January 28th is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and Doctor of the Church. Known as the Angelic Doctor, he wrote the Summa Theologiae as well as Adoro te devote, O salutaris, Tantum ergo, and Pange lingua. Arguably the greatest philosopher of all time and unarguably one of the greatest (even among agnostic and athiests).
The daily prescription, a quotation from St. Thomas’ Tretise on Law.” and taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1955.
“The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what must be avoided. God has given this light or law at the creation.”
So if we examine our consciences daily, practicing our “logic muscle” in light of our actions, we can, according to St. Thomas come to better understand what we must do and what we must not do (and in turn, know right from wrong.)
“My intention will not be to deviate from the true meaning of sacred scripture or from the doctrine of our holy Mother the Church. If this should happen, I submit entirely to the Church, or even to anyone who judges more competently than I about the matter.” (Introduction to Ascent of Mount Carmel.)
A spiritual titan and Doctor of Mystical Theology, St. John of the Cross was also clear about his ascent to the authority of the Church. Note this is not a blind obedience but one of discernment and well-formed conscience. Consider:
Do you submit to holy Mother Church on matters of faith and morals?
Do you recognize the difference between the sinful people who populate the church (many of whom are, thanks be to God, striving for holiness) and the clear holiness of the Church?
If you find giving ascent to the Church reasonable, would you care to share how difficult (or comforting) the process has become for you? (in the comments section would be great.)
“Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit in your hearts.”
St. Ambrose, who’s Memorial we celebrate on December 7, delivered this powerful prescription on the sacrament of Confirmation. This spiritual seal is real, an indelible mark, a “character” that gives power to be an effective for Christ.
So here are some questions to consider:
How are you “guarding” the gifts of the Holy Spirit, if in fact, you’ve received them?
Do you let it be obvious that the Spirit is in your heart?
Do you allow to develop a “holy fear in God’s presence”?
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”
You probably heard that explanation but may not have known or remembered it comes from this great Doctor of the church. As we look forward to the optional memorial of St. John Damascene on December 4, consider the following:
How do you raise your heart and mind to God each day?