As a theology student reading selections of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, I was never quite sure whether I was falling into a rapture or falling asleep. Although I’m sure Aquinas is entirely worthy of the ecclesial title “Angelic Doctor”, I always thought of him as more of an academic than an angel, and even though I treasure those volumes of the Summa given to me by a friend as I went off to college, I see them now as having more symbolic value than immediate theological relevance in my life.
That being said, I came across one of the Angelic Doctor’s sermons a few days ago that reminded me that Thomas Aquinas was not only methodical and intelligent, but also sensitive and spiritual. In this homily, given on the First Sunday of Advent, he associated several unexpected Scripture verses with the impending birth of Christ. I found each of them very worthy of Christmas meditation.
I offer these verses to you here with my own Christmas greetings. I thank each of you for the support and encouragement you have offered me this past year, and I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful, meaningful, and very merry Christmas:
“And so it happened that there was in the same man justice to the full and infinite mercy, and so mercy and truth have met one another; justice and peace have kissed one another (Ps. 95:11)…. Thus he came to make peace between mankind and God. And for this he is the appropriate arbiter, since he is himself our peace which makes both one (Eph. 2:14)…. He came to take away the contamination of sin, like a doctor. Mt. 8:7 reads: I will come and cure him. He came to be in our company, like a friend; it says in Baruch 5, From the holy one my joy comes.”
-- St. Thomas Aquinas, Veniet Desideratus: Sermon on the First Sunday of Advent