Sunday 7 August 2016

Moral impotence and the remedy - or how we might change



“In harmony with Meister Eckhart’s advice that people should think less about what they ought to do than about what they ought to be, Lonergan understood more deeply that (as Augustine showed that he had learned in the Confessions) the probabilities that shape our deeds depend profoundly on the kind of person we are, or on our authenticity. He had long since learned from Augustine and Aquinas that the remedy for moral impotence in relation to doing God’s will is not just a matter of learning the right thing to do in any or all circumstances, but of experiencing the delectatio victrix of falling in love with God.” [Frederick G. Lawrence, “Lonergan’s Search for an Ethics of Authenticity: Re-originating Augustine’s Hermeneutics of Love,” Lonergan’s Anthropology Revisited: The next fifty years of Vatican II, ed. Gerard Whelan (Rome: Gregorian and Biblical Press, 2016) 50.]

So in face of the common question, "how can I change? I want to change; but I find that I can't" - Fred Lawrence speaks about the experience of the love of God. It is the love of God that changes us. It is, in the old way of speaking, grace. When the heart of stone is replaced by the heart of flesh - when there is a change in the kind of person we are - then the probabilities shaping our deeds are changed, and our deeds change. 

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