A Book Review on Faith, Long Deferred

Well nigh 20 years ago I, a hapless college student, bought a dusty old book at the Sacred Heart Used Book Store in Pittsburgh: The Theological Virtues I: On Faith, by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP.  The day has come to write a review!

To appreciate the irony of this purchase, you must understand that I was at that very moment being trained in the Nouvelle Theologie both in my classes and in my various hobby-discussions with classmates.  I loved De Lubac and Company, and Lagrange was the probably-villainous Grand Inquisitor who had waged war against these holy theologians who were clearly doing no more than enlivening a dusty theological tradition with rich, ancient sources of reasoning.

Even more amusing, I was in the company of a friend (now with the CFRs in New York) who had guided me into the world of Nouvelle Theologie and knew far more about the history of the controversy than I did at the time.  He commented, if I recall, that Lagrange’s book on charity was supposed to be very good, so perhaps (begrudgingly) this book on faith would be as well.  To perfect the irony, I’m pretty sure I bought Further Paradoxes by De Lubac at the same time and dropped them in the same bag. Continue reading A Book Review on Faith, Long Deferred

St. Anselm Oratio 1C (Draft)

Oratio Prima, Continued:


O lux beata Trinitas, et principalis unitas, auge in nobis fidem, auge spem, auge charitatem, libera nos, salva nos, justifica nos.

O Light, Blessed Trinity and Original Unity, increase in us faith, increase hope, increase charity, free us, save us, justify us. Continue reading St. Anselm Oratio 1C (Draft)

St. Anselm Oratio IB (Draft)

Oratio Prima, Continued:


Immensam misericordiam tuam, misericors Deus et miserator, iterum exoro, remitte mihi omnes lubricae temeritatis offensas, ut anima mea benignitatis tuae dulcedine repleatur, et concessa venia plenae indulgentiae, quidquid pro proprio reatu delibui, totum per ineffabilem pietatem tuam dele et absterge.

Your immense [mercy], O [Tenderhearted] God and [Giver of Mercy], once more I extol; remit to me all the offenses of my deceitful temerity that my soul may be replete with the sweetness of You [benignity], and with a granted permission of full indulgence, whatever on account of my own guilt I besmear, the whole thing through your ineffable [piety] erase and scrub off.

Nec sit a me clementiae tuae longinqua miseratio, sed quidquid tuae voluntati contrarium, fallente diabolo, et propria iniquitate atque fragilitate [0856D] contraxi, tu pius et misericors ablue indulgendo.

Nor be far from me the [mercy] of your clemency, but whatever I have covenanted against your will with by the deceiving devil and on account of my own iniquity and fragility, do Thou [Pious] and [Tender-hearted] wash away by indulgence.

Sana vulnera, cunctaque remitte peccata, ut nullis a te iniquitatibus separatus, sed semper hic et 245 ubique defensionis tuae auxilio munitus, tibi Domino semper valeam adhaerere, et perpetuae gloriae quandoque portionem percipere, quam oculus non vidit, et auris non audivit, et in cor hominis non [0857A] ascendit quae praeparasti diligentibus te (I Cor. II, 9). Amen.

Heal wounds and all sins remit, that separated from you by no iniquities, but ever here and everywhere fortified by the aid of your defense, to You the Lord ever may I be hale to adhere, and to perceive some day a portion of your perpetual glory, which eye hath not seen and hear hath not heard, and into the heart of man arisen what Thou hast prepared for those loving you (I Cor 2:9).  Amen.


See 1A for notes on piety and benignity.

Misericors is very commonly rendered merciful but he’s played a synonym game by pairing it with miserator.  If we keep it simple, that would be “merciful and merciful” and that’s, uh, not a great translation.  He does the same thing with misericordia and miseratio, “mercy and…mercy.”  So we dig deep and try to draw on the etymology: misericors and misericordia touch upon feeling or sentiment, and hence “tender-hearted.”  Miserator is just putting an agent-ending on miserum, so it fun it should be rendered “Mercy-er.”  Perhaps merciful makes more sense here, but I would like to use something active or agent-oriented.  Hence Giver of Mercy…but now miseratio needs to be mercy leaving something awkward for misericordia.  Sigh.  Everyone: just learn Latin.  Srsly.

Contraxi here is literally to enter into a contract with, I think.  That makes fallente diabolo the indirect object, the partner of the contract…but I am not sure it is legit to do that in the ablative.  Syntax is neater with fallente diabolo as ablative absolute, but then sense is a little rougher.  This definitely needs a re-work.

