Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sanctifying grace and charity

So what really is the question now? I thought it was regarding the place of consent in religious conversion, but that seems to be rapidly clarifying, though perhaps one or two details still need to be clarified.

The question really is: does the distinction between sanctifying grace and the virtue of charity carry over into a properly methodical theology, one which has overcome faculty psychology?

The religions - natural as well as supernatural

The anomaly has been, I think, satisfactorily resolved. The question now is, what has been gained, apart from the infinitesimal contribution to Lonergan exegesis?

I think: a clarification of the natural-supernatural debate about religions. Are some the religions merely natural? Are they supernatural? The traditionalists tend to say they are merely natural. The others tend to regard them as supernatural. Lonergan has this contribution to make: they are all of them fruits, at least in their positive moments, of the gift of the Spirit, which is the gift of God's love. As far as their beliefs are concerned, they might well be natural. In crude terms, we could say that the religions might represent a range of combinations of natural and supernatural, with the proviso that, "in the present order," all would be, at least in some sense if not in all their dimensions, absolutely supernatural. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Charity, person, relation

Charity, and person, and relation: deeply connected.
problems with one will lead to problems with the others.
So: India knows the use of the category of love for the Supremely Beloved, but also relativizes this love, this devotion, this bhakti, because of the belief in the impersonality of the Supreme, or the Supremacy of the Impersonal.
But if the use of the translation impersonal is a mistake, as De Smet says it is, a new way might be opened up.
Surely there is the passion for the Infinite in India; and what is passion if not love? But the personal categories tend to go missing.  

Friday, 8 June 2012

Discovering one is in love

"The man or woman in love discovers that he or she is in love when all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions regard the beloved"
i.e., one becomes aware / knows what is happening
so the effects lead to the discovery
the effects: spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions
what is discovered?
That which makes these (tendencies and actions) possible: the conjugate form, the habit
The habit itself is a new spontaneity
Which gives rise to deliberate tendencies and actions

This is significant for the dynamic between gift and response.
One responds, one moves into the state of being in love, or perhaps one is gifted into that state, and then one discovers...
Already in Insight.

Remember that there need not be a temporal gap between grace as operative and as cooperative.

Love, agape + eros

All spontaneous and deliberate tendencies…
Lonergan is speaking here of a man or woman in love
And uses this to illustrate our love for God
This kind of love is more than agape? What I mean is that it somehow involves everything, the whole person: all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions
I would imagine, also the feelings
So this is not the love where there is no particular feeling
Or else, we have to go with Benedict XVI who insists that (God’s) love is agape + eros eros which delights in the existence of this particular, singular person: How wonderful that you are!
Is this ultimately the model of all love?
Are we, am I, called to love each brother and sister thus, with a love that reaches the particularity of the person?
The answer is yes.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

"all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies"

“[A] man or woman knows that he or she is in love by making the discovery that all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions regard the beloved.” [Lonergan, Insight CWL 3:720-21.]
(Just noticed the 'discovery' here...)
A habit of charity is a new spontaneity, a new set of laws.
But: deliberate tendencies?

Perhaps we need studies of the experience of love.
There is already a being in love that arises from falling in love – even before the response, which no doubt leads to a new stage in loving. But it may not be the beginning of being in love.
This being in love is not yet mutual, but “all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions regard the beloved.”
What then if the Latin tag (Nihil amatum nisi cognitum) were violated?
In the human case, even if it is love at first sight, the sight precedes.
In God’s case: he is not bound by the tag.
So: we find ourselves in love (with God)?
We discover first, and only then perhaps we can decide?
What do we discover? That all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies regard the Beloved?

Read Aquinas on the habit of charity.
It is one of the grounds from which Lonergan’s thinking arises.
I am trying to understand how the habit of charity can be mutual, can be friendship.
What is mutuality?
What is friendship?

Before and afer the infusion of a mutual love (!) there are acts of consent.
But what about: no acts of charity before the infusion of the virtue? (READ!)
Surely there is natural love, besides meritorious love of God?
But, from experience, I would say that seen as process, there would be actual operative and cooperative graces, and therefore consent, before and after the infusion of sanctifying grace.
Even after, a failure to correspond can lead to the death of sanctifying grace.

To be loved is - to change?

I ask myself: are there instances where to be loved is to be changed?
Not always, perhaps: a declaration of love can be sometimes rebuffed, rejected, not accepted.
But there are instances when we have felt loved, when we have been loved into loving. The gift has become a response. And this, before any proper act of consent.
Subsequently there will be place for such acts.
This, more especially when the gift is conscious but not known. When there is an exception to the Latin tag, Nihil amatum nisi cognitum.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Natural and supernatural in the religions: in fieri

The paper is proving to be a long haul.

Section 1

I began with the gnawing little question, what I have been calling the anomaly, arising from chapter 20 of Insight: how can a natural solution to be problem of evil be somehow supernatural?

