(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.)
So we are, especially today bound to eternal law. We participate in eternal law through possessing natural law in our very person. We see natural law and thereby eternal law and how we are inclined to certain activities and ends that are proper to us, such as preserving life since life is good. And I want to pause for a second to comment on this a little bit. So you have the person who possesses natural law, and we can’t touch the natural law, but we know the person has it by the operation of a person, by your activities, which you do. And then you look at other human persons and see these activities and their ends. And then we can use our reason to see that within the human person is such a thing as natural law. Let’s continue. The imprint of eternal law in man manifests, not only in political laws, but in laws that we reason about from what God has spoken through the prophets.
And most importantly, through his son, Jesus Christ. Here, that’s referring to theology. Our practical intellect, that which relates to practical matters, possesses a habit called synderesis, which is the origin of doing good and avoiding evil. So I think the word origin here to kind of clarify a bit what I mean by the word origin is it’s the, the starting point from which so it’s not that the synderesis of a person is it’s through which the person acts the habit is something you have. It’s what acts, and it’s a part of the person. So it’s not, you know, there’s the person and there’s this habit latched on. It’s a part of that person. They have it. And that is the origin of doing good. Synderesis follows natural law, which is the imprint of eternal on the human person, prudence as an intellectual virtue is right reasoning about things to be done.
That’s a very famous definition given by St. Thomas actually. And while prudence is an intellectual virtue, it has likeness to moral virtues due to having its object things to be done. So again, prudence can be kind of confusing. It’s an intellectual virtue because it’s starts in reason, right? Your reasoning about what is to be done. So you’re both thinking it through and actually laying out the means to the end of achieving that and because you’re laying out the things that the means and ends to achieve whatever your end may be. It involves dealing with practical matters. So therefore both well it’s intellectual, but it also has a likeness to the moral virtues. Such as, you know, for example, courage, which is about not having fear standing up and going out towards something that needs to be faced. St. Joseph possessed, prudence maximally, and his habit of synderesis was also attuned to natural law.
That is conscience. So I bring in conscience here because conscious today is often confused. You’ll you’ll have people who will say, well, my conscience tells me to do some evil act, which is intrinsically evil. Like something that no one would contest, because we can all look at that and say, well, that’s a really bad thing. So you have a warped conscience, or you have a, you know, whatever adjective you want to use to describe it. The key that’s happening there is that the word conscience in that sense it’s equivocal to the actual real meaning, the real meaning here. And I say this as his conscience, Saint Joseph, I mean, it was not simply what he wanted to do based on how he felt, but it said what he needed to do to fulfill God’s will in this moment. So conscience, we say the voice of conscience is speaking to me well, it’s pushing you towards what you ought to do.
It’s not saying it’s you taking in and the term of your decision is your conscience. It’s the conscience is pushing you to go towards some end and you follow along with it, you know? So you see what I’m saying? So it’s not like you possess conscience to control it as if it’s some sort of end point, it’s something pushing you towards what you have to do. A good analogy here would be this: John Locke in his theory of knowledge, thinks ideas are the terminus of knowing. So you get like stimulated in your senses, you get a little tingle and then ideas form in your mind. And then you have an idea in your mind. And that’s the end of knowing something, that’s the idea. Whereas in reality, everyone would think about this. We have ideas about things all the time that aren’t, that don’t correspond to what the reality is.
You may have the idea that someone’s in love with you, but then when you go talk to them about it, they say, you got the wrong idea. So the reality of things is where knowledge terminates, understanding something. In reality, you are relating to that thing in reality. So conscience can’t be then something that just merely something that forms into some sort of like personal relativism, because then it’s not conscience. It’s not with-knowledge. It’s not, there’s no oughtness to it. It just devolves into some sort of subjectivism. And then there’s no measure about what’s good or bad. The person becomes the measure. And if, and then if everyone’s their own measure, then we all can’t comment on what’s good or bad. And you can obviously see where this goes. You have no, you have no families. You have no relationships. You can’t even agree with yourself half the time.
