The themes around the Easter candle are so rich I'd like to look into them a little more. Last night after doing the previous post, I checked what Pope Benedict said in his book Jesus of Nazareth and was pleasantly surprised to see that he mentions Epiphany in connection with Jesus' baptism. I had forgotten that since I read it a while ago. He draws on themes from the Eastern liturgies in that part of the chapter.
But right now, since I've finished my critique of Dawn Eden's thesis, I'd like to thank a few commenters in particular, those who have been most active in commenting here, whom I've got to know at least a little bit through their comments.
Lauretta brings a wonderful voice of experience to this discussion. She has given her own testimony as to the way learning about TOB has enriched her marriage, for both her and her husband. It is a beautiful testimony, and one that is very powerful because of its lived experience. Lauretta has been married over 40 years, so she certainly has a lot of experience in this area. Thank you, Lauretta, for your calm serenity during the sometimes heated discussions. You have shown such a great balance, learning from everyone and being ready to reconsider ideas in light of new information. And your experience has been a great source of light for others. You remind me of something St. Thomas says concerning the virtue of prudence: "In matters of prudence a person stands in the greatest need of being taught by others, especially by his elders who have acquired fair insight into the outcome of human actions. Accordingly Aristotle observes that the unproved assertions and opinions of experienced, older, and wise people deserve as much attention as those they support by proofs, for experience gives them an eye for principles." (II-II, q. 49, a. 3) Yes, Lauretta, your wisdom has given you great insight!
Wade has been a wonderful voice of reason in this discussion. From the beginning he has shown balance and fairness in considering the various aspects of this debate. In his own thesis, found on his blog, he has developed ideas regarding TOB that are interesting and useful. Wade has a special fondness for logic and has sometimes caught me in a fallacy or two. I hate committing fallacies, having taught a logic class in the past, so I should know better, but I fall into them just like anyone else. So I do appreciate him pointing them out.
I think Wade especially exemplifies the aspect of prudence that St. Thomas calls reasoned judgment: "According to the Ethics, to furnish good advice is an office of prudence. Now being advised implies a sort of casting about from point to point: this is done by reasoning. Consequently the prudent man should be a good reasoner. And because the qualities necessary for complete prudence are called its integral parts or components, well-reasoned judgment should be placed among them." (II-II, q. 49, a. 5) He could have been describing Wade.
Kevin brings a voice of ardent enthusiasm to the debate, the voice of a young man on fire for his faith. He also has his own blog and is a good writer who can develop intelligent arguments. It is great to see people like Kevin in the younger generation of Catholics, who are not only well-informed but love the faith and want to pass it on to others. In debating certain points, I don't want to lose sight of the most important thing we have in common, our Catholic faith. Kevin, I have to apologize for the times I did get a little exasperated and was either a bit curt in my responses to you or deleted your comments (but I only deleted a few)! Yet I have to admire the way you didn't get bothered by that, and instead you came back with another good argument! Thanks for all your contributions here.
You remind me of what St. Thomas says about acumen, or shrewdness in debate: "Acumen is taken for shrewdness, of which it is part. For shrewdness is quickness of wit in any matter, whereas acumen, according to the Posterior Analytics, is a ready and rapid lighting on the middle term. [he's applying it here to formal logic debates] All the same, that philosopher who makes acumen part of prudence takes it generally as equivalent to all shrewdness, and so he says that it is the flair for finding the right course in sudden encounters." (II-II, q. 49, a. 4)
Christina also has her own blog and is a mother of seven children. So she brings a very unique perspective, that of a young mother with a growing family. For her, TOB is not just an academic theory, but is so woven into her life and family that it forms part of her whole way of thinking. She has been persistent in debating the ideas that are dear to her, yet ready to see how other people think about them even if she may not agree. Thank you too, Christina, for your contributions to this discussion.
St. Thomas speaks of domestic management as a special type of prudence, and that's exactly what you have: "The household comes midway between the individual person and the state or realm, for just as the individual is part of the family, so the family is part of the political community. Accordingly, as ordinary prudence, which rules the life of the individual, is distinct from political prudence, so should domestic prudence be distinguished from others." (II-II, q. 50, a. 3) As a mother of 7 children you certainly know a lot about this kind of prudence!
Thanks also to everyone else who has commented. The debate isn't over, of course, but I hope to blog a little more about the more positive aspects of TOB, less than the polemical ones. I pray for all those who visit this blog, whether they comment or not.
I'm also indebted to the online articles of Dr Janet Smith, both the one on Eden's thesis, and the one in response to Alice von Hildebrand. I've drawn some thoughts from them that were very useful.
It would also be appropriate to thank both Dawn Eden and Christopher West, since this discussion / debate about TOB has helped me and many others to think about things more carefully, go back to the sources and learn more, and thinking about TOB always enriches my life.