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5 Philosophers Catholic Men Should Know – Episode 143

5 Philosophers Catholic Men Should Know

Special Guest: Thomas Lackey – a parishioner at Most Precious Blood in Tulsa, Ok.

We threw out the format in this episode! No drink. No gear. Just sitting around the table with friends and talking about the most important topics in our faith. If you missed our episode last week on the Eucharist, make sure you go back and listen.

Soren Kierkegaard


St. Anselm

St. Augustine

St. Thomas Aquinas

If you want to watch what happens in between segments – make sure to watch out the episode below.

Soren Kierkegaard • Theme

○ Man against Mass Society: A Life under Particular Judgment

[In Eternity i]t is not asked whether your marriage was in accordance with others, with the common practice, or better than others, but… you as an individual will be asked only whether it was in accordance with your responsibility…. For common practice changes, and all comparison goes lame, or is only half truth. But eternity’s practice, which never goes out of fashion, is, that you are the individual, that you yourself in the intimate relation of marriage should have been conscious of this.

In eternity it will not be asked whether your wife seduced you (eternity will talk with her about that), [in Eternity] you will be asked whether you allowed yourself to be seduced. If your marriage is so blessed that you see a family growing up around you, may you be conscious that while you have an intimate relation to your children you have a still more intimate relation to yourself as an individual. You share the responsibility with your wife, and hence eternity will also ask her as an individual about her share of the responsibility. For in eternity there is not a single complication that is able to make the accounting difficult and evasion easy. Eternity does not ask concerning how far you brought up your children in the way that you saw others do it. It simply asks you as an individual, how you brought up your children.

For you and conscience are one. It knows all that you know, and it knows that you know it. With respect to your children’s upbringing you can weigh various matters with your wife, or your friends. But how you act and the responsibility for it is finally wholly and solely yours as an individual. And if you fail to act, hiding from yourself and from others behind a screen of deliberation, you bring down the responsibility solely upon yourself as an individual.

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to Read

• What

  • ○  Sickness Unto Death
  • ○  Purity of Heart
  • ○  The Crowd is Untruth
  • ○  Fear and Trembling (Preface)

    • Quotes

    • ○  But what, then, shall we do, if the questions sound like accusations? Above all else, each one

      will himself become an individual with his responsibility to God. Each one will himself be subject to the stern judgment of this individuality. Is this not the purpose of the office of Confession? … Those who are coming to confess do not belong together in a society. Each one is an individual before God. Man and wife may go to confession in beautiful fellowship with each other, but they may not confess together. The one who confesses is not in company, he is as an individual, alone before God.

    • ○  … [C]onfession is a holy act, which calls for a collected mind. A collected mind is a mind that has collected itself from every distraction, from every relation, in order to center itself upon this relation to itself as an individual who is responsible to God. It is a mind that hasthis relation to itself as an individual who is responsible to God. It is a mind that has collected itself from every distraction, and therefore also from all comparison. For comparison may either tempt a man to an earthly and fortuitous despondency because the one who compares must admit to himself that he is behind many others, or it may tempt him to pride because, humanly speaking, he seems to be ahead of many others.
  • ○  Can you not be contented like all the others, when your last hour has come, to go well baled and crated in one of the large shipments which the established order sends straight through to heaven under its own seal and plainly addressed to ‘The Eternal Blessedness,’ with the assurance that you will be exactly as well received and just as blessed as ‘all the others’? In short, can you not be content with such reassuring security and guaranty as this, that the established order vouches for your blessedness in the hereafter? Very well then. Only keep this to yourself. The established order has no objection. If you keep as still as a mouse about it, you will nevertheless be just as well off as the others.
  • ○  In our time nobody is content to stop with faith but wants to go further. It would perhaps be rash to ask where these people are going, but it is surely a sign of breeding and culture for me to assume that everybody has faith, for otherwise it would be queer for them to be . . . going further. In those old days it was different, then faith was a task for a whole lifetime, because it was assumed that dexterity in faith is not acquired in a few days or weeks. When the tried oldster drew near to his last hour, having fought the good fight and kept the faith, his heart was still young enough not to have forgotten that fear and trembling which chastened the youth, which the man indeed held in check, but which no man quite outgrows. . . except as he might succeed at the earliest opportunity in going further. Where these revered figures arrived, that is the point where everybody in our day begins to go further.

    Let others complain that the age is wicked; my complaint is that it is paltry; for it lacks passion. Men’s thoughts are thin and flimsy like lace, they are themselves pitiable like the lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are too paltry to be sinful. For a worm it might be regarded as a sin to harbor such thoughts, but not for a being made in the image of God. Their lusts are dull and sluggish, their passions sleepy. They do their duty, these shopkeeping souls, but they clip the coin a trifle, like the Jews; they think that even if the Lord keeps ever careful a set of books, they may still cheat him Him a little. Out upon Them! This is the reason my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. I feel that those who speak there are at least human: they hate, they love, they murder their enemies, and curse their descendants throughout all generations, they sin.

