Choose a topic from Part 2B:

172. The Cause of Prophecy

1. The knowledge of the genuine prophet cannot beaccounted for by any natural power in himself. This knowledge isfrom God. It is revealed knowledge, not acquired knowledge, and Godis its cause. St. Peter says (II Pet. 1:21): "Prophecy camenot by the will of man . . . but the holy men of God spoke,inspired by the Holy Ghost."

2. In the universe of creatures, lower things areregularly directed by higher things and so up to the highest. Inthe world of creatural intellects, the angelic is superior to thehuman. It is fitting, therefore, that the knowledge to be utteredin prophecy should be conveyed to the human prophet by angels.

3. It cannot be said that God selects as prophets men of asuitable disposition for the office of prophet. God chooses asprophets whom he will, regardless of natural abilities anddispositions. The infiniteCreator can instantly produce inany man the qualifications naturally needed (as, for instance, thepower to speak, or the ability to use an unfamiliar language), justas he produces the supernatural knowledge and the authority of theprophet.

4. Indeed, if God choose, the office of prophet may beexercised by a person who is not even in the state of grace. Forprophecy is primarily a matter of knowledge, which pertains to theintellect, whereas grace or charity pertains primarily to the will.Yet it is most unlikely that a man of sinful and passionate lifeshould be made a prophet.

5. The evil spirits are fallen angels; by their angelicintellect they know things that man cannot naturally know, and theycan reveal these things to man. But this revelation is neitherdivine nor supernatural. One who proclaims knowledge acquired fromdemons is not, in a strict sense, a prophet; at best he is to becalled "a false prophet."

6. Even such "a false prophet" may speak truth;indeed, he must offer some truth, or he would quickly bediscredited, and could win no one to believe the essential falsityhe wishes to propagate.

"The name of Jesus, pronounced with reverence and affection, has a kind of power to soften the heart. "
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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"A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se."
St Philip Neri

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