Posts Tagged ‘St Thomas Aquinas’

Et similiter theologiae doctores sunt quasi principales artifices, qui inquirunt et docent qualiter alii debeant salutem animarum procurare. Simpliciter ergo melius est docere sacram doctrinam, et magis meritorium, si bona intentione agatur, quam impendere particularem curam saluti huius et illius; unde apostolus de se dicit, I ad Corinth. I, 17: non enim misit me Christus baptizare, sed evangelizare; quamvis baptizare sit opus maxime conferens saluti animarum; et II ad Timoth., II, 2, idem apostolus: commenda fidelibus hominibus qui idonei erunt et alios docere. (Quodlibet I q. 7, a.2)

And similarly the doctors of theology are like principal architects, who research and teach how others ought to work out the salvation of their souls. Simply put, therefore, it is better to teach Sacred Doctrine, and more so meritorious, if done in good intention, which hangs the particular care of salvation of this one and that; thus the Apostle speaks about himself, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” [I Cor 1.17]; although to baptize is work most suited for bringing about the salvation of souls; the Apostle again, “Commend to the faithful who will be suitable to teach others” [II Tim 2.2]. (translation mine)

St Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones de quolibet

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Unde intellectus plus participans de lumine gloriae, perfectius Deum videbit. Plus autem participabit de lumine gloriae, qui plus habet de caritate, quia ubi est maior caritas, ibi est maius desiderium; et desiderium quodammodo facit desiderantem aptum et paratum ad susceptionem desiderati. Unde qui plus habebit de caritate, perfectius Deum videbit, et beatior erit.

Hence the intellect which has more of the light of glory will see God the more perfectly; and he will have a fuller participation of the light of glory who has more charity; because where there is the greater charity, there is the more desire; and desire in a certain degree makes the one desiring apt and prepared to receive the object desired. Hence he who possesses the more charity, will see God the more perfectly, and will be the more beatified. [Ia q. 12 a. 1 co]

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae

In charity, we love God and neighbor (as well as ourselves) in the same act. Our love for God must always include our love of self and neighbor, and our love for self and neighbor must always be ordered to our love for God. At first glance this might appear to be a strange teaching. When we are loving the infinitely lovable God, must we have in view our far less lovable neighbor, let alone ourselves? Aquinas sees this form an eschatological perspective; “The aspect under which our neighbor is to be loved, is God, since what we ought to love in our neighbor is that he may be in God. Hence it is clear that it is specifically the same act whereby we love God, and whereby we love our neighbor” [ST IIa-IIae q.25 a.1]. The same holds with our love of self. Aquinas’ perspective is also rooted in the theology of creation. We love our neighbors, including our enemies, because insofar as they exist, the participate in God the Trinity. We love them as creatures called to attain to the fullness of beatific participation in God the Trinity. Thus we can love them without loving their sins. (8)

Matthew Levering, The Betrayal of Charity

n., Christianity The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love.

[Middle English charite, from Old French, Christian love, from Latin cāritās, affection, from cārus, dear. cf., Gr. ἀγάπη]

Benozzo Gozzoli, The Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas (15th cent.)

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Et in hoc scimus quoniam cognovimus eum si mandata eius observemus qui dicit se nosse eum et mandata eius non custodit mendax est in hoc veritas non est qui autem servat verbum eius vere in hoc caritas Dei perfecta est in hoc scimus quoniam in ipso sumus.

Καὶ ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐγνώκαμεν αὐτόν, ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν. ὁ λέγων ὅτι Ἔγνωκα αὐτὸν καὶ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ μὴ τηρῶν ψεύστης ἐστίν, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ ἡ ἀλήθεια οὐκ ἔστιν· ὃς δ’ ἂν τηρῇ αὐτοῦ τὸν λόγον, ἀληθῶς ἐν τούτῳ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ τετελείωται. ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐσμεν·

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, ‘I know him’, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. (2:3-5)

First Epistle of St. John

A lie [mendacium] may be in itself contrary to charity by reason of its false signification. For if this be about divine things, it is contrary to the charity of God, whose truth one hides or corrupts by such a lie; so that a lie of this kind is opposed not only to the virtue of charity, but also to the virtues of faith and religion: wherefore it is a most grievous and a mortal sin. [IIa-IIae q. 110 a. 4 co.]