Or perhaps not even that question was quite so clear. The question arose rather from the fact that I had identified the 3 specializations of the general heuristic structure of the solution with 3 types of religion: natural, relatively supernatural, and absolutely supernatural. While I had not been so rash as to give examples, I might have implied that there are religions - perhaps Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism - that might easily fit into a natural theology as far as their teachings were concerned.

A raid of the references to 'supernatural' in the Lonergan corpus turned up odd hints, mainly having to do with different meanings or senses of supernatural: the strict sense (absolutely supernatural), and the broad sense (quoad modum) (entitatively natural, but coming from God); virtually and formally supernatural.

Also different possibilities, thanks to the consideration of the formal object quod and the formal object quo, or more simply, object and motive. You have acts where both object and motive are absolutely supernatural, and these acts are themselves absolutely supernatural. Then there are acts where both object and motive are natural, and these acts are natural. Then there are acts whose object is known to be absolutely supernatural; the motive cannot be less (the principle cannot be less than the resultant), and so has to be absolutely supernatural, making the act itself the same.

But the interesting possibility is that of acts whose motive is ASN and object N: these are ASN.

In the context of the praeambula fidei, per se there is no need of ASN acts. Given, however, our fallen state, there could de facto be acts that are ASN. There is a further reason: since the process is heading towards a SN end, some theologians holds that de facto all graces in this process are supernatural.

But the nuance in Lonergan's answer: the hypothetical possibility of God revealing only natural truths. Here it is possible that he could have restricted himself to an assistance that is supernatural only quoad modum.

This opened up a way of accounting for the anomaly: a natural solution that was in some sense supernatural, supernatural quoad modum. The formal object quod would be natural; divine assistance would be there, but it would be supernatural quoad modum. The acts would be entitatively natural, but supernatural quoad modum.

But these considerations opened up an interesting possibility: supernatural acts with natural objects and supernatural motives. The early Lonergan restricts this to Christians. We might be forgiven for asking: could it be extended to non-Christians? How? By postulating that absolutely supernatural grace is given to all?

Section 2

The second part of the paper proved to be difficult, most probably because the question I was trying to answer was not clear.

In a sense, my original question had been answered: how to make sense of the anomaly in ch. 20 of Insight. I could have stopped with that. For some reason I thought it fit to open up the second section. Perhaps because the first had opened up to this possibility, with "supernatural acts with natural objects and supernatural motives."

At any rate, work on this section originally took the form of trying to establish an equivalence between the the largely metaphysical categories of section 1, and the methodical-experiential categories of Method in Theology.

This endeavour quickly led me to Doran's work. Perhaps because among the few articles I had managed to access were one of Crowe's, and a couple of Doran's. Perhaps my thinking developed this way: Doran (I had one of his latest papers) identified the Gift of God's Love (Gift from now on) with Sanctifying Grace (SG from now now), and the dynamic State of Being in Love with God (= State) with the infused virtue or habit of Charity (= C). Of course he was reflecting on the famous four-point hypothesis that he found in DDT and in an earlier set of notes, the Supplement to SG, I think it was. And so he correlated Gift with SG and Active Spiration (AS), and State with C and Passive Spiration (PS).

I had two questions or difficulties with this: (1) Lonergan in Method does not seem to distinguish clearly between Gift and State; in fact, he seems to use them interchangeably; (2) does C, which I presumed is operative grace, involve the act of consent?

There followed a period of reading of works which I had not read properly before: De ente supernaturali, the Supplement to SG. Or perhaps I was dipping into them with the help of the Index. At any rate, this was a learning experience: the meaning of SG, supernatural, justification, the infused virtues, and so on. I had to go back once again to Grace and Freedom, because I thought I had to get clear about how exactly grace and freedom held together. Perhaps I did not have to but I did. Or perhaps it was just part of the effort to locate consent.

From here, to other papers of Doran, mainly after coming across Hefling which was dramatic and enlightening.

Tentatively: I see that the habit of charity involves mutual love, love of friendship. I am not so sure that the habit as infused, if there is such a habit, involves our free consent. I am not, therefore, sure I can agree with Doran when he talks about "acts of loving coalescing into a habit of charity." I need to check whether we can have acts of charity before the infusion of the habit. I thought not. My impression is that acts of charity can never be uninformed, unlike acts of faith and hope. So the problem remains: how is the habit of charity a mutual loving, if consent is only subsequent?

Back to section 1

Since all this work was still not cohering with section 1, I found myself having to go back to section 1, to clarify things left hanging: things like the natural virtue of religion, gratia elevans and sanans. I remember coming across the remark somewhere that ch. 20 of Insight was all about gratia sanans. I now remember Lonergan also saying it was about the supernatural. At any rate, this kind of clarification was needed, and was good.

Now I have to rework section 1, and then section 2.

the new thing that has opened up: the natural solution is probably gratia sanans. The question was whether gratia sanans was supernatural quoad substantiam, or only quoad modum.

The major problem: how to link the two sections.