William of St Thierry on Beatitude as a Common Good

In his book on the primacy of common good and the subsequent controversy (on which I happen to be writing a dissertation) Charles De Koninck emphasizes repeatedly that beatitude is a properly common good, one of its nature communicable to many and lovable in its superabundant communicability, and that the sin of the fallen angels consists precisely in a practical denial of the primacy of the common good. I was delighted to find the same teaching in the early Cistercian Abbot William of St Thierry:

Every one of the angels and good spirits who loves you, loves me too–me, who also love myself in you; this I know that everyone abides in you and can have knowledge of the prayers and thoughts of men, hears me in you, in whom I also return thanks for their glory. Everyone who has you for his treasure helps me in you, and it is not possible for him to envy me my share in you. Only the apostate spirit takes pleasure in our wretchedness, and counts our benefit his bane; for he has fallen away from the common good (communi omnium bono) and from true happiness, and is no longer subject to the truth. Hating the common good, he therefore rejoices in isolation, hugging a joy belonging to himself alone. (De Contemplando Deo X)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s