right?
So furthermore, if you keep putting God 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or whatever, you’re going to end up never growing in love, never growing in the spiritual life and that will leave you exposed. Obviously too, a lot of different sins and things like that, which nobody wants, right? So, The idea here is the first, last episode, episode one, was to kind of say, Okay, we need to develop constancy in our love. We’ve got to put Him first all the time, not just some of the time and kind of reflecting on that.
This episode, Episode two, we’re going to be reflecting on how knowledge and abilities really anything about you. It’s really nothing compared to God. That sounds kind of astonishing. You’re like, well doesn’t God rejoice in giving gifts to us. You know, different people have different gifts and things like that. Yes, but there is simply a means for his greater glory, which we often hear all the time. And that doesn’t really get thought out very well in my opinion, at least metaphysically And that bothers me personally. So I’m going to kind of do that here.
Probably kind of what I see here. That may be helpful for everybody. Okay, so knowledge and abilities are nothing compared to God. Why is that the case? Well, the first easy answer is that we are finite and God’s infinite. And you know, even though we possessing material souls, even though we the soul exists after death of the body dies, is our very being. St. Thomas would say that our act of existence that’s dependent on God, meaning we do not possess that by nature. Okay, so again, do you exist by virtue of yourself?
No, you were called into existence by God. You know when you came into being. So you didn’t give yourself existence. God gave you existence. That’s number one. Number two, existence is not a noun. There’s a tendency today to nominalize everything when we use subjects, especially in the English language. He says the active existence is the act of all acts and the perfection of all perfections. And he’s correct.
So existence is something and that’s a very subtle dangerous mistake. What do I mean by that? Okay, take a look at yourself and I mentioned this last season in St. John of the cross in the essence existence distinction in the first mode of God’s presence. If someone wants to dive a little deeper into content on this. So if you consider yourself for a moment and you say, okay, I exist. I didn’t give myself existence fine. But then you say, well, is what I am the same as the fact that I am.
And the answer is obviously no. The fact that you are is distinct from what you are. And that’s the essence existence distinction. That’s what I’m talking about here, is that we didn’t give ourselves existence. We participate in God’s existence itself. We didn’t give ourselves what we are. We are participations more or less of God’s idea, his type of what he intended us to be. People who are really interested in this problem. God’s simplicity is maintained in what I just said. Uh if you’re very interested in that, you can go check out St. Thomas Aquinas first part of Summa.
I forget which question is though. So you’ll have to go find that for yourself. For now. Anyway, back to the, you know, this notion of knowledge and ability is nothing compared to God and any knowledge you develop for example, let’s say you’re a biologist or your computer scientist or you’re a nurse or your physical therapist or you’re a trucker or you’re a plumber or you’re an electrician, whatever all those things are not God. Obviously why they’re human activities are heart broadly speaking. Right, okay, well, what about philosophy?
Is that God? Well, no, not even close. Right. Because why even the highest area philosophy, metaphysics is studying being qua being. And what that’s a fancy word for is saying reality as reality. So what are the principles of reality as reality itself? Now, what I was saying earlier about talking about the distinction between existence and essence or that something is versus what something is. That would be an example of what I’m talking about with metaphysics. So, ethics would obviously be, you know, human action, which is moral action towards achieving happiness. Right?
That’s a distinction there. But the human actions are obviously contained in metaphysics. Meeting the principles of ethics are the conclusions of metaphysics. Because we base the truth on reality because reality is true, insofar it is known by a knowing agent, a human person. People are going to very quickly say, well, wait a minute Andrew like how is reality true? If reality is just reality, right? And my answer would be because of the fact that a knowing agent unites with that reality right?
Meaning, you know, true sense realism through abstraction. In this case, we’re not talking about union of love as a type of doing here. We’re talking about abstraction. Because I’ve united with that? I can now judge as a knowing agent. I have been having an intellect, I can judge and say this is true. And by virtue of that there is this quality, this attribute, pick whatever word you want is is added to what is already there not in a sense that it wasn’t true in reality before, but it is known as true by the knowing agent.
So, again, this isn’t reality is true per se because God is truth and God created reality. However, a human person can’t see that in reality by virtue of being a knowing agent and having an intellect. Okay, but again, back to my original point is knowing that reality is truth. What was what’s traditionally called a transcendental is is that God absolutely not. Because I just said that the only reason reality has truth is because God is a capital t truth. So, you see the problem here is what we’ll do because of our inconstancy and love because of what I am going to call our ignorance in the spiritual life.
Yes, I mean, if you’re doing it out of love of God, but again, that goes back to love, whether your priority is charity, the governing principle through what you’re doing your work and if we’re honest with ourselves, a lot of the work we do is for ourselves in the end, I mean, it’s like partially God, but it’s partially ourselves, it’s not perfect and that’s what St. John of the Cross is trying to get across here with this notion of ignorance in the spiritual life is growth in the spiritual life requires self knowledge.
And he gives great examples actually, and he talks about, okay, kind of what I’ve been saying, he says, take the beauty of any creatures. Is that anywhere compared to the beauty of God? No. Take the being of creatures. Is that anywhere equal to the being of God? Absolutely not take any grace in creatures. Is that equal to the grace of God? Of course not. I mean, that’s an obvious, take the goodness of creatures, is that equal to the goodness of God? Obviously not because God is goodness itself and creatures or goodness by participation or any wisdom in creatures, is that equal to the wisdom of God?
I mean, I think most people would say no, so that’s where this is going, here’s and you know, you see this, you know, he quotes in the ascent, he quotes Romans 1:22 where people are basically saying, well I’m wise and things, but actually they’re foolish in the ways of God, Same with in 1 Corinthians 3, when we’re, when we’re developing love of God in the spiritual life, right? Trying to grow in the third mode of presence. What’s really happening here is what we used to think was good priority by priority that generated that inconstancy.
Like I mentioned last episode, what we used to think needs to be turned on its head and reorder to God, and because it’s reordered to God, we recognize our ignorance in the spiritual life, we recognize that the way we thought it was isn’t the way it was just like ignorance of any subject. The way I thought, you know, computers worked is not the way they actually worked. You know, just like ignorance in love, right? The way I thought my spouse thought is not the way my spouse actually thinks, we deal with ignorance all the time.
So, I think acknowledging our ignorance in the spiritual life is a big first step to fixing our inconstancy and love next episode is going to be interesting. So I’m going to do. So this is coming up with episode three of the season, I’m going to be dealing with the appetite and I’m going to kind of dive in there and kind of will work through that and see what comes from it. So thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week.
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