    • Theme

  • ○  Practical Philosophy
  • ○  The Imprudence of Evil

• What

  • ○  On Moral Duty
  • ○  On Friendship
  • ○  On Old Age
  • ○  The Dream of Scipio

    • Quotes

○ Above all, the search after truth and its eager pursuit are peculiar to man. And so, when we

have leisure from the demands of business cares, we are eager to see, to hear, to learn something new, and we esteem a desire to know the secrets or wonders of creation as indispensable to a happy life. Thus we come to understand that what is true, simple, and genuine appeals most strongly to a man’s nature. To this passion for discovering truth there genuine appeals most strongly to a man’s nature. To this passion for discovering truth there is added a hungering, as it were, for independence, so that a mind well-moulded by Nature is unwilling to be subject to anybody save one who gives rules of conduct or is a teacher of truth or who, for the general good, rules according to justice and law. From this attitude come greatness of soul and a sense of superiority to worldly conditions. (DO)

  • ○  When any specious appearance of expediency is presented, one cannot help being impressed by it. But if, when you give it closer attention, you see that there is something morally wrong connected with what thus seems expedient, in that case you are not to sacrifice expediency, but you are to understand that where there is moral wrong expediency cannot be. For if nothing is so contrary to nature as immorality (inasmuch as nature craves things right, and fitting, and consistent), and nothing so in unison with nature as expediency, then it is certain that expediency and immorality cannot exist in the same thing. Still further, if we were born for virtue, and the right either is alone worthy to be sought (as Zeno maintained), or is assuredly to be regarded as immeasurably outweighing all things else (as is Aristotle’s doctrine), then, of necessity, what is right must be either the sole or the supreme good. But what is good is certainly expedient. Consequently whatever is right is expedient. It is then the misapprehension of bad men which, when it lays hold on anything that seems expedient, considers it independently of the question of right. (DO)
  • ○  [H]e who maltreats another that he himself may obtain some benefit, either is unaware that he is acting contrary to nature, or else thinks that poverty, pain, loss of children, of kindred, of friends, is to be avoided rather than wrong-doing to a fellow-man. If he is unaware that he is acting contrary to nature in maltreating men, how are you to reason with one who takes away from man all that makes him man? But if he thinks that wrong-doing ought indeed to be shunned, but that death, poverty, or pain is much more to be shunned, he errs in imagining any evil affecting the bodily condition or property to be of greater consequence than moral evil. (DO)
  • ○  Truth is offensive, if hatred, the bane of friendship, is indeed born of it; but much more offensive is complacency, when in its indulgence for wrongdoing it suffers a friend to go headlong to ruin. The greatest blame, however, rests on him who both spurns the truth when it is told him, and is driven by the complacency of friends to self-deception. In this matter, therefore, there should be the utmost discretion and care, first, that admonition be without bitterness, then, that reproof be without invective. But in complacency — for I am ready to use the word which Terence furnishes — let pleasing truth be told; let flattery, the handmaid of the vices, be put far away, as unworthy, not only of a friend, but of any man above the condition of a slave; for there is one way of living with a tyrant, another with a friend. We may well despair of saving him whose ears are so closed to the truth that he cannot hear what is true from a friend. Among the many pithy sayings of Cato was this: “There are some who owe more to their bitter enemies than to the friends that seem sweet; for those often tell the truth, these never.” It is indeed ridiculous for those who are admonished not to be annoyed by what ought to trouble them, and to be annoyed by what ought to give them no offence. Their faults give them no pain; they take it hard that they are reproved; — while they ought, on the contrary, to be grieved for their wrong-doing, to rejoice in their correction. (DA)

• 7. “But even if successive generations should desire to transmit the praise of every one of us from father to son in unbroken succession, yet because of devastations by flood and fire, which will of necessity take place at a determined time, we must fail of attaining not only eternal fame, but even that of very long duration. Now of what concern is it that those who shall be born hereafter should speak of you, when you were spoken of by none who were born before you, who were not fewer, and certainly were better men?—especially, too, when among those who might hear our names there is not one that can retain the when among those who might hear our names there is not one that can retain the memories of a single year. (SS)

• Theme – Faith Seeking Understanding

  • ○  Will for happiness
  • ○  Will for justice
  • ○  Tension between the two is the chance for merit as well as fall.

