Christ and Spirituality in St. Thomas Aquinas

Christ and Spirituality in St. Thomas Aquinas

Translated by Bernhard Blankenhorn
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 220
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  • Book Info
    Christ and Spirituality in St. Thomas Aquinas
    Book Description:

    The studies in this volume investigate themes of particular spiritual relevance in Aquinas's theology: friendship, charity, prayer, configuration to Christ, priesthood, preaching.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1938-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. French Sources of Book Chapters
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xxvi)
  6. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas: Theologian and Mystic
    (pp. 1-20)

    The title of this chapter may be surprising. Thomas Aquinas is unquestionably a great theologian, but is he also a mystic? A preliminary answer to this question could be found in the fact that he is a canonized saint, and that in one way or another, God was at the heart of his life, as is true of all saints. While this answer is certainly true, it is not specific enough. Since this saint is a theologian, we can disregard neither his understanding of theology nor the way in which he practiced it, lived it, and finally surpassed it. I...

  7. 2 Theology and Sanctity
    (pp. 21-44)

    In an impressive essay published some time ago also named “Theology and Sanctity,” Hans Urs von Balthasar made a case for the necessary unity between theology and spirituality.¹ For a long time, he said, the great theologians were also great saints. But when theology turned from a living reflection into a merely academic affair, the great saints no longer included theologians. As a consequence, there were no longer any great theologians.

    Without jumping to hasty conclusions about the grandeur of theology in our own time, we are aware that theology has once again become a living reality. In fact, theologians...

  8. 3 Charity as Friendship in St. Thomas Aquinas
    (pp. 45-64)

    Saint Thomas is far from being the only person ever to have used the term “friendship” to describe our affective relations with God. The great Cistercian authors of the twelfth century, among which St. Bernard was the most preeminent, did so well before Thomas and with a rare refinement inspired largely by Cicero’s treatise De amicitia. Between them and Thomas, however, one can pick up on two differences that noticeably change the tone of discourse and, in a certain sense, change its content as well. First, Thomas was the first to formally define charity as friendship. Moreover, his definition depends...

  9. 4 The Interpreter of Desire: Prayer According to St. Thomas Aquinas
    (pp. 65-73)

    As with any Christian—and probably more so than for most—for St. Thomas prayer was something very familiar. He chanted the Divine Office in choir each day with his Dominican confreres; and, like Brother Dominic, the holy founder of his order, he also prayed during his many voyages as he traveled on foot with his companions. We also have numerous witnesses who tell us that he prayed alone, in the secret of the night, before the altar or the crucifix. But he also had an opportunity not enjoyed by every Christian: to speak about prayer in his capacity as...

  10. 5 Christ in the “Spirituality” of St. Thomas
    (pp. 74-109)

    The simple title of this chapter assumes one can speak of a spirituality in St. Thomas. I do not mean by this, of course, that Thomas wrote various spiritual works, but I would assert that one can find an incontrovertible spiritual aspect to his theology. I have in fact already treated in detail the principal points of such a claim in my article in the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité,¹ and am in the process now of completing a book that treats of this topic, albeit in significantly expanded form.² So rather than reexamine what I have already discussed extensively, I shall...

  11. 6 Imitating God as His Beloved Children: Conformity to God and to Christ in the Works of St. Thomas Aquinas
    (pp. 110-125)

    The origin of this chapter is an investigation that I began some time ago into the role of Christ in the spirituality of St. Thomas. I set out to test certain hunches by a study of certain words used by St. Thomas, such as “imitation” (imitatio), “the following of Christ” (sequela Christi), or again of “conformity to Christ” (conformitas Christo). The first thing I noticed was that conformity was often found together with the imitation and the following of Christ. There is nothing too surprising in this, but what is more so is that these same terms are also used...

  12. 7 The Priesthood of Christ in the Summa Theologiae
    (pp. 126-158)

    This chapter deals specifically with the priesthood of Christ as discussed in question 22 of the Tertia Pars. Indeed, we find nothing on this subject in the Prima Pars, nor is there anything in the Secunda Pars, with the exception of two allusions at the end of the Prima Secundae.¹ In the Tertia Pars itself, we find the words sacerdos or sacerdotium fifty-six times in the vicinity of Christus, but more than half of these uses are in the treatise on the sacraments where they designate the minister (sacerdos) as Christ’s instrument. The connection is not accidental, but those passages...

  13. 8 The Sower Went Out to Sow: The Image of Christ the Preacher in Friar Thomas Aquinas
    (pp. 159-173)

    St. Thomas, known above all as the author of the Summa Theologiae, is renowned as a great intellectual—which he certainly was—but also as a cerebral thinker taken with abstractions, which he certainly was not! Far from being trapped in a merely deductive and rationalist theology, he was, on the contrary, extremely attentive to sacred scripture. Master in sacra pagina, he commented on the Bible throughout his teaching career, and made extensive use of scripture in his preaching. He also knew how to fix his gaze on Christ in prayer, he who is the model for the whole Christian...

  14. 9 St. Thomas, Spiritual Master
    (pp. 174-194)

    It is hard for a writer to talk about his book without talking about himself. This is true generally, but even more so when it comes to my book Saint Thomas Aquinas, Spiritual Master.¹ Having read it, a colleague of mine told me that one could sense that I was much more personally involved in it than in my first volume, Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Person and His Work. I can only agree with this statement. This book was an attempt to answer a question that has been with me since my novitiate: Can the exercise of the intellect be...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 195-206)
  16. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 207-210)
  17. Index of Names
    (pp. 211-213)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 214-214)