We have, necessarily it seems to me, been meditating on the very dark news coming from the current very compromised Supreme Court since they laid their year of decisions on us beginning ten days ago.
Sad news of a court busy destroying its credibility than questing for justice and remedying injustices past and present. Not the best of news surely.
But it is always good to return from time to time to a watering hole, an oasis of spiritual sanity in the midst of engaging humanity’s capacity for evil. So I choose to do that with Thomas Aquinas as our guide.
After all, he is accredited with bringing the important principle of the common good into western jurisprudence and he also one of the thinkers Martin Luther King, Jr. turned to in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” for his support of civil disobedience when human laws and lawmakers separate themselves from the work of justice which is the guarantor of the common good.
The common good and justice and common sense have taken a beating from the currently constituted unsupreme court. Let us consider some of Aquinas’s wisdom here to refresh our souls and nourish our actions–four of which I proposed regarding remedying the current SC situation in yesterday’s DM and several other ideas came from readers in the Comments page such as doing away with Citizens United that paves the way for temptations from dark corporate coffers that have proven far too much for some justices to resist. (Or was passing it the purpose?)
All of us seek a vision of the Divine. How does that come our way? Contemplation on the beauties of nature and contemplative practice are one route (the via positiva and via negativa) and creativity is another. In addition, for Aquinas another route is the Via Transformativa, the way of working for justice and compassion.
As he says, “God is Justice” and thus work for Justice itself can be a doorway to the Divine for “the vision of God is arrived at through justice.”
Justice “leads to the reign of God” for Jesus, in preaching the coming of the reign of God, “did not come to call the just to penitence, but to greater justice.”
Justice is intrinsic to holiness for “the saints have a heart full of justice….The saints have justice, charity, and effects of this kind, which are most like God.”
To be continued.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 109-111.
And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, p. 419.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “St Thomas Aquinas.” This mosaic of St Thomas Aquinas is on the facade of the church of St Joachim in Rome. Photo by Lawrence OP on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
What does it means to you to be reminded that “saints have a heart full of justice”? Does this strengthen your own commitment to justice and your own experience of the holy in your work and citizenship and moral outrage?
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