CT 18: The Infinity of God According to Essence

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the previous chapter, Thomas showed that God does not exist bodily according to His essence (the Incarnation is a separate concern).  And then he says, perhaps surprisingly,This leads to the question of God’s infinity.We think of a body as the physical part of a human being or animal.  In Aristotelian terms, though, a body is any material thing that t … [Read more...]

Third-Cousins Twice Removed?

Are you sure? You can check this handy chart if not. … [Read more...]

Music for Black Friday: I’ll Fly Away

The Coen brothers attracted some remarkable talent for the soundtrack for their movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?; and one of my favorite tracks is this one, performed by Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch. Typically for bluegrass, it's about going to heaven.The song has been recorded by virtually everyone; I first encountered it in bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley's version:One verse contains this lyric,Just a few more weary days and then I'll fly away To a land where joys will … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Day

I am thankful for Turkey. It keeps Syria and Iraq from bumping into Europe. … [Read more...]

CT 17: God Neither the Form of a Body nor a Force in a Body

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.And so we continue the long march through the categories, showing that God isn't any of the normal things of our experience.  We've shown in the past that God isn't a species predicated of individuals, so He isn't the essence of an individual being.  We've shown that God isn't a body that has an essence.  And now we see that God isn't something that pertains to a … [Read more...]

On Praying for What You Really Want

Should I ask God for what I want? Is it arrogant to ask the Lord of Creation to listen to my requests, or to think that they might affect the way things are? Ought I instead to assume that God knows what I need and pray simply for His will to be done?I see these questions come up time and again. I've asked them myself, and I often see others asking them. My basic response has always been that we should ask God for what we really want, when we want it, and then trust in Him to give us … [Read more...]

New Directions

I've been writing here at Patheos for a little over a year. When I started, I promised myself that I'd post every day, and I've kept to that schedule; but in the meantime, other responsibilities have crept up on me. I started assisting in my parish's RCIA program last year, and this year I'm leading an increasing number of the sessions. I've also got new responsibilities in my Lay Dominican chapter. And then I got started with Quill, which I'm enjoying immensely but which also takes up a … [Read more...]

Peace and the Warrior Ethos

During my career I've been privileged to work face-to-face with two retired four-star generals, who were as unlike as you can imagine. The first was a good old country boy who lived on what remained of his family's Spanish land grant in Texas. He was a mustang: that is, he'd started as an enlisted man and worked his way up. This is not easy. I got the idea that he might be glad to let you underestimate him, but that it would be a Bad Idea. The second was someone you simply couldn't estimate … [Read more...]

Jack Aubrey on Midshipmen

man of war

In the Royal Navy in Jack Aubrey's day, there was no naval academy. Boys from naval families went to sea at a young age as "midshipmen", also known as "young gentlemen". They were treated as officers—of a sort—so as to learn both seamanship and the art of command, and might with luck and skill ultimately "pass for lieutenant" and become real officers. But as they came to sea before showing any affinity for it, and because they were often quite young, the midshipman's birth on a man-of-war was … [Read more...]


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