On St. Thomas, Redux Mr.


On St. Thomas, Redux

Mr. da Fiesole has some interesting comments with regard to St. Thomas Aquinas here et seq. The discussion and points made are worth following. I will refrain from further comment because my point is made and argumentation does not change personality--I fundamentally distrust anything that is wrong in major points regardless of the reasons for the inaccuracy. That is part of my makeup. However, I also can overcome that distrust through trust in Him who is greater than all physical things. Further, I acknowledge that whatever fault is associated with this is not that of St. Thomas, who was, after all, a product of the best teaching and best science of his age, but my own entirely. I am responsible, and my warning is to those who are tempted to react to the works in the way that I would, not to people not otherwise subject to these temptations to pride. (One must know that I delight in "solving" mysteries before the author reveals the solution to me, and speeding through the NY Times crossword puzzles on a timed basis--rooting out mystery and resolving apparent inconsistency gives me great joy and a bloated head.)

Thus, my profound, deep, and abiding respect for St. Thomas, and my acknowledgement of him as one of the greatest minds in History. I have no doubt that such a deep thinker today would rival all of those that we hold up as icons of intelligence. His great work, the Summa is undoubtedly tremendous, helpful, and powerful reading to those differently constructed. However, one of the reasons I turned to the Carmelites was the enormous temptation to pride and to envy presented by indulgence of my "intellectual" side. I needed to move to a place where I could still be intellectual, but the spirituality focused on letting God take the driver's seat--where the temptation to intellectual pride is perhaps less severe. Again, personality--and no argument, no matter how clear and cogent, no matter how reasonable, can efface the temptations we all are visited with. So, for those constituted intellectually in a way similar to me, my warning stands. For those with no such hesitation, I cannot possibly recommend highly enough the Summa and its companion pieces. For me, wisdom says, get thee to an advisor who can help (not even a spiritual advisor, but perhaps merely a lay O.P. group, or a class with Professor Kreeft or McInerny, or a reasonably good and intelligent guide such as Father Farrell's or Josef Pieper's brief guide. All of these can help steer away from the temptation) before pursuing this in any serious way.

Similarly, St. John of the Cross presents a certain kind of temptation to those so inclined. One can read his works and interpret sheer spiritual laziness as a "dark night of the soul." Without a good guide there are some pools into which certain souls should not dip their toes. However, I believe that both the Bible and The Imitation of Christ are relatively free of the possibilities found in other works. So too, St. Thér*egrave;se of Lisieux and other simple works seem to present less of a problem in these ways. It seems the greatest temptations come from the works most rarified and most focused.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 27, 2002 10:19 AM.

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