Friday, March 12, 2010

Men of St. Thomas: Be a Summa Catholic

St. Thomas Aquinas is best known for his Summa Theologica, a work in which he attempted to explain the totality of the Catholic faith in meticulous detail. Aquinas was not alone, however, in crafting a summa. It was a fascination and preoccupation of many of the best medieval minds. Dante Alighieri, for instance, imagined a pilgrimage through all three realms of the afterlife -- Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven -- in his literary summa, The Divine Comedy. And the architects of Chartres and Notre Dame erected a summa of stone with their encyclopedic telling of the Bible through relief sculpture and stained- glass windows. These men understood that their faith was a comprehensive world view that demanded a total commitment of their time and talent. They might be accurately called Summa Catholics. Every member of the Men of St. Thomas Fraternity at St. Thomas High School should strive to be a Summa Catholic.

It isn’t easy being a Summa Catholic. We live in a relativistic go-go culture that encourages a customized, Super Sized, Twitterized approach to everything in life. We want what we want and we want it now, or better yet – we want it yesterday. Many Catholics only pay lip service to the eternal teachings of Holy Mother Church or even openly scorn them. They insist that the Church should just get with the times and change its message to suit any and every lifestyle choice. It takes real courage to be a Summa Catholic, for to do so is to conform your life to Christ’s in loving obedience.

When it comes right down to it, being a Summa Catholic means putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His Church. It means having the humility to recognize your own limitations and to ask for grace. It means sometimes listening to the truth and letting it transform you, rather than asserting your own personalized brand of truth and trying to remake the world in your image rather than the Savior’s. It means loving your neighbor even when it hurts and especially when it hurts. It means a 24/7 personal relationship with the triune God, not just one hour a week in Mass. It means faith. It means service. It means leadership. It means being a Man of St. Thomas. God bless!

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