Tag Archives: Duns Scotus

8 November: Duns Scotus’s Oxford.

Towery city and branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark charmèd, rook racked, river-rounded;
The dapple-eared lily below thee; that country and town did
Once encounter in, here coped & poisèd powers;

Thou hast a base and brickish skirt there, sours
That neighbour-nature thy grey beauty is grounded
Best in; graceless growth, thou hast confounded
Rural, rural keeping — folk, flocks, and flowers.

Yet ah! this air I gather and I release
He lived on; these weeds and waters, these walls are what
He haunted who of all men most sways my spirits to peace;

Of realty the rarest-veinèd unraveller; a not
Rivalled insight, be rival Italy or Greece;
Who fired France for Mary without spot.

from “Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins Now First Published” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ed. Robert Bridges.

Blessed John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) was one of those remarkable Franciscans – the first of them was our patron, Agnellus of Pisa (1195-1236 – who helped make the early Oxford University into one of the great European centres of learning. Hopkins, the 19th Century Jesuit priest and scholar, admired Scotus, who died on this day in 1308, in Cologne. How European we were in those times!

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18 September: What is Theology Saying? XXVIII: a work of Grace is a work of nature.

eildons (640x334)

The Eildon Hills in the countryside where Duns Scotus was born.

From the Second Century to the time of Saint Augustine in the Fifth, Church teaching felt it imperative to defend God in the freedom of salvation against those emphasising self-perfection through sheer moral effort. The Twelfth Century saw Grace as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, emphasising God’s initiative. Duns Scotus – at the end of the Thirteenth Century – said grace is the supernatural habit of Charity, grace is a loving disposition.

What matters is that God’s grace is necessary for everyone. It is redemptive, healing grace in a broken world in which we have never seen anyone attaining natural happiness by human effort independently of God. Karl Rahner makes two points: in the historical situation in which we find ourselves we have been called by God to a life of grace. This call applies to everyone – pure nature people did not, do not and will not exist. Secondly, if grace has any meaning at all, it is God’s invitation, working at the core of human existence – working through our humanness, spontaneity and creativity – our ability to think and take possession of our being and make appropriate decisions. This means that Grace cannot be separate from the realm of experience. It can only be a change in the way we experience life. The supernatural cannot be regarded as beyond consciousness, if it were it would make no sense.

It is not necessary to suppose that God’s offer of friendship is communicated in an extra-sensory way outside our experience. It is communicated by the happening of Jesus in the world, and by the community of believers extending through history. So if we ask what difference Grace makes, it makes all the difference in the world to everything and everybody. But if we ask someone to point out exactly the effects of grace in a situation, in contrast to natural efforts alone – it is not a valid question. Grace is not parallel to nature, but transforms and sustains it. Everything that is a work of Grace is also a work of nature, there is no way of separating them and looking at them one at a time.

AMcC

John Duns Scotus’ homeland in the Scottish borders.

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Agnellus’s home in Oxford

 

agnellusfull Agnellus of Pisa did not stay long in Canterbury, but moved on to Oxford, where the Franciscans and the Dominicans set the University on its feet, intellectually.

Of course, the friary was liquidated by Henry VIII, and the buildings plundered. Friar Tom Herbst (TJH) told me that Blessed Agnellus was buried somewhere under the shopping centre car park.

Well, what he did not say was that a great deal more was under there; Friar Chris Dyczek (CD) told me that excavations were under way, and now there is news of what has been found.

This interesting report comes from The Independent newspaper’s website. Oxford Friary

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6 March: At-one-ment

eildons (640x334)

The Eildon Hills and the countryside where Duns Scotus was born.

Janet and I were discussing matters theological over dinner. What is communal living, like L’Arche, about? I recalled the suffering manifest in some core members from the early days of the community, people who had left incarceration in hospitals and had to learn that they could live a life where they were valued.

From their suffering we moved to talk of the Crucifixion, where Christians have some explaining to do. It’s not difficult to imagine people concluding that a God who demanded the sacrifice of animals, let alone human beings is a cruel god, not a loving shepherd. Janet shared how the Franciscan Richard Rohr takes sacrifice, building on the work of his confrere, John Duns Scotus, in this reflection from his website: Atonement not atonement .

Well worth reading during Lent. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God, as Friar Richard says, not the other way about.

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‘John Duns Scotus on the Uniqueness of the Human Person’: Ex Corde Lecture

Please note change of date to November 30

‘John Duns Scotus 

on the Uniqueness of the Human Person’

Wednesday 30 November

7pm to 8pm

At the Franciscan Study Centre, Giles Lane,

Canterbury, CT2 7NA

scotus-reading

Given by Sr. Mary Elizabeth Share FMDM

Scotus affirms the importance and the dignity of each person.

Each and every individual is endowed with a special value and uniqueness. There has never been nor will there ever be another individual being identical to you or to me; not even a clone.

God created each and every human person utterly and entirely unique.

All are welcome. An opportunity to ask questions will follow the lecture.

We ask for a small donation to cover costs.

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Ex Corde Lectures: ‘John Duns Scotus on the Uniqueness of the Human Person’

Please Note the change of date to November 30

‘John Duns Scotus 

on the Uniqueness of the Human Person’

Wednesday 30 November

7pm to 8pm

At the Franciscan Study Centre, Giles Lane,

Canterbury, CT2 7NA

scotus-reading

Given by Sr. Mary Elizabeth Share FMDM

Scotus affirms the importance and the dignity of each person.

Each and every individual is endowed with a special value and uniqueness. There has never been nor will there ever be another individual being identical to you or to me; not even a clone.

God created each and every human person utterly and entirely unique.

 

All are welcome. An opportunity to ask questions will follow the lecture.

We ask for a small donation to cover costs.

fidc-banner

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August 7: John Duns Scotus Festival 2016

“The fall was not the cause of Christ’s predestination and if no one had fallen … Christ would still have been predestined in the same way.” Blessed John Duns Scotus.

The idea that God was coming to be part of his creation – whatever mess humans may make of our corner of it – has great appeal to me. For an imperfect analogy, just think of the way we play: even adults can get lost in a world of our own making, like my friend John with his model railways. See our post for 14 May: A World of My Own . I’m sure I oversimplify Scotus, but I am learning to rejoice in the world of God’s making. I hope you get chance to over the summer.

This post looks ahead to Autumn and the 2016 John Duns Scotus Festival which will take place in and around Duns in Berwickshire, Scotland (not too far from Edinburgh) during September and October.

Born in Duns 750 years ago this year, John Duns Scotus rose to become one of  the leading philosophers of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. Educated at Oxford and in Paris, he was a leading figure in some of the great arguments of the Church, with his followers earning the name ‘Dunces’ from the followers of his rival St Thomas Aquinas – the origin of the dunce’s cap. They were called this not because they were stupid, but because they stuck to the teachings of Duns Scotus.

A series of events is planned to mark this occasion designed to re-awaken interest in this son of Duns.

from the publicity flyer for the Festival.

The Catholic Churches in Berwickshire have posted details of the Festival, beginning on 17th September with an exhibition and lecture. Berwickshire RC Churches There you will also find pictures of sites in Duns associated with Blessed John Duns Scotus, more biographical details and links to sites about his writings.

MMB.

This is the Festival Website:

enquiries@dunsscotus2016.com

 

 

 

 

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17th March – The human is now at home in the divine

 

nasaM81galaxy

NASA image.

Grace is our gifted birth right to live within creation being fully alive. Creation’s history has never known a graceless time. The genuinely human is now at home in the divine – which is how our liturgy concludes prayer with through Jesus… This began with Creation and is completed through the Incarnation. It is often asked: What was God doing before Creation? Augustine answers by pointing out that time and space began with Creation – there was no before or after.

