Saturday 28 January 2017

Thomas, donkeys and straw

Pier Fausto Frisoli spoke beautifully about Thomas Aquinas this morning. Among the things he mentioned was his mystical experience, a year before he died, which led him to stop writing because he considered all that he had written as straw. Lonergan came to mind immediately, and the quotation was found, in "Unity and Plurality: The Coherence of Christian Truth," A Third Collection (New York / Mawah: Paulist; London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1985) 242:
Ordinarily the scientific and the religious differentiations of consciousness occur in different individuals. but they can be found in the same individual as was the case with Thomas of Aquin. At the end of his life his prayer became so intense that it interfered with his theological activity. But earlier there could have been an alternation between religious and theological differentiation, while later still further differentiation might have enabled him to combine prayer and theology as Teresa of Avila combined prayer and business.
And then of course, theology might be straw, even that of Thomas; but even straw has its uses, and we donkeys need straw.  

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