• What
○ On Free Will

to Read
○ On the Fall of the Devil

  • I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that You have created Your image in me, so that I may remember You, think of You, love You. But this image is so effaced and worn away by vice, so darkened by the smoke of sin, that it cannot do what it was made to do unless You renew it and reform it. I do not try, Lord, to attain Your lofty heights, because my understanding is in no way equal to it. But I do desire to understand Your truth a little, that truth that my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that ‘unless I believe, I shall not understand’ [Isa. 7: 9]. (P)
  • Therefore, Lord, not only are You that than which a greater cannot be thought, but You are also something greater than can be thought. For since it is possible to think that there is such a one, then, if You are not this same being something greater than You could be thought—which cannot be. (P)
  • Lord my God, You who have formed and reformed me, tell my
    desiring soul what You are besides what it has seen so that it may see clearly that which it desires. It strives so that it may see more, and it sees nothing beyond what it has seen save darkness. Or rather it does not see darkness, which is not in You in any way; but it sees that it cannot see more because of its own darkness. Why is this, Lord, why
    is this? Is its eye darkened by its weakness, or is it dazzled by Your splendour? In truth it is both darkened in itself and dazzled by You.
    It is indeed both darkened by its own littleness and overwhelmed
    by Your immensity. It is, in fact, both restricted by its own limited-
    ness and overcome by Your fullness. For how great is that light
    from which shines every truth that gives light to the understanding! (P)
  • So neither by willing happiness alone nor by willing only that
    which befits its nature could that angel be called moral or immoral, because his will would be necessitated; on the other hand, if he neither can nor ought to be happy if he does not will and if his will
    is not morally good, God must harmonize the two wills in him such that he wills to be happy but wills it justly. Thus, when the moral good is present, his will to be happy is modified so as to eliminate going beyond, without destroying his capacity to go beyond. That is, although by willing to be happy he can surpass the measure, because his will is good he does not want to surpass it, and in this way, having a just will for happiness, he can be and ought to be happy. Such an a just will for happiness, he can be and ought to be happy. Such an angel, by not willing that which he ought not, although able to, would merit the capacity never to will that which he ought not and, always following justice, of never being deprived of any moderate desire; if he should abandon justice by an immoderate will, he would be deprived of all that he desires. (DCD)