St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae

n., the tendency to be untruthful

[from Late Latin mendācitās, from Latin mendāx untruthful]

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Creator ineffabilis, qui de thesauris sapientiae tuae tres Angelorum hierarchias designasti et eas super caelum empyreum miro ordine collocasti atque universi partes elegantissime distribuisti: Tu, inquam, qui verus fons luminis et sapientiae diceris ac supereminens principium, infundere digneris super intellectus mei tenebras tuae radium claritatis, duplices, in quibus natus sum, a me removens tenebras, peccatum scilicet et ignorantiam. Tu, qui linguas infantium facis disertas, linguam meam erudias atque in labiis meis gratiam tuae benedictionis infundas. Da mihi intelligendi acumen, retinendi capacitatem, addiscendi modum et facilitatem, interpretandi subtilitatem, loquendi gratiam copiosam. Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas. Tu, qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O Ineffable Creator, who in the riches of Thy wisdom didst appoint three hierarchies of Angels and didst set them in wondrous order over the highest heavens, and who didst apportion the elements of the world most wisely: do Thou, who art in truth the fountain of light and wisdom, deign to shed upon the darkness of my understanding the rays of Thine infinite brightness, and remove far from me the twofold darkness in which I was born, namely, sin and ignorance. Do Thou, who givest speech to the tongues of little children, instruct my tongue and pour into my lips the grace of Thy benediction. Give me keenness of apprehension, capacity for remembering, method and ease in learning, insight-in interpretation, and copious eloquence in speech. Instruct my beginning, direct my progress, and set Thy seal upon the finished work, Thou, who art true God and true Man, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

St Thomas Aquinas, “A Prayer Before Study”

Benozzo Gozzoli, The Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas (15th cent.)

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The ownership of property is not about power, and the wide distribution of property is not about a greater equilibrium of power. Rather, property has an end, which is to serve the common good. The universal destination of all material goods is in God. As Aquinas says, we should regard property as a gift from God, as gift that is only valid if we use it for the benifit of others (ST II-II66.1ad2). Thus Aquinas sanctions private ownership only insofar as it is put to its proper end, which is the good of all: “Man ought to possess external things, not as his own, but as common, so that, to wit, he is ready to communicate then to others in their need (ST II-II.62.2). Absent such a view of the true end of property, freedom means being able to do whatever one wants with one’s property, and property can thus become nothing more than a means of power over others. (29)

What is most important is the direct embodiment of free economic practices. From a Christian point of view, the churches should take an active role in fostering economic practices that are consonant with the true ends of creation. This requires promoting economic practices that maintain close connections among capital, labor, and communities, so that real communal discernment of the good can take place. Those are spaces in which true freedom can flourish. (32)

William Cavanaugh, Being Consumed


n., something owned; a possession.

[Middle English, from Old French propriete, from Latin proprietas, ownership]

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Effetti del Buon Governo in Campagna or “The Effects of Good Government in the Country” (c. 1338-1340)

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Thomas, then, did not regard Aristotle primarily as a historical author, any more than he so regarded Augustine or Dionysius Areopagita. He considered them as witnesses for the truth which revealed itself through them, both to himself and, he hoped, to his reader (not only of the Summa theologica but also of the commentaries on Aristotle); truth whose validity is established out of itself and by virtue of its own objective arguments. “If the teacher answers a question with mere citations, nudis auctoritatibus, then the listener will depart empty-handed, auditor…vacuus abscedet.” Insofar as philosophizing is in question, a historical author is not of primary interest, even if his name is Aristotle; of primary interest is the truth of the matters at hand. (54)

Josef Pieper, Guide to Thomas Aquinas

truth [truːθ]
n., the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual

[Old English triewth; related to Old High German gitriuwida fidelity, Old Norse tryggr true]

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Finally, and this was [St. Thomas Aquinas’] supreme achievement, when by his genius as a theologian he made use of Aristotle’s philosophy as the instrument of the sacred science which is, so to speak, “an impress on our minds of God’s own knowledge” (ST I, q. 1,a. 3,ad 2), he raised that philosophy above itself by submitting it to the illumination of a higher light, which invested its truth with a radiance more divine than human. Between Aristotle as viewed in himself and Aristotle viewed in the writings of St. Thomas is the difference which exists between a city seen by the flare of a torchlight procession and the same city bathed in the light of the morning sun. (61-62)

Jacques Maritain, An Introduction to Philosophy

n., “not a “wisdom of conduct or practical life that consists in acting well. It is a wisdom whose nature consists essentially in knowing.” (Maritain, 64)

[Middle English philosophie, from Old French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek φιλοσοφια]

n., the systematic study of Christian revelation concerning God’s nature and purpose, esp through the teaching of the Church

[Middle English theologie, from Old French, from Latin theologia, from Greek θεολογια]

Benozzo Gozzoli, The Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas (15th cent.)

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cōĭncīde΄, intransitive verb.  Occupy same portion of space; occur at and occupy same time; agree together or with; concur in opinion etc. [from medieval Latin coincidere (used unchanged in English contexts in 17th century.), or French coincider].


cōĭn΄cīdence, noun. (Instance of) being coincident; notable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connexion.  [from the preceding word (-ENCE) or French coincidence].


“The order of divine providence demands that there should be coincidence and chance in things.”

– St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, Part I, Chap. 74

Coincidences are spiritual puns.

– G.K. Chesterton, Irish Impressions.

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