Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Summa for Dummas

Our dear Athos has oft suggested such reading matter as has proved to be of value in instructing your humble servant. One such has been a condensed presentation of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica called My Way of Life, a particularly helpful little tome for a creature like myself whose powers of penetration can sometimes be, if I may say so, somewhat less than inspiring. For this reason, I think of the treasured tome as my "Summa for Dummas."

As I browse once more through this exceedingly helpful condensation of Christian truth, I stumbled upon a passage which may be of some interest to those of us with Girardian inclinations.

The allure of the good is an ennobling invitation; for it is essentially a promise that we can become a part of this loved thing or make it a part of ourselves. It is this same characteristic that accounts for the debasing corruption of a false good. We do indeed become the thing we love. The enitcement of personal goodness lies precisely in its promise that we can become so like to this person whose goodness ravishes our heart, that we can move before men [sic] in a shared likeness of this beloved person. God is the supreme source from which all goodness takes its rise, the infinite reservoir of all that is desireable, containing and surpassing all that is found lovable in creatures; to love Him is to be caught by the promise of that infinite allure, to become like God and to move in His image before the eyes of me [sic], a likeness of the divinity surpassing all the pictures drawn by the varied beauty and goodness of the universe.

The saint, head over heels in love with God, finds the most perfect fellowship with every least and greatest thing in the universe, with every least and greatest man and woman. He understands them, he is at one with them, being himself so closely one with the God who is their source, the model on which they are formed, the goal to which they are so drawn. He is close to the world and to men because his heart is so close to God. His only hate will center on the disfigurements and mutilations that are wrought on the images of God to hide from the eyes of men the ravishing beauty of divinity.
pages 11-12


Athos said...

I was so hoping that one of you fine fellows would do the honor of posting a piece on Tradition, and lo! Porthos goes and does so.

Scott Hahn says that Protestants disregard Tradition the way people who might attend an art exhibition. They enter the hall in which are hung magnificent works of art, but they all flock to the artist and only have eyes for him. He, in turn, appreciates their attention, but feels no little perturbation because he wants them to look on his art, the work of his hands wrought for their pleasure and attention.

Just so Protestants do not look on the saints, the works of God's grace in Jesus Christ. They hover round Our Lord (a very good thing, of course), but do not consider his "art work" in these splendid models of the faith. It does Him no dishonor to look on these fine souls; indeed, He WANTS us to consider them, study them, learn from them.

BTW, I am appreciating more and more the Choral Treasure in our sidebar. Thanks for suggesting it, Aramis and Porthos!

David Nybakke said...

Humm, Protestants. Some of my best friends are Protestants, but ...disregarding Tradition...not looking on the works of God's grace in Christ...hovering over Our Lord...hummm, you almost get a hint that if things don't go just right that something may be brewing within their ranks, especially if they get out the drums and start dancing around -- sounds like it could come right out of the 3 Massketeers' pick for best novel, The Dionysus Mandate, don't you think?

Athos said...

Been there. Done that. College. Almost the victim (like Merton?) myself. Grace.
Fast forward.

Holy Cross Abbey. Stability. Substance. Ousia. The 'weight of glory' (Lewis).

May poor old Christendom follow my template. What ho!

Athos said...

Now in the brightness of the morning, I see how proud that last statement may appear.

Let it not be said that Athos is a proud Massketeer. Rather, the words mean that if it only takes young skallywag college senior five and twenty years to renounce his descent into paganism and lay his sword at the feet of Mother Church, pledging fealty to our risen Lord, then the grace is full well available for a new springtime of faith in the fair land of Europe, which has plumbed the depths of paganism and nihilism in these latter days and times.

That is what old Athos, the contrite and penitent sinner, meant by the grace of God the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Anon!