S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Intellectual & Spiritual in one!

I was struck with what I have read from the Office of Readings (Breviary) this morning. The second reading was from a conference on the creed (Credo Deum) by St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P. the Saint whose memory the Church celebrates today. In that conference, St. Thomas said that there is a certain meaning and logic for God's Son to suffer. He gave two reasons: the first is for the remedy for sin and the second is to give us an example for action. Quite weird I must admit, but later on I began to realize why.

By suffering on the cross Jesus Christ redeemed humanity and has paid the price for man's salvation. Thus, by his sufferings and pains we were saved. By his wounds we were healed and made whole. The first reason. The second is perhaps a more profound one -- to give us an example for action. Christian life is never easy. Christ assured us only one thing on this earth when we sincerely follow him, that we will suffer as he did. But does this mean that our God is a sadistic God? Not at all. Jesus showed us the way to salvation -- to suffer. Simply to suffer and by suffering I mean that we are able to denounce ourselves and our carnal pleasures in order to embrace truly the life that Jesus embraced. To shun before us the desires and pleasures of the flesh for the things of heaven. This, in itself, is suffering indeed!

And I believe that this is the wisdom and the gift of St. Thomas Aquinas to the Church. To allow us to see what is beyond, to make us realize the essentials of the Christian life. That the cross does lead to the empty tomb; that suffering will be conquered by glory.

To end this simple and short reflection, I invite us to pray with St. Thomas this wonderful prayer which he himself composed. That with God's grace, we may surmount every suffering and pain, and through our afflictions in this life, we may sanctify the world.

Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. AMEN.

St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P. was born in Italy to rich parents in the year 1226. He became a Dominican Friar and became a student of St. Albert the Great. St. Thomas has been considered the Father of Scholastic Philosophy. His greatest work is the Summa Theologica. He died in the year 1274. He was canonized in 1323 by Pope John XXII and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1567 by Pope Pius V. He is considered the Patron of Philosophers. Let us pray for all the Dominican Bishops, Priests, Friars, and Sisters as we remember St. Thomas Aquinas.


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