Sunday, June 14, 2015

God’s special Providence over man by grace

“SINCE the last end of rational creatures exceeds the capacity of their nature and since whatever conduces to the end must be proportionate to the end according to the right order of Providence, rational creatures are given aids that are not merely proportionate to nature but that transcend the capacity of nature. God infuses into man, over and above the natural faculty of reason, the light of grace whereby he is internally perfected for the exercise of virtue, both as regards knowledge, inasmuch as man’s mind is elevated by this light to the knowledge of truths surpassing reason, and as regards action and affection, inasmuch as man’s affective power is raised by this light above all created things to the love of God, to hope in Him, and to the performance of acts that such love imposes.

“These gifts or aids supernaturally given to man are called graces for two reasons. First, because they are given by God gratis. Nothing is discoverable in man that would constitute a right to aids of this sort, for they exceed the capacity of nature. Secondly, they are called graces because in a very special way, man is made gratus (or “pleasing to God”) by such gifts. Since God’s love is the cause of goodness in things and is not called forth by any preexisting goodness, as our love is, a special intensity of divine love must be discerned in those whom He showers with such extraordinary effects of His goodness. Therefore God is said chiefly and simply to love those whom He endows with these effects of His love by which they are enabled to reach their last end, which is He Himself, the fountainhead of all goodness.”

~St. Thomas Aquinas: Compendium of Theology, 143.

St. Thomas Aquinas, by Fra Angelico. 
Tempera on wood, 1340-45; 
Collezione Vittorio Cini, Venice.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"The Godhead or the soul of Christ is in this sacrament"

"...the Godhead or the soul of Christ is in this sacrament not by the power of the sacrament, but from real concomitance. For since the Godhead never set aside the assumed body, wherever the body of Christ is, there, of necessity, must the Godhead be; and therefore it is necessary for the Godhead to be in this sacrament concomitantly with His body. Hence we read in the profession of faith at Ephesus (P. I., chap. xxvi): "We are made partakers of the body and blood of Christ, not as taking common flesh, nor as of a holy man united to the Word in dignity, but the truly life-giving flesh of the Word Himself."

~St. Thomas Aquinas: S.T. III, Q. 76, A. 1, ad. 1.

Gradual 2 for San Michele a Murano (Folio 78),
by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci. 
Tempera and gold on parchment, c. 1395;
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York.

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