The Meaning of Gravity.

The good of the force of gravity (whatever it’s source is) is that it gives order and determination of place to bodies. The radical and essential goodness we derive from this force is shown very strikingly in the first secret of Fatima:

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.

In speaking of the perdition of the damned, Sr. Lucia speaks of how their bodies are deprived of the good of gravity or of any other principle ordering them to a place (equilibrium). Gravity is a certain rudder that keeps us from drifting away. Gravity is essentially a principle of right order, and therefore can be considered according to properly natural science, as not only determined to a certain term (end) but to a good of bodies as such.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter said,

    December 30, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I had never thought of Hell as a place deprived of gravity, but it makes perfect sense that things would be disordered and chaotic. You are very perceptive for having noticed that connection while reading the text. I’m sure I would have missed it!

    This reminds me of something that has bothered me for a while about the dichotomy between philosophers of nature and physicists in the modern sense. Namely, how they view the four forces; the gravitational force, electromagnetic force, etc..

    Ancients frequently thought in terms of the natures of things, and moderns in terms of forces.

    Moderns tend to imagine that there are no natures, and instead there are these forces existing “out there” (independently of things somehow) acting on us “blobs of matter/energy/stuff”.

    But, how do they conclude to these (external) forces?

    What we *know* is that we see this or that thing *act* in *such and such* a way. And it just so happens that other things act in *the same way* (for example, when they fall in a vacuum at a certain speed). We call this similariy gravity. Fine. But how do you go from this to considering gravity as a *thing*? Is there any reason for supposing that gravity exists apart from the things we are seeing?, that it is an extrinsic principle existing “out there” rather than an intrinsic principle of the materiality of things themselves?

    Lately, while thinking about this, I have been having trouble imagining how a proof of this could be possible. I mean, even if you had a “force-o-meter”, it would still be a *thing* that you are knowing, and reading measurements from, by which you would know a force. I don’t see how they get beyond natured things to forces.

    Do you have any clarifying thoughts?


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