October 9, 2009

The Delighted Trinity

This morning I had some time to get over to the St. Joseph's Seminary library to continue my project of reading St. Bonaventure's commentary on the Sentences. In the course of asking whether or not there are persons in God, I found this great quote, in which Bonaventure quotes Seneca:

Item, si summa iucunditas, cum "nullius boni sine socio sit iucunda possessio" ergo ad summam iucunditatem requiritur societas et ita pluritas.

If [God] is supreme delight, as "there is no joy in any good unless it be with a friend;" therefore supreme delight requires fellowship and thereby plurality."

This is why, by the way, friendship, society, sex, etc., are all imitations of God, and why they are therefore delightful.

Better translations welcome in the comments!


Qualis Rex said...

Definitely not a "better" translation, just a variant on the same:

Similarly (That being said), if (God) is absolute happiness, with “nothing good in possessing happiness without someone to share in it”, therefore absolute happiness requires fellowship and furthermore, diversity.

FYI, HAPPY FRIDAY, Father Charles!

Qualis Rex said...

One correction to the above, since it should be an "if/then" statement:

Similarly (That being said), if (God) is absolute happiness, with “nothing good in possessing happiness without someone to share in it”, then absolute happiness requires fellowship and furthermore, diversity.

And once again, God bless you, Father Charles, for your dedication to the preservation of Latin, the liturgical language of the Roman Catholic church, among your many MANY other duties as a priest. I'm not trying to give you a big head here, but you are sincerely a unique and valuable "commodity" in our church today. Good priests are hard enough to find. But good priests who know Latin???? Gimme a break!

: )

Brother Charles said...

No chance of giving me a 'big head,' QR. I learned a little Latin because I had to pass a test at school. I didn't even finish it, and was very surprised to have been judged as having passed.

Mark D. said...

Richard of St. Victor, if I am remembering right, once said that the doctrine of the Trinity was a necessary flowering of the belief that God is love, because love is never solitary. If God is love, God must be multi-personal.

Just a thought.


Brother Charles said...

The Victorine influence on St. Bonaventure is strong!

pennyante said...

In recent years, I have come to see the Trinity as God living in community with Himself.

Again, as Mark in Spokane wrote, love is never solitary...

Warren said...

Yes, Love is never solitary, and our understanding of God, in our small capacity for it, requires that we see in Him, that which he has given us the capacity to see, by how he made us.

Which is a pointy-headed way of saying, "yes, of course!". Which is how I often feel when the saints and the doctors of the church explain things. "Of course it must be so!" I say, glad that someone who has reflected on God, or on any subject at all, has found words to fit their contemplations into, so that they can share them with me.

Sometimes I think, if God is experienced by us, it is also by our being welcomed into His community, that what God is really doing, in Christ, is inviting us into the fellowship of the Trinity.

I think there is some quote from the Saints about that, too.


Timothy Johnson said...

Based on the logic of the argument, I would suggest another possible reading:

Likewise, if [there is a] highest happiness, [and] "because there is no joyful possession of any good without a companion", the highest joy therefore requires companions and thus plurality.

Brother Charles said...

Thanks for the help! When I'm on my next library visit, I shall be aware of my tendency to see antecedents where none are necessarily there! :)