S Francis knew that if you accept that the finite can express the infinite [Jesus as a baby makes the all of God present] and the physical is the door into the spiritual – e.g. the Incarnation, then all that we need is now – when this is the way to that. Heaven includes earth, time leads to the timeless. There is no sacred and secular, only sacred and desecrated things which we desecrate by doing it my way. There is but one Creation.

The abstract doesn’t get us very far, yet sadly so much religion is ideology rather than a real awareness of presence. Yet we can only start from where we are. As Pope Francis said: all people all over the world are rejecting an ideological [from the top down] form of religion, to recapture the way of Jesus. But our lack of fascination turns us away from this. To be fascinated is to be taken out of oneself for a moment – to transcend self; which is permanent in God who is totally transcendent. To be fascinated is to taste something of God.

All being can speak with one voice – what Duns Scotus called the univocity of being. What I am, you are also: Creation is a symphony of mutual sympathy; which compelled Augustine to sum it up with: In the end there is only Christ loving himself. God is not out there until we first experience God in here. Francis sought to appreciate this with the heartfelt plea: Who are you, God and who am I? When created and uncreated are totally one this is the Grace of being fully alive. Everything being itself enjoys what happened in Jesus being fully himself – God is present.

AMcC

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Sunday 24th January – St. Francis de Sales

 FRANCOISSALES

Born 30 miles south of Geneva in 1567, Francis de Sales had a crisis about where his life would end, when he was 19. He feared that he was destined for hell. But prayer and religious reading helped him to focus on free will alongside grace, and to keep in mind that Jesus is “the one who saves.” He came to emphasize our human capacity to love in the present moment and “the prior, unconditional goodness and love of God.” His writings about this won him the title of the Doctor of Divine Love. It is only because we have the power to love, he taught, that is, to go out to another for the other’s sake, that we humans can be the crowning point of creation (as in Col. 1:13 or Eph. 1.1). Through his friendship with Jeanne de Chantal, he set up the Visitation Sisters as a community of prayer, open to women whose health or age prevented them from joining an existing order.

His spirituality took some of its direction from Teresa of Avila, preferring gospel relationships to ecstasies or revelations. But his focus was also on friendship (using Augustine’s Confessions and Aelred of Rievaulx). Since peace should extend from the heart into all aspects of life, loyalty, generosity, respect and frank counsel would always be most valued. Peaceful joy makes us more affable and humble, more able to be a friend. Franciscan writers, Raymond Llull and Duns Scotus, also taught him to see that Christ not only begins our friendships but keeps them alive.

CD.

 

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Blessed John Duns Scotus

The Eildon Hills in the countryside where Duns Scotus was born.

The Eildon Hills in the countryside where Duns Scotus was born. February 2013.

The feast of Duns Scotus almost caught me unawares. I share these thoughts from Benedict XVI’s audience of 7th July 2010. Christ is the fulfilment of creation, not an afterthought forced by sin.

Duns Scotus held that the Son of God would have been made man even if humanity had not sinned.

“To think that God would have given up such a task had Adam not sinned would be quite unreasonable! I say, therefore, that the fall was not the cause of Christ’s predestination and that if no one had fallen … Christ would still have been predestined in the same way.”

In the opinion of Duns Scotus the Incarnation of the Son of God, planned from all eternity by God the Father at the level of love, is the fulfilment of creation and enables every creature, in Christ and through Christ, to be filled with grace and to praise and glorify God in eternity.

As a faithful disciple of St Francis, Duns Scotus liked to contemplate and preach the Mystery of the saving Passion of Christ, as the expression of the loving will, of the immense love of God … Moreover this love was not only revealed on Calvary but also in the Most Blessed Eucharist, for which Duns Scotus had a very deep devotion …

 “just as this love, this charity, was at the origin of all things, so too our eternal happiness will be in love and charity alone: ‘willing, or the loving will, is simply eternal life, blessed and perfect’”.

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is the centre of history and of the cosmos, it is he who gives meaning, dignity and value to our lives!

http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100707.html

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