Tag Archives: St Thomas Aquinas

Is anger sinful?

St. John Chrysostom

“Only the person who becomes irate without reason, sins. Whoever becomes irate for a just reason is not guilty. Because, if ire were lacking, the science of God would not progress, judgments would not be sound, and crimes would not be repressed.

Further, the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices: it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily XI super Matheum, 1c, nt.7)

St. Thomas Aquinas

“Ire may be understood in two ways.

In one way, as a simple movement of the will that inflicts punishment not through passion, but by virtue of a judgment of the reason: and in this case, without a doubt, lack of ire is a sin. This is how Chrysostom understands ire when he says: ‘Ire, when it has a cause, is not ire but judgment. For properly speaking, ire is a movement of passion. And when a man is irate with just cause, his ire does not derive from passion. Rather, it is an act of judgment, not of ire.”

In another way, ire can be understood as a movement of the sensitive appetite agitated by passion with bodily excitation. This movement is a necessary sequel in man to the previous movement of his will, since the lower appetite naturally follows the movement of the higher appetite unless some obstacle prevents it. Hence the movement of ire in the sensitive appetite cannot be lacking altogether, unless the movement of the will is altogether lacking or weak. Consequently, the lack of the passion of ire is also a vice, as it is the lack of movement in the will to punish according to the judgment of reason.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II, II, q. 158, art. 8)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Peter Paul Rubens 'Defenders of the Eucharist'The Church in the Ordinary Form gives us for today the feast of the great Dominican saint and theologian Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. He stands head and shoulders over all of our thinkers.

Saint Thomas’ great love passed down to us is the Holy Eucharist. Aquinas wrote many Eucharