What Thomas Aquinas has to say about our Twelve Powers
What I have to offer this morning is an understanding of Unity’s Twelve Powers based on the Christian metaphysical notions of Being, Truth, Goodness and Beauty. It is valuable for at least two reasons: first, it does not reject the teachings that have been passed on to us and, second, it is an honest attempt to move our understanding of truth forward by combining 2,500 years of metaphysical religion with 120 years of Fillmore teachings.
It is also valuable because it’s practical. Like the post I made a few months ago about Frances, Cora and Catherine, Unity’s hidden metaphysical framework, it can be conveyed in one graphic image, and it can be understood and practiced in less than 30 minutes.
Take a look at the graphic showing the Twelve Powers. What Charles Fillmore referred to as Understanding has been called Intellect or Reason by the great Christian metaphysicians. This faculty or power seeks to know Truth and, at a human level, it attempts to find Truth by means of philosophy. If applied well, Intellect will be successful in obtaining Truth.
But note that the arrow points from Intellect to Wisdom, which Charles Fillmore called Judgment. Saint Thomas Aquinas declared that our intellectual search for Truth will be successful but not perfected; the perfection of Intellect is Wisdom and it is not perfected by philosophy but by mysticism.
Now look at the arrow linking Will to Love. Emilie Cady and others have said that the human faculty of Will is God tugging at our heart for what is Good. While Intellect seeks Truth, Will seeks the Good. Further, at a human level Will attempts to obtain the Good through metaphysics, just as Intellect seeks Truth by means of philosophy. Most important, like the perfection of Intellect as Wisdom, the Will is perfected as Love, according to Thomas Aquinas. And, as with Wisdom, Love is not found by metaphysics but by mysticism.
You should see the pattern: six foundational faculties given at birth seek greater things by human means over a human lifetime. They seek the well known transcendental truths: Being (Life), Truth (Understanding), Goodness (Will) and Beauty (Imagination) and also some less well known by means of Renunciation and Faith.
Isn't it interesting that Will and Intellect (immature understanding) sit opposite Love and Wisdom (mature judgment) in the Twelve Powers diagram? Is it possible that Will is truly perfected as Love and Intellect is truly perfected as Wisdom?
If so, what happens if we apply this same pattern to the other powers? Are we not endowed with Imagination, Faith, Life and Release? What happens as these powers are perfected through life?
- Does not the perfection of Imagination bring Order into life?
- Does not the perfection of Faith provide us with stillness and Strength?
- Does not the perfection of Life make us sizzle with Zeal?
- Does not the perfection of Release bring us Power?
Thomas calls God’s creation the “first act” and he calls our life journey the “second act.” Is it not possible that Faith, Imagination, Will, Understanding, Life and Renunciation are innate powers endowed in God’s “first act” so that we might perfect our powers of Order, Strength, Wisdom, Love, Power and Zeal in our “second act”?
Further, according to Thomas, God’s “first act”, our creation, is ongoing throughout life, it never stops. God is, as Meister Eckhart said, “ever begetting the begotten.” This ever begetting is what we know as the Providence of God. Our perfection is a composite of our own “second act” and the ongoing providence of God’s “first act.” Aquinas says the “execution of divine providence is carried out by secondary causes.”1
Maybe it would be worthwhile to revisit these teachings from Thomas Aquinas, the most influential philosopher/theologian of the Catholic faith. Maybe Emma Curtis Hopkins, Emilie Cady, Charles Fillmore and others were aware of some of these teachings as they began formulating their new understanding of practical Christianity. Maybe revisiting these things can provide some context for our understanding of metaphysical teachings, such as The Twelve Powers. If so, we might find out that Truth is eternal and what we have inherited from the Christian church does not need to be deconstructed and dissolved.
What's more, if we apply our metaphysical discoveries to traditional teachings then maybe the Christian church will be enriched in some way. Maybe applying the Twelve Powers to established Christian teachings will be helpful to Christians who are looking for a better way. We might find out that God has established the Unity movement to help mainstream Christianity move forward and into the 21st century. If so, we will find that our Intellect has become perfected as Wisdom and our Will has become perfected as Love.
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Listen to Mark’s message