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96. The Ruling Power of Man in the State of Innocence

1. The first man had absolute rule and command over theanimate creatures of the earth. For God said (Gen. 1:26): "Lethim [man] have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the birdsof the air, and the beasts of the earth." Now dominion meanslordship, mastership, even ownership. All sentient creatures obeyedinnocent man and none disobeyed him. When, however, man disobeyedGod, these sentient creatures were no longer subject to man'sabsolute control or mastership.

2. Man was created as master of all earthly creatures. Andhe was master of his own powers and tendencies, finding in them norebellion against his reason, that is, against his intellectuallyenlightened free will.

3. Human beings are all equal as images and children ofGod. But, as we plainly see, there are otherwise many inequalitiesamong human beings. They differ in sex, size, age, tastes, manners,abilities, health, strength, skills, and in countless other ways.Now, in the state of innocence there would have been some of theseinequalities, but none that involved defect or fault, whether ofsoul or of body.

4. In the state of innocence, man could not have beenmaster of other men in the sense of holding them in thrall orslavery. But there would still have been need of a social order;there would have been rulers and subjects. Parents, too, would haveruled and guided their children. But there would have been noharshness of rule, no injustice, no resentment in those ruledagainst their rulers.

"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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