More from Aquinas on Dying and Resurrecting in this Lifetime

About resurrection, Aquinas says:

“The Resurrection of Christ” Painting by Luca Giordano. On Wikimedia Commons.

There is a double resurrection, one of the body, when the soul rejoins body, the other spiritual, when soul reunited to God. Christ’s bodily resurrection produces both in us—though he himself never rose again spiritually, for he had never been separated from God.  

Our being asleep is being separated from God. It is also succumbing to acedia, the capital sin often translated as sloth but with a far richer meaning that includes depression, despair, passivity, boredom. Aquinas defines acedia as “the lack of energy to begin new things.” We find it everywhere today, it is a “sign of our times,” and that is why we created a new word for it—namely, couchpotatoitis.

2009 ESPN Zone Chicago Ultimate Couch Potato Contestants. Photo by Steve Janowski on Wikimedia Commons.

Its cure is Waking Up. But how does that happen? Aquinas observes that zeal comes from an intense experience of love or beauty or goodness. Yes, beauty and falling in love are the cure for acedia and being asleep.  We need to fall in love at least three times per day. Of course, such falling in love is not an anthropocentric kind of love—it is falling in love with creation itself and its many expressions of beauty and of the divine. Why not fall in love with wild flowers, elephants, trees, flowers, as well as music, poetry, pottery, films and the rest?

“Rise.” Katy Perry‘s anthem to living a life with passion and faith.

When we fall in love with life, we live this life fully as both mystics and prophets. Then we are awake and risen and have undergone our first resurrection. Upon dying, the second resurrection takes care of itself.

Aquinas believes that Christ explicitly calls us to both the first and second resurrection:

Our Lord promises both resurrections, for he says: ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you that the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.’ And this seems to pertain to the spiritual resurrection of souls. . . . But later, it is the bodily resurrection he expresses, saying: ‘The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God’ (John 5:25, 28). For, clearly souls are not in the graves, but bodies. Therefore, this foretells the bodily resurrection.

A new creation in the making: the 10-year timeline of the “Greening the Desert” project between the villages of Al Jawfa and Al Jawasreh in the Jordan River Valley. For more information click HERE.

Nor is resurrection restricted to believers, but a “new creation “and a “common resurrection” happens to all and has already begun.

On that day on which the resurrection took place a kind of new creation, as it were, began. As the psalmist says ‘Send forth your Spirit, and they will be created, and you will renew the face of the earth’ (104:30). And as Galatians puts it: ‘The life of the risen Christ is spread to all humanity in common resurrection. Christ’s resurrection is the cause of newness of life which comes through grace or justice (6:15).

As humans awaken, a new creation emerges.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 168-170. 

See Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 114, 359-364.

Banner Image: Local Green Belt Movement members survey their work. Supported by USAID/Kenya, the Green Belt Movement reforested some 90000 degraded hectares of the Aberdares Range. Residents say that more than 60 dried-up streams have begun to flow again since the seedlings were planted. Photo by USAID/Neil Thomas on Flickr

Do you agree with Aquinas that healthy zeal and waking up comes from “an intense experience of the goodness and beauty of things?” Is that your experience?  How can we implement that more fully into a sleeping society?

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

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2 thoughts on “More from Aquinas on Dying and Resurrecting in this Lifetime”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    I’ve sensed that the second coming of Christ Jesus, is really about the resurrection of Christ within each one of us all. That this resurrection isn’t a one moment event sometime in the future yet to come, but that is continuously unfolding, resurrecting, in the here and now, within each one of us all, from age to age, and generation to generation…. that movement of the Holy Spirit of Christ within that eventually creates a paradigm shift of collective consciousness within the whole of humanity. I find it reassuring in a way, in the sense that no one need miss out… that one need not fear this perhaps being in the wrong place or the wrong time…. for the place and time is here and now.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, years ago I heard Matthew speak at Claremont School of Theology in Southern California, the day before he was silenced for a year. His topic was based on his then new book, THE COMING OF THE COSMIC CHRIST. His re-visioning of the coming of Christ showed me that there was another way of looking at Christianity which I could lived with. And the idea that resurrection “isn’t a one moment event,” is what is taught in the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality. One can be down in the Via Negtativa and then up in the Via Positiva or Creativa. That’s just how life is. AS Frank Sinatra sang, “You’re riding high in April, Shot down in May”… but then you’re up again in June…

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