Irascible Perceptions

The good which is difficult or arduous, considered as good, is of such a nature as to produce in us a tendency to it, which tendency pertains to the passion of hope; whereas considered as arduous or difficult, it makes us turn from it; and this pertains to the passion of despair. In like manner the arduous evil, considered…

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What is Beauty?

The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful. – Plato I recently ran across this quote on a new friends website and have been blessed to ponder it for the past few days. I recall having read somewhere in the works of St Thomas, though now I do not remember where, that…

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The Letterman

Where Soto Street and Whittier Blvd meet in the City of the Angeles sits a collection of buildings which has housed the young men enrolled at Salesian High School since 1958. The year after the school was founded saw the institution of the schools Letterman Society. Every year the young men who are enrolled in this society,…

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How to Grow in Virtue

In the Ethics Aristotle says that the one thing which creates virtue is virtue itself. Now obviously this presents a problem for individuals trying to grow in particular virtues, after all how can I become better at managing fear, that is the virtue of fortitude, or moderating pleasures, that is the virtue of temperance, if I…

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What is Emotion?

The history of what we mean by the word Emotion is a fascinating example of the variety of meanings, and changing hierarchy of importance among the different meanings, a word can have. Emotion is based on a Latin conjunction of ex movere or to move out but is first used by the French in the 1700s to describe a mental disturbance. The English…

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Active Recollection and Mindfulness

Mindfulness Meditation and books like Mindsight by Dr. Dan Siegel have received, especially among psychiatric circles, much attention in recent years. Even the Simpsons and South Park have, in their unique ways, made reference to Mindfulness in their latest seasons. Nevertheless, it is a frequent reaction among Catholics and Christians to instantly reject practices which look too…

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What is a Therapist?

Those working the field of psychology are generically called either a therapist or counselor. Each of these titles present interesting histories. Therapist is from a Greek word meaning minister to or to heal. Thus the title physical therapist makes a great deal of sense, it belongs to those who minister to or heal the body. It is interesting that we use the word Doctor to describe…

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Raising Rational Animals

It is no revelation to parents that adolescents – teenagers – require different parenting skills than younger children do. This is never more apparent than when the adolescent, raised in a family with a clearly articulated morality rejects this in favor of the predominant culture. While we do not pretend to delve into all the possible…

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Praising Rational Animals

Praise is an essential part of growth in virtue. For it is by praise and blame that we know what is good and bad. Praise also has the effect of making us feel good and happy consequently teaching us what actions lead to happiness, which is the ultimate goal of virtue. So if we wish…

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What’s an Adolescent?

Adolescent is a Latin word meaning to grow up or nearing maturity. Anyone who actually has an adolescent in their house will be tickled to know that the word is very closely related to alere, another Latin word meaning to eat. Whereas the word teenager simply denotes that one is between thirteen and nineteen years old. In the States we tend to forget that…

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