And then you have no society. And I know I didn’t do those in the hierarchical order, but anyway, I’ll continue here. His conscience does not speak for how he felt, but what God wanted. We see St. Joseph’s prudence, synderesis and conscience in action. And the presentation of our Lord, which is described in the gospel of Luke. So here’s the Greek here that I translated a couple comments here. You’ll notice that it says according to the law of Moses, these were days, the days of their purification were required. So, and then they meaning Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it had been written, the law of the Lord. And then finally you have that, the law requires a sacrifice. St. Joseph set, everything up, knew what he needed to do to get this done. And, but more importantly, he understood that he needed to have Jesus go through these things.
So Jesus, think about this, Jesus, couldn’t tell him, Hey, you need to go and present me. In fact, he doesn’t even mention that an angel appeared or anything. Joseph just did it. So he understood that even though Jesus was the son of God, he knew that this child needed to go through what the law prescribed for a newborn male in this case. That shows you he’s prudent. He was able to avoid evil meaning in, you know, both morally, obviously, but also a deprivation. So depriving Jesus of what was due to him as both man, and God, and then also conscience. It was, he knew that he was getting pushed to this and he did it. So there’s that pushing instead of, you know, cause he, cause he could have sat there and said, well, you know, he has God, so why does he need to go through all this?
Cause this is, you know, purification, he’s God, he’s already the most pure thing. You know, Joseph didn’t do that. He, he went right through and did what he was supposed to do here. So anyways, so St. Joseph followed the law of Moses of God in God, as well as what was spoken in the law of the Lord. So there’s a threefold division here: the law of Moses, the law of the Lord and that which is spoken in the law, it’s the law of Moses obviously is Moses prescribed something. The law of the Lord is what God has said and that which is spoken in the law. So how to go about fulfilling that, you know, sort of, you know, prescription about, you know, in this case two, two turtle doves or two young pigeons, or excuse me, a pair of turtle doves. And so the point here is that again, he knew every step in how to dot his I’s cross his T’s to what he ought to do.
Yeah, you must remember that Jesus was the name of the human nature united with the Divine Nature under the Person of the Word, the Word did not possess the name Jesus until the Word united to the human nature, given by Mary with his divine nature, therefore Jesus’s nature and the fact that he was of humanity in everything except sin, thanks to Mary’s Immaculate Conception made it necessary that he followed the law he set down as God. God cannot contradict himself since he is, therefore Jesus could not, not follow what the Lord, i.e. Himself laid down as law. So here, I’m explaining what I explained earlier, which is Joseph knew that God can’t contradict himself. Jesus needs to go through what God prescribes since Jesus is both God and man. Jesus is not exempt because he’s God. If he, he feels exempt from himself that he’s not God, there’s a contradiction there.
So that helps, you know, make this passage more clear on, you know, a lot of people will say, well, you know, he’s God, why does he have to go through all these things, you know, for purification because he is God, that’s the reason that’s, it’s funny. Their question contains the reason for this. Furthermore St. Joseph, knowing that Jesus was God knew he needed to follow God’s law for Jesus and made sure he went through the proper sacrifices and rituals according to the law of God. As I stated earlier, we are all called to follow God’s law down to how he ordained certain forms of worship, such as the way the liturgy has done up to loving him through the indwelling of him through baptism and through the immensity and sustaining our existence. May we all live prudent and lawful lives like Saint Joseph, the righteous man. I think that’s a good way to end this video.
Basically Saint Joseph, he is called the righteous man δίκαιος in Greek. He, as you can see here, you know, it’s kind of uneventful to the modern world. You know, he’s not, you know, it’s not like Rambo or something, I guess, but the point is is that he’s here doing what needs to be done and he’s doing it. You know, it’s funny, he’s almost doing it so well, we don’t even see that he’s doing it well because we have to like get in here and be like, wait minute, he did this, he did this. And kind of like, he’s so hidden. And so right on point that it’s hard to see. So that’s another thing I’ve noticed about St. Joseph that may be helpful for you is you got to really pay attention because he, everything with him is just right. So here’s, that’s our scripture reflection. We’ll talk to you soon.
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