November 21, 2020

The Cross is the way that we come to know and understand things; indeed, it is only by analyzing and assessing some thing (bringing it to its “end,” Jn 19:30) that we become properly disposed to the Truth which the thing points to (cf. Jn 14:6).  And if we do not go through this Cross process, we will simply be stuck in a world of sensory data that never arrives at the Truth.  This is why in every question of his famous Summa Theologica Thomas Aquinas examines all angles of a given problem and even adopts, if only for a moment, the arguments of his opponents.  Once the process has been completed, he can unambiguously present the concluding Truth.  Perhaps this is the meaning of the Prodigal Son’s journey, that he cannot feel at peace in his father’s house until he has taken all of the other possibilities to their proper end.  When he finally crosses the threshold back into the loving embrace of his father’s arms (and it is no coincidence that this happens through the blood of the slaughtered calf, Lk 15:23), his tearful and happy comportment is juxtaposed with his bitter and angry brother who stands in the Truth but who never went through the process of taking ownership of it.  Let us therefore not be afraid to be prodigals and theologians who are led through life by that constant interior process that is the Cross.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

4 thoughts on “November 21, 2020

  1. Interestingly from the beginning many categorize the courage needed to return as competitive. The valor each requires is available to all. Thomism’s need for an opponent seems from one angle to be only necessary for winning in this world. But aren’t we surrendering every moment to God and his will? Sometimes it’s so difficult to walk that fine line between pride and humility.

    1. This is a great insight Jeff. The truth is definitely not oppositional, but it does have an inherently “dual” nature, that is, it is always a composite of sign and reality. Thomism wants us to savor the sign, to suck out the marrow from the sign, to empty the sign of its meaning, so that we might be thus directed to the reality. Perhaps this process is the form of that constant surrender that you speak of??? And it is absolutely a fine line in the sense that when we get stuck on the sign, the result is the pride of idolatry, yet when we humbly accept the sign’s limitedness we become disposed to something greater, the reality freely given as gift. Peace to you brother!!!!

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