Post 3000!!!!--Participated Theonomy

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Those of you who went to Catholic Universities and who studied theology and moral theology already know more about this than I could possibly share. But reading through one of my many books, I stumbled upon this term and concept and felt that it would make a marvelous addition and reminder as I look back over my posts, garnering from it them some of the insights I had a various times.

from Living the Good Life
Mark Lowery

Participated theonomy is a fancy way of saying that God's truth is build for us--his moral law (theonomy) is something we can really participate or partake in.

The notion of "participation is easier to understand if we consider another aspect of the Christian life: God's grace dwelling in us. It has "twin" aspects: First, sanctifying grace is not a thing we have in our souls, but is the very life of the Triune God dwelling--pulsating, if you will--within our very being. Grace is God's love poured into our hearts (see Rom 5:5).

Second, looked at from our angle, when God pours himself into us, we participate in him (see VS [Veritatis Splendor} 73, and CCC 1709, 1987-2016). And part of God's being is his law--not a set of rules only, as a heteronomy would have it, but the whole set of principles that puts our moral lives in order.

Twin moments again: When God pours himself into us, he pouts that "order " into us. (Later we'll see that this is precisely what "natural law" is.) From our angle we partake in that order. It is there for our happiness.

That's what participated theonomy is. When you see this term throughout the book, think "God's truth is friendly to me" or "God's truth is meant to make me truly happy.

Apart from an eccentric use of colons and italics, this passage was a superb introduction to the terminology of moral theology and to the central concept that we participate in God's law, and as God is uniate and simple (even while be triune--go ask the Thomists to explain this one) we participate in God's life itself.

A little later we have this magnificent little zinger.

Source as above

Here is another "pastoral aid" that this understanding yields: When you embrace the Church's moral stance of participated theonomy, expect to be misunderstood by people on both of the opposite extremes. Those who are positioned within autonomy will look at participated theonomy and see it is as heteronomous [control by an exterior rigid set of laws]. Because you claim, with the Church, to have access to truths that are absolute in nature, you'll be caricatured as an intolerant rigid fundamentalist who wants to impose one opinion on everyone.

On the other had, those who are positioned heteronomously will look at participated theonomy as far too autonomous for their tastes. Because you claim, with the Church, that the solution to our current moral crisis in not a return to the pre-Vatican II past, you'll be caricatured as a loose, wimpy Catholic without any moral fiber.

In the midst of these two misunderstanding, be patient and non-polemical. Take some comfort in knowing that when you are misunderstood by two polar opposites, that's a good sign that you’re getting something right!

I wanted this "anniversary post" to be something of substance--not too much substance I hope, but something that might hearken back to some of the better posts that have been made in the course of this long run.

And I implore your prayers that I might continue this endeavor for as long (and absolutely no longer than) God wills and directs. I love being here among bright, witty, talented, interesting people who are so ready to help one another live the Christian life.

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yay! I get to leave the first comment on post #3000!

Thank you so much for Flos Carmeli. i>Ad multos postes!



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 10, 2004 7:58 AM.

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