Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summa Theologica in a nutshell

My Way of Life (Brooklyn, NY: Cofraternity of the Precious Blood, 1952) is a "pocket edition of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica. I picked it up at Moody Books in Johnson City, TN, when Aquinas was just a rumor in my mind. And, in the last few months, I've taken to reading a page or two a day--quite instructive! Its editors were top-notch Aquinas scholars in their day: Walter Ferrell, O.P., S.T.M., and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D. Saturated in the Summa, these two Roman Catholic historical theologians boiled the Q&A, point-counterpoint of the original down to its main assertions, and presented these in a simple, even beautiful little devotional of faith.

At any rate, an entry this morning on charity caught my eye. It sums up the entire project of the Summa in one, easy-to-understand paragraph. "This," I said, "must be blogged!" So here goes:

"Where then shall men find peace and joy and rest except in the love of God and men? Only a whole-hearted love of God and of men in God will bring peace to the individual and to society. Love can build a world. Hate can only destroy. Hatred sets men at odds with themselves and with God. They cannot judge correctly the value of men or nature. It is only in God that everything in the world receives it true place and its proper value. Only charity perceives everything as it is in God. Only charity therefore can enable a man to judge both the world and himself properly. And only this true judgment enables a man to find that tranquility of order which is peace" (361).


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