Sacra Doctrina

wil

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For Thomas the science of Sacra Doctrina was not limited to Sacred Scripture, but the receiving of God's entire revelation through His revealed Word, as well as what was revealed in nature. Article Two of the Summa Theologiae gives us some clarification. For Thomas the doctrina was the foundation of everything he would build the Summa upon. In his reply to objection two, regarding whether Sacra Doctrina is indeed a science he writes, “Individual facts are treated of in sacred doctrine, not because it is concerned with them principally, but they are introduced rather both as examples to be followed in our lives (as in moral sciences) and in order to establish the authority of those men through whom the divine revelation, on which this sacred scripture or doctrine is based, has come down to us.”http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/2010/01/saint-thomas-aquinas-divine-revelation.html
thoughts...
 

taijasi

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I am a latecomer to the scene, and don't wish to preempt more insightful or relevant commentary ...

... nevertheless, for me the Sacra Doctrina cannot trump or contradict the simplicity of "walking the walk."

For a Christian, I think this means that "Faith without works is dead," and thus I subscribe to Paul's version of a strong Faith which is rooted in the proof which comes only through the pudding.

"By their fruits, we shall know them." Think of birds landing on St. Francis, or Jesus, or indeed any `saint' or Holy person. WHY would this occur?

Practice, also, even from common wisdom and a folksy expression, "makes Perfect." This was the injunction of Christ to His Followers:

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." ~Matthew 5:48

Nothing equivocal about that ... nor in the affirmation of Christ to the Apostles:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;
and greater works than these shall he do" ~John 14:12

Surely it is important to know when to take the Bible literally, and when to comprehend the symbolism being used in an allegory, or the several levels of a parable. Otherwise, we will make the meaning fit our preconceived ideas, especially including those we have been coached, or taught, or accustomed by many long years to accept as normal. Asking questions, I think we remain open to Illumination and to Insight - which are available to all people, all times, everywhere.

The problem with too closely closing one's circle of `approved authorities' - which is a personal decision, and one that WE make, if not always entirely intelligently, or in an informed manner ... is that we shut ourselves off from some of the greatest sources of Inspiration available. Once I buy in to the notion that "all truth must come from x authority, body or group of delegates," and that "none but truth can utter forth therefrom," I have pretty much sealed my mind, heart, body and Soul - effectively or for a time - to greater Guidance and Wisdom. It matters not that these could come in the form of the Buddha approaching us in the subway for change, or that it happens to be a Mahatma who just passed you on the street looking to see if you were paying attention. When we remain wrapped within our own world of pet notions and preconceived fancies, we will detect nothing much other than what it is we are looking for, or what we expect. A flying saucer might land, but that's about what it would take to get our attention out of our brown study. And yes, I speak from experience!

So the Sacra Doctrina, I agree, is not simply words on a page, any more than Love is a physical act to reproduce the species. But they are related, and in the same sense the Sacred Doctrine expresses, sometimes, in Holy Writ and may even be recognized as such. Often, the very pearls and most sublime of the Teaching remains undetected, unsuspected - or utterly unpracticed in life or thought - by the congregation or Community of seekers and believers. This, I am certain, remains a tragedy, for why else are certain Revelations or even scientific, musical, political and economic inspirations given and shared? They are not intended as wall ornaments, and this becomes spiritual materialism.

I always like to try to think about these things at least a bit from the other person's point of view, from the perspective of those Who are giving out the Wisdom to Humanity, and even from the true Angelic Doctors (not to be confused with any human being in particular, or even at all) who stand beyond us on the Ladder of Life. I have many examples of the most sublime Teachings, and certainly Noble communications, issuing from unapproved authorities, such as a teenager in the UK [Matthew Manning], or a housewife in Brussels (I made that up, but it's probably true).

My question would be, how does one's understanding of Sacra Doctrina make room or accommodate the fact that God speaks through us all, at times, and sometimes clearly enough that the folks around perhaps ought to pay more attention [to them, their message, and even their actions & commentary if these measure up to *standards* - you know, the Fruit and all] ... than perhaps to the vicar who is still railing on with that same claptrap `tithe-or-be-damned' stuff, which we hear so often ... or to the latest edict from the Pope? Nothing personal there, of course. I feel like I've been waiting for the current Pope, Pope Francis, for many, many long incarnations - or generations.

Yes, it's my typical wordy response, but those are a few of my thoughts on the Sacred Doctrine, as well as I understand the topic ... ;)

Zagreus ... aka Andrew/Taijasi
 

taijasi

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Well, it basically says to me .... that we need to steer Platonic, regarding our considerations.
 

Thomas

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Makes sense ...

It's reasoned, logical and rational. Aquinas is relatively 'bullet-proof' on that score, as even atheists and agnostics acknowledge. He's an exemplar of the Aristotelian method of argument (although himself a Christian Platonist).

The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy says "his close textual commentaries on Aristotle represent a cultural resource which is now receiving increased recognition."

Yours ...
 

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... nevertheless, for me the Sacra Doctrina cannot trump or contradict the simplicity of "walking the walk."
Well Sacra Doctrina rather determines the walk to be walked, doesn't it? I mean, that's where the data of the Way comes from, whoever's Way we're talking about?

For a Christian, I think this means that "Faith without works is dead," and thus I subscribe to Paul's version of a strong Faith which is rooted in the proof which comes only through the pudding.
Worry not. Aquinas walked the walk well beyond his words. Indeed, when you see how busy and far-travelled people like Aquinas and Bonaventure and Eckhart were, you wonder where they ever got the time to write!

Surely it is important to know when to take the Bible literally, and when to comprehend the symbolism being used in an allegory, or the several levels of a parable.
Equally important to know, in the case of the Gospels especially, is that the literal and the symbolic and the allegorical and the parable are all in all. Thus the insistence in Scripture that, for example, the miracles happened, that they are indeed 'symbolic', in the true meaning of the symbol which is the thing signified is realised in the sign (whereas a sign points beyond itself), the spirit is actualised in the flesh ... thus the sight restored to the blind man was literally restored, to actualise physically and materially the spiritual message. It's a material analogy, if you will.

But in a Christian context, the Four Senses of Scripture were established from the outset: The literal and the spiritual, the latter subdivided into three, the tropological (or moral metaphor), the analogical (or spiritual metaphor), and the anagogical (or eschatalogical metaphor).

My question would be, how does one's understanding of Sacra Doctrina make room or accommodate the fact that God speaks through us all, at times, and sometimes clearly enough that the folks around perhaps ought to pay more attention [to them, their message, and even their actions & commentary if these measure up to *standards* - you know, the Fruit and all]
Well as far as the Bible goes, worry not, it's abundantly evident there's no shortage of room.

It's not so much the shortage of speakers, as the shortage of listeners. As the Bible has it: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Jeremiah 20:16, Ezeckiel 3:27, Matthew says it 3 times, as does Mark, Luke twice ... John's all about light and darkness ... Paul's about 'the mind of the Lord' and metanoia ...)
 
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