Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Golden Rule in the Medieval Church, Part 5

ST. THOMAS INVOKES THE GOLDEN RULE in his Summa Theologiae, specifically in the first part of the second part, in Question No. 99, where he considers the precepts of the Mosaic law. He asks the question of whether the Mosaic law had multiple precepts or just one, and he handles several points of view on that issue in Article 1. He comes to the conclusion that, with respect to the precepts of the law, "are many in respect of the diversity of things" that "may happen to be necessary or expedient to an end." And yet, all these precepts that relate to the necessary and expedient things are "ordained to one end." Therefore, Thomas concludes that "we must say that all the precepts of the Old Law are one in respect of their relation to one end (sunt unum secundum ordinem ad unum finem): and yet they are many in respect of the diversity of those things that are ordained to that end (secundum diversitatem eorum quae ordinantur ad finem illum)."

St. Thomas Aquinas

In handling this issue, St. Thomas raises three objections. The third of these is:
Further, it is written (Matthew 7:12): "All things . . . whatsoever you would that men do do you, do you also to them. For this is the Law and the prophets." But the whole of the Old Law is comprised of the Law and the prophets. Therefore the whole of the Old Law contains but one commandment.

Praeterea, Matth. VII, dicitur, omnia quaecumque vultis ut faciant vobis homines, et vos facite illis, haec est enim lex et prophetae. Sed tota lex vetus continetur in lege et prophetis. Ergo tota lex vetus non habet nisi unum praeceptum.
The Golden Rule seems to be one precept that contains the entirety of the Law and the prophets. However, as St. Thomas has made clear, this is true in regard to its end. It is not however true with respect to the manner and means to that end. Therefore, the Golden Rule is one precept in respect to its end, but contains within it many precepts in the sense of means to that end.

In responding to the objection, St. Thomas states that the Golden Rule is implicit in the Second of Christ's Commandment: To love one's neighbor as one's self. He explains:
As stated in Ethic. ix, 8, "friendship towards another arises from friendship towards oneself," in so far as man looks on another as on himself. Hence when it is said, "All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them," this is an explanation of the rule of neighborly love contained implicitly in the words, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself": so that it is an explanation of this commandment.

Sicut dicitur in IX Ethic., amicabilia quae sunt ad alterum, venerunt ex amicabilibus quae sunt homini ad seipsum, dum scilicet homo ita se habet ad alterum sicut ad se. Et ideo in hoc quod dicitur, omnia quaecumque vultis ut faciant vobis homines, et vos facite illis, explicatur quaedam regula dilectionis proximi, quae etiam implicite continetur in hoc quod dicitur, diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. Unde est quaedam explicatio istius mandati.
What is the end of the the Golden Rule, which is nothing but the explanation of the Commandment that one ought to love one's neighbor? To answer this question, St. Thomas Aquinas invokes St. Paul. St. Paul boils the end of the law, and therefore the end of the Golden Rule, to one word: caritas, love (agape), which is the product of friendship (amicitiam). This is a marvelous concept: ad caritate, ad amicitia, omnis lex tendit, all law tends to love, to friendship.

St. Thomas by Fra' Bartolomeo

This view of law is in direct contradistinction to those who would put law and love at odds, as if love demanded anomie or anarchy. This marvelous teaching is found in his reply to Objection 2, where St. Thomas clarifies the end of every law:
As the Apostle says (1 Timothy 1:5), "the end of the commandment is charity"; since every law aims at establishing friendship, either between man and man, or between man and God. Wherefore the whole Law is comprised in this one commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," as expressing the end of all commandments: because love of one's neighbor includes love of God, when we love our neighbor for God's sake. Hence the Apostle put this commandment in place of the two which are about the love of God and of one's neighbor, and of which Our Lord said (Matthew 22:40): "On these two commandments depends the whole Law and the prophets."

Sicut apostolus dicit, I ad Tim. I, finis praecepti caritas est, ad hoc enim omnis lex tendit, ut amicitiam constituat vel hominum ad invicem, vel hominis ad Deum. Et ideo tota lex impletur in hoc uno mandato, diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum, sicut in quodam fine mandatorum omnium, in dilectione enim proximi includitur etiam Dei dilectio, quando proximus diligitur propter Deum. Unde apostolus hoc unum praeceptum posuit pro duobus quae sunt de dilectione Dei et proximi, de quibus dicit dominus, Matth. XXII, in his duobus mandatis pendet omnis lex et prophetae.
Friendship, the love between friends, is the one end of the Golden Rule, but the manner and means by which it may be applied is many. The Golden Rule strains upwards, then, toward a loving friendship to God, one, ultimately, that will have to rely on the supernatural remedy of Grace, since this supernatural love requires an infusion of grace. As part of the natural law, the Golden rule is found in man and naturally inclines him to his connatural end of friendship and love of his fellows. Post-lapsarian man, though so inclined towards the love of God and of his fellows, still finds it difficult to apply the Golden Rule consistently, especially when it calls for great selflessness. There is also within him the three libidines: the libido sentiendi, the libido domindandi, the libido sciendi, the inordinate desires of the flesh, of domination, of the pride of life--what the American Protestant (Unitarian) minister James Luther Adams called felicitously called "the old triumvirate of tyrants in the human soul." Man required a remedy, as he cannot follow the Golden Rule, he cannot love his neighbor, with supernatural aid. God, speaking through his Son in the fullness of time, in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:12) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:31), has added to the Golden Rule by making it part of the supernatural law. The Golden Rule is thus transformed by the theological virtue of love, a love of a whole different order than anything found naturally among men, that allows man to love God, and to love his neighbor as himself for the love of God. Cf. S. T. IaIIae, q. 62, art. 3. This is also the law of Grace.

The Golden Rule by Norman Rockwell

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