instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An individual substance of a loving nature

Before the thought fades, let me pull on the string hanging off this, from my previous post:
Even within a community as regulated as a monastery, a Christian is free to choose what sort of person he will be -- by which I mean, how he will love God, in this life and for eternity.
I say that "what sort of a person he will be" means "how he will love God" because of a notion I came up with about what a person is.

There's an old Scholastic definition (which comes, I see, from Boethius) that a "person" is "an individual substance of a rational nature." That covers humans and angels, and with a little elbow grease can be wrenched around to cover the Divine Persons as well.

A while ago, it occurred to me that talk of a "rational nature" doesn't quite get at it. More precisely, it struck me that rationality is a means to the end of love.

As far as I'm concerned, a "person" is a being who by nature knows other persons as lovable and loves them.

That means, obviously, that if there were no other persons, a person couldn't actually be what a person by nature is. Good thing God is a Trinity. And truer words were never spoken than, "It is not good for man to be alone."