No Explanation Necessary

Monday, January 28, 2019

Click here for readings for St. Thomas Aquinas Liturgy

Today, in Mercy, we  celebrate the Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

theology

The influence of Aquinas on Catholic theology and resultant culture cannot be overstated.  He is considered by many to be the foremost articulator of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. For centuries, his thought became the underlying curriculum for priestly and religious training, universally influencing Catholic education, preaching, and theology.

Thomistic thought has been a great blessing to the Church. On the other hand, there are concerns about those who enshrine 13th century concepts without ongoing theological examination and development.

St. Anselm, outstanding theologians of the 11th century said, “Theology is faith seeking understanding.” It is trying to know all we can about God, but it always falls short of knowing God.

Many modern theologians develop emerging thought using Aquinas as their foundation, while deconstructing the unhelpful medieval constrictions of his work. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ is one of my favorites. She has been noted as offering “new ways to think and speak about God within the framework of traditional Catholic beliefs and motifs.

As well as his immense body of theology, Thomas Aquinas was the composer of many treasured hymns. You might enjoy this one today.

Music: Adorote Devote ~ Thomas Aquinas 

See below for both Latin and English lyrics

1. Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quae sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subiicit,
Quia te contemplans, totum deficit. 

2. Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur;
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius,
Nil hoc verbo veritatis verius. 

3. In Cruce latebat sola Deitas.
At hic latet simul et humanitas:
Ambo tamen credens, atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro paenitens. 

4. Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor,
Deum tamen meum te confiteor:
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere. 

5. O memoriale mortis Domini,
Panis vivus vitam praestans homini:
Praesta meae menti de te vivere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere. 

6. Pie pellicane Iesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo Sanguine:
Cuius una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere. 

7. Iesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud, quod tam sitio,
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beatus tuae gloriae.
Amen.

1.Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

2. Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.

3. On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

4. I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

5. O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

6. Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran—
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

7. Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory’s sight.
Amen.

Let’s Blow the Lid Off!

Friday, January 18, 2010

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, our Gospel tells of a memorable event – so memorable that it is described in detail.

Jesus preaches from a neighborhood living room. Every access point to the house is blocked with excited listeners and miracle-seekers. Jesus has been corralled by the enthusiastic faithful.

roof

Then some latecomers arrive carrying their paralyzed friend. It is easy to imagine that these are young guys, because Jesus later calls the paralytic “Child”. Perhaps their friend was injured in a soccer game or diving accident in which they all had participated. Perhaps, as well as carrying him, they are carrying the burden of “survivor guilt”.

Whatever the situation, these friends are determined that the young man shall see Jesus. Confronted with the barricading crowd, they climb up on the roof, opening the turf plates to make an entry point. Jesus had to laugh as he saw to rooftop disappearing above him!

Would that we had such a wild desire to be in God’s Presence – to know God face to face, and heart to heart!

Can we peel away the many barricades to such relationship? We have only our limited human images of God. While these can help us pray, they can also box God.

Faulty theology and exaggerated ritual can, believe or not, put a lid on God’s power!

It is important to read, listen, and grow within good theology. One measure of that value is the degree of limitation any “theology” puts on God. A theology that limits God to male, white, Catholic (or whatever religion)- that kind of false theology limits us as well. 

A theology that is used as validation for political, economic, or moral domination distorts God, making God an idol of our own greed and selfishness. Such ”theologies” have, for centuries, made excuses for slavery, apartheid, pogroms, wars and holocausts. 

Let’s try to “take the roof off” our theology today. Let’s be sure our tightly held perceptions and beliefs are really leading us to the absolute freedom of a God Who cherishes all Beings, all Creation.

Music: God Beyond All Names ~ Bernadette Farrell