Friday, January 28, 2005

Reading for (and from) St. Thomas Aquinas

Here are some words from the Angelic Doctor himself. They are taken from the Liturgy of the Hours, a book of prayers for each and every day of the year.

From a conference by Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest

The Cross exemplifies every virtue

Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act. It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake. If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great. In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame. If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous.If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Upon the cross he was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink. Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because they divided my garments among themselves. Nor to honours, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings. Nor to greatness of rank, for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head. Nor to anything delightful, for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

1 comment:

prades said...

Yesterday, when I posted my comment, it was my first encounter with a blogger. It was succesful in that you received my comment, but I did not know that my comment would be on my actual page. I admit that my comment was not well thought out. I just wanted to see if this actually worked. And, it does!!!

Thanks for your response and I agree with what you said.

In all honesty, I do not know how to deal with the abortion issue. I am a pro-life catholic who votes democratic. Abortion is an outrage to me in all its forms. However, some of the policies of the other side, especially foreign as well as with the death penalty, are just as offensive. The numbers of deaths in Iraq and in the US as a result of capital punishment do not come near to the amount caused by abortion. But, all of these lives are worth the same, they all have dignity. A vote for any candidate, in my opinion, is a vote against the culture of life.

So, what do we do? I would prefer a system of government that was open to more choice (in relation to the amount of candidates). As opposed to the winner take all two party system. But, I am well aware that this cannot happen.

My next thought is to continue to wage the war of ideas in schools, communities, families, etc. The way I vote is far less effective in changing the ideas of those around me. If I tell the right that I voted for Kerry, they think I despise God. If I tell the left that I love God and am pro-life, they think I am a Bible nut. My politics are caught in the middle. Thus, I really do not think that politics are the answer. The answer is in changing our culture of thinking in our families and communities. Faith also plays a huge role in this endevor.