Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Moral Grandeur of Humility

We are finite, and the object of morality is infinite (the essence of being). We have, therefore, continually to strive hard to overcome our limitation by reaching out to the infinite. Now, this effort of a finite being to measure itself with the infinite, is extremely irksome; because it entails, as it were, a disruption of itself, breaking down in a certain way the limits within which created beings are inclosed. And since these limits are natural to it, the result is that it loves them, and is naturally loth to pass beyond them, from a feeling that by thus allowing itself to fall into, and be absorbed by, the infinite, its individuality would be lost, and in a manner annihilated. Hence the moral grandeur of the act of Christian HUMILITY, or the continual annihilation of oneself before the Infinite Being.

Bl. Antonio Rosmini, Theodicy, Volume 2, p. 216. I'm not completely certain, but I suspect a bit of Bérulle in the background, directly or indirectly; Oratorian spirituality placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of anéantissement or annihilatio before God; if so, Malebranche is possibly the channel for it, since Malebranche, of course, is an Oratorian, and Rosmini is quite familiar with his work.

Rosmini also goes on to make an interesting connection to Indian philosophy, quoting the Manava-dharma-sastra (Laws of Manu), saying that it tries to ontologize this basic moral idea; while he thinks, of course, that this is an error, he says that it is also "a truth in disguise".

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