  • Why

    ○ Divine Illumination

  • What to Read

    ○ The City of God
    ○ The Confessions
    ○ On Christian Doctrine

  • Let no one, therefore, look for an efficient cause of the evil will; for it is not efficient, but deficient, as the will itself is not an effecting of something, but a defect. For defection from that which supremely is, to that which has less of being: this is to begin to have an evil will.
  • ‘there are many within who by their abandoned manners torment the hearts of those who live piously, since by them the Christian and catholic name is blasphemed; and the dearer that name is to those who will live piously in Christ, the more do they grieve that through the wicked, who have a place within, it comes to be less loved than pious minds desire
  • But if these things be preferred, then even though a man seem to have faith in Christ, yet Christ is not the foundation to that man; and much more if he, in contempt of wholesome precepts, seek forbidden gratifications, is he clearly convicted of putting Christ not first but last, since he has despised Him as his ruler, and has preferred to fulfill his own wicked lusts, in contempt of Christ’s commands and allowances. Accordingly, if any Christian man loves a harlot, and, attaching himself to her, becomes one body, he has not now Christ for a foundation. But if anyone loves his own wife, and loves her as Christ would have him love her, who can doubt that he has Christ for a foundation?
  • it has come to pass that the two cities could not have common laws of religion, and that the heavenly city has been compelled in this matter to dissent, and to become obnoxious to those who think differently
  • from things earthly to things heavenly, from the visible to the invisible, there are some things better than others; and for this purpose are they unequal, in order that they might all exist.
  • even those against whom we are disputing have been compelled to acknowledge, in some fashion, that the grace of God is necessary for the acquisition, not, indeed, of any philosophy, but of the true philosophy.
  • when in the case of any creature the questions are put, “Who made it?†“By what means?†“Why?†that it should be replied, “God,†“By the Word,†⠀œBecause it was goodâ€
  • would that we had lived so well in Paradise that in very truth there were now no death! But not only does it now exist, but so grievous a thing is it, that no skill is sufficient either to explain or to escape it.
  • For God, the Creator of all, knows where and when each thing ought to be, or to have been created, because He sees the similarities and diversities which can contribute to the beauty of the whole.
  • The peace of the body then consists in the duly proportioned arrangement of its parts. The peace of the irrational soul is the harmonious repose of the appetites, and that of the rational soul the harmony of knowledge and action.
  • He, abiding unchangeable, took upon Him our nature, that thereby He might take us to Himself; and, holding fast His own divinity, He became partaker of our infirmity, that we, being changed into some better thing, might, by participating in His righteousness and immortality, lose our own properties of sin and mortality, and preserve whatever good quality He had implanted in our nature, perfected now by sharing in the goodness of His nature. For as by the sin of one man we have fallen into a misery so deplorable, so by the righteousness of one Man, who also is God, shall we come to a blessedness inconceivably exalted.
  • For better is it to contend with vices than without conflict to be subdued by them. Better, I say, is war with the hope of peace everlasting than captivity without any thought of deliverance.
  • I do not blame those who may be able to draw out of everything there a spiritual meaning, only saving, first of all, the historical truth.
  • But eternal punishment seems hard and unjust to human perceptions, because in the weakness of our mortal condition there is wanting that highest and purest wisdom by which it can be perceived how great a wickedness was committed in that first transgression.
  • We cannot be expected to find room for replying to every question that may be started by unoccupied and captious men, who are ever more ready to ask questions than capable of understanding the answer.
  • the actual possession of the happiness of this life, without the hope of what is beyond, is but a false happiness and profound misery.
  • For while the hot restlessness of heretics stirs questions about many articles of the catholic faith, the necessity of defending them forces us both to investigate them more accurately, to understand them more clearly, and to proclaim them more earnestly; and the question mooted by an adversary becomes the occasion of instruction.
  • But in these days of vanity it makes an important difference whether he resists or yields to the truth, and whether he is destitute of true piety or a partaker of it: important not so far as regards the acquirement of the blessings or the evasion of the calamities of this transitory and vain life, but in connection with the future judgment which shall make over to good men good things, and to bad men bad things, in permanent, inalienable possession.
  • I shall go on to say, as God shall aid me, what I think needs to be said regarding the origin, history, and deserved ends of the two cities, which, as already remarked, are in this world commingled and implicated with one another
  • Our infancy, indeed, introducing us to this life not with laughter but with tears, seems unconsciously to predict the ills we are to encounter. Zoroaster alone is said to have laughed when he was born, and that unnatural omen portended no good to him.
  • When this question has been handled to the satisfaction of the company, Scipio reverts to the original thread of discourse, and repeats with commendation his own brief definition of a republic, that it is the weal of the people. “The people” he defines as being not every assemblage or mob, but an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of law, and by a community of but an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of law, and by a community of interests. Then he shows the use of definition in debate; and from these definitions of his own he gathers that a republic, or “weal of the people,” then exists only when it is well and justly governed, whether by a monarch, or an aristocracy, or by the whole people. But when the monarch is unjust, or, as the Greeks say, a tyrant; or the aristocrats are unjust, and form a faction; or the people themselves are unjust, and become, as Scipio for want of a better name calls them, themselves the tyrant, then the republic is not only blemished (as had been proved the day before), but by legitimate deduction from those definitions, it altogether ceases to be. For it could not be the people’s weal when a tyrant factiously lorded it over the state; neither would the people be any longer a people if it were unjust, since it would no longer answer the definition of a people—“an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of law, and by a community of interests.” (City of God, cp. 21 ‘Cicero’s Opinion of the Roman Republic’)

• Why

• What to Read

  • ○  On the 10 Commandments
  • ○  The Three Greatest Prayers
  • ○  Catena

    • Quotes

  • ○  Three things are necessary for man to be saved: (1) knowledge of what is to be believed, (2)

    knowledge of what is to be desired, and (3) knowledge of what is to be done. The first is taught in the Creed, where knowledge of the articles of faith is given; the second is in the Lord’s Prayer; the third is in the Law.

  • ○  The Church’s sacraments are ordained for helping man in the spiritual life. But the spiritual life is analogous to the corporeal, since corporeal things bear a resemblance to spiritual. Now it is clear that just as generation is required for corporeal life, since thereby man receives life; and growth, whereby man is brought to maturity: so likewise food is required for the preservation of life. Consequently, just as for the spiritual life there had to be Baptism, which is spiritual generation; and Confirmation, which is spiritual growth: so there needed to be the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is spiritual food. 3.Q73.A1
  • ○  A sacrament is so termed because it contains something sacred. Now a thing can be styled sacred from two causes; either absolutely, or in relation to something else. The difference between the Eucharist and other sacraments having sensible matter is that whereas the Eucharist contains something which is sacred absolutely, namely, Christ’s own body; the baptismal water contains something which is sacred in relation to something else, namely, the sanctifying power: and the same holds good of chrism and such like. Consequently, the sacrament of the Eucharist is completed in the very consecration of the matter, whereas the other sacraments are completed in the application of the matter for the sanctifying of the individual. And from this follows another difference. For, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, what is both reality and sacrament is in the matter itself. but what is reality only, namely, the grace bestowed, is in the recipient; whereas in Baptism both are in the recipient, namely, the character, which is both reality and sacrament, and the grace of pardon of sins, which is reality only. And the same holds good of the other sacraments. 3.Q73.A1



TOPIC: 5 Philosophers

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About the author, Adam

Adam is the Vice President St. Michael Catholic Radio in Tulsa and the co-host of The Catholic Man Show.

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