Let us [...] put ourselves in the school of St. Thomas and of his masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae. It was never finished and yet it is a monumental work: It contains 512 questions and 2,669 articles. It is coherent reasoning, in which the application of human intelligence to the mysteries of the faith proceeds with clarity and depth, interlacing questions and answers, in which St. Thomas deepens the teaching that comes from sacred Scripture and from the Fathers of the Church, above all St. Augustine. In this reflection, in the encounter with true questions of his time, which are often also our questions, St. Thomas, also using the methods and thought of ancient philosophers, in particular of Aristotle, thus arrives at precise, lucid and pertinent formulations of the truth of the faith, where truth is a gift of faith, [where it] shines and becomes accessible to us, through our reflection. However, such effort of the human mind, Aquinas reminds us with his very life, is always illumined by prayer, by the light that comes from on high. Only one who lives with God and with the mysteries can also understand what they say.[...]
I would like to propose some simple, essential and convincing examples of the content of the teaching of St. Thomas. In his booklet on the Symbol of the Apostles he explains the value of faith. Through it, he says, the soul is united to God, and something like a shoot of eternal life is produced; life receives a sure orientation, and we overcome temptations easily. To those who object that faith is nonsense, because it makes one believe something that does not fall under the experience of the senses, St. Thomas gives a very articulated answer, and recalls that this is an inconsistent doubt, because human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything. Only in the case that we could know perfectly all visible and invisible things, would it then be genuine nonsense to accept truths purely on faith. However, it is impossible to live, St. Thomas observes, without trusting the experience of others, where personal knowledge does not reach. Hence it is reasonable to have faith in God who reveals himself and in the testimony of the Apostles: they were few, simple and poor, dismayed by the Crucifixion of their Teacher; and yet many wise, noble and rich persons were converted in a short time upon listening to their preaching. It is, in fact, a historically striking phenomenon, to which with difficulty one can give any other reasonable answer, other than that of the Apostles' encounter with the Risen Lord.
zaterdag 26 juni 2010
St. Thomas (3)
Afgelopen woensdag sloot de paus zijn drieluik over St. Thomas van Aquino af (hier de vertaling van Zenit). We brengen twee fragmenten: