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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Benedicta sit Sancta Trinitas

Augustine provides much for meditation today. This from the Book XIII, Chapter XI of the Confessions:

Who among us understands the almighty Trinity? Yet who among us does not speak of it, if it indeed be the Trinity he speaks of? Rare is the soul that knows whereof it speaks, whatsoever it says concerning the Trinity. They contend and they quarrel, but without peace no man sees that vision. I would that men would reflect upon these three certain things within themselves. Far different are these three from the Trinity, but I indicate where it is men may consider them, weigh them, and perceive how far different they are.

I speak of these three: to be, to know, and to will. For I am, I know, and I will: I am a knowing and a willing being, and I know that I am and that I will, and I will to be and to know. Therefore, in these three, let him who can do so perceive how inseparable a life there is , one life and one mind and one essence, and finally how inseparable a distinction there is, and yet there is a distinction. Surely a man stands face to face with himself. Let him take heed of himself, and look there, and tell me. But when he has discovered any of these and is ready to speak, let him not think that he has found that immutable being which is above all these, which is immutably, and knows immutably, and wills immutably.

But whether there is a Trinity in God, because of these three acts; or whether these acts are in each Person, so that all three belong to each Person; or whether both hold, so that the Selfsame exists immutably by its great and plenteous unity, in some marvelous way both simple and multiple, with an infinite end in and for itself, whereby it is, and is known to itself, and suffices to itself--who could conceive such things with any ease? Who could state them in any manner? Who could rashly pronounce thereon in any way?

(from The Confessions of St. Augustine. Monsignor John K. Ryan (trans.) 1960)