Consciousness Thought

Person and Being (Aquinas Lecture) by W. Norris Clarke

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By W. Norris Clarke

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15 2. Being as Relational The innate dynamism of being as overflowing into self-manifesting, self-communicating action is clear and explicit in St. Thomas, if one knows where to look. Not as explicit, however, though necessarily implied, it seems to me, is the corollary that relationality is a primordial dimension of Page 14 every real being, inseparable from its substantiality, just as action is from existence. For if a being naturally flows over into self-communicating action toward others, and also receives from them, then it cannot help but generate a network of relations with all its recipients.

Hence it can ultimately be satisfied only by knowing directly the infinite source and fullness of all being, namely, God (capax entis, ergo capax Dei). So too the human will, the faculty tending towards being as good, is naturally ordered to the whole order of the good without restriction. Hence it too cannot ultimately be satisfied by anything less than loving union with God as the infinite fullness of all goodness. Thus we are magnetized, so to speak, by our very nature toward the Infinite Good, which draws us in our very depths, at first spontaneously below the level of consciousness and freedom, but then slowly emerging into consciousness as we grow olderif we allow Page 37 itby the accumulation of experience and reflection upon it.

So too the human will, the faculty tending towards being as good, is naturally ordered to the whole order of the good without restriction. Hence it too cannot ultimately be satisfied by anything less than loving union with God as the infinite fullness of all goodness. Thus we are magnetized, so to speak, by our very nature toward the Infinite Good, which draws us in our very depths, at first spontaneously below the level of consciousness and freedom, but then slowly emerging into consciousness as we grow olderif we allow Page 37 itby the accumulation of experience and reflection upon it.

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