Friday, June 08, 2012

Thomas Aquinas And Mystical Theology

"Several authors, struck by the difference which they find between the writings of the great mystical theologians (such as Dionysius, Richard of St. Victor, St. Bonaventure, Tauler, St. John of the Cross) and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, are surprised that we should expect to find in St. Thomas’ writings the principles of mystical theology. Some even consider St. Thomas, not a great theologian who from a supernatural point of view used Aristotle for the defense and explanation of the divine truths of faith, but rather a philosopher of genius who gave us an interpretation of the Gospel, a Christian Aristotle, as later on Malebranche was a Christian Plato.
    Anyone who accepts this view must lack an intimate knowledge of the writings of St. Thomas, especially his treatises on the Trinity, the incarnation, the Holy Eucharist, grace, the theological virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Certainly such a person never read St. Thomas’ commentaries on St. Paul, St. John, the Psalms, and the Canticle of Canticles. He must be ignorant of St. Thomas’ short treatises on piety, his prayers, his office of the Blessed Sacrament; and he must be unacquainted with the saint’s life, his nights spent before the tabernacle, his ecstasies, the eminent gift of contemplation which made him refer to his Summa as being only straw in comparison with what he beheld."

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