Friday, January 28, 2011

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest

(Hebrews 10:32-39; Mark 4:26-34)

Robert Frost writes in his poem “For Once, Then, Something”:

Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.”

He might be describing Jesus’ use of parables in the gospel today. As insightful as Frost or even Shakespeare, Jesus mentions a peasant scattering seeds or a mustard seed to give us a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. However, when we attempt to dwell on the image asking questions like, “Is the Kingdom the land or the harvest?” we are likely to let go of the revelation just as Frost loses sight of the thing he sees at the bottom of the well.

Something similar may be said of St. Thomas Aquinas whom we celebrate today. The theologian gave us a view of God more complete than and almost as perceptive as anyone’s in history. In his Summa Theologiae Scripture and philosophy hung together for a moment dissolving doubt in awe. However, its fullness disappeared in time fractured by the incessant queries of modernity. Yet it remains worthwhile to attempt revisioning what Aquinas wrote that we might once again glimpse God in glorious splendor.