St. Anselm Oratio IA (Draft)

St. Anselm’s Oratio Prima is a long prayer.  This will take a while to get up and probably should be split into parts.  I think each Amen signals the end of one composition and the beginning of another, giving us 3 prayers.  I’ll publish as 1A, 1B, and 1C with text and maybe some comments.

Scroll to the bottom for unbroken Latin, followed by unbroken English.


First Prayer


To the Holy Trinity

Adesto, sancta Trinitas, Deus unus omnipotens, Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus, qui non mortem, sed poenitentiam desideras peccatorum, me miserum et peccatorem fragilem et indignum a tua non repellas pietate.

Do Thou attend, Holy Trinity, One God Omnipotent, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, Who desirest not the death but rather the penitence of sinners, and repel me not—me, a wretched and fragile and unworthy sinner—from Your [piety]. Continue reading St. Anselm Oratio IA (Draft)

St. Anselm Oratio V (Draft)

Experimenting with a different layout:

Oratio V

Prayer 5

Ad Deum

To God

Ad obtinendam cordis compunctionem in oratione

For obtaining compunction of heart in prayer

Ignosce Domine, ignosce pie, ignosce et miserere, parce ignorantiae meae et multae imperfectioni meae.

Forgive O Lord, forgive tenderly, forgive and have mercy, spare my ignorance and my great imperfection. Continue reading St. Anselm Oratio V (Draft)

St. Anselm, Oratio IX: Translation Draft

Here’s the Latin text of one of St. Anselm’s more famous prayers, Oratio IX Ad Deum:

Omnipotens Deus, et misericors Pater, et bone Domine, miserere mihi peccatori.

Da mihi veniam peccatorum meorum, cavere et vincere omnes insidias, et tentationes et delectationes noxias, perfecte mente et actu vitare, quae prohibes, facere et servare quae jubes, credere, sperare, amare, velle quod et quantum et tu scis et vis, compunctionem humilitatis et pietatis, discretam abstinentiam et carnis mortificationem, ad te amandum, orandum, laudandum, meditandum, ad omnem secundum te actum et cogitatum, puram, sobriam, devotam mentem, veracem et efficacem mandatorum tuorum notitiam, dilectionem, facilitatem et effectum, semper, Domine ad meliora cum humilitate proficere et nunquam deficere.

Ne commitas me, Domine, voluntati meae, nec humanae ignorantiae, aut infirmitati, neque meis meritis, nec ulli alii quam tuae piae dispositioni.

Sed tu ipse clementer dispone me et omnes cogitatus et actus meos in beneplacito tuo, ut fiat a me, et in me et de me, tua semper sola voluntas.

Libera me ab omni malo, et perduc me in vitam aeternam.



I use the Penguin Classics translation of this prayer to start many of my classes.  Lately I’ve had the impulse to create my own translation of this prayer and the others of his that I use.

Before I toss out the draft (below), note the insanely long second sentence as given by Migne.  I think this has to be taken as a list or inventory, but I have not settled on a format that best expresses this.  I considered setting off the items of the list with hyphens, and may try that in another draft.  Any format relying on spacing or page layout can’t show up well in wordpress without me using a picture, sadly.

Here’s what I have for now, field-tested with my students but once: Continue reading St. Anselm, Oratio IX: Translation Draft

Physics of Deliberation

I ran into a new, weird idea filtering down to my students this year.  Whence came it?  God only knows, although it seems to be a distillate of scientism/materialism.  What is this monster?

In my Ethics class it manifests as a perversion of practical reasoning.  I had several students tell me this year that, after willing an end, the act of deliberation begins automatically.  One explicitly claimed that deliberation on means (counsel, in the Aquinas lingo) is an unconscious act.

My colleague saw a speculative variant in his Form VI Philosophy of Religion class.  Discussing inference, several students denied that it is possible to have a properly basic knowledge of anything–all is inference, all the way down.  After a bit of discussion, it became apparent to me that they were implicitly committed to saying that people who think they have basic knowledge are making an inference without being aware of it.

I typically mock the academy’s infatuation with talk of “intuitions” but in this case I’ll make an exception.  I can’t think of too many ideas that more violently oppose my intuition than the one my students are espousing above.  A rational deliberation being unconscious?  Rational operation that we are not aware of at all?  Ugh.

I can trace this back to another idea that I’ve been seeing for the last few years.  I think I may have ranted about it previously: the claim that emotions are what make us human. Continue reading Physics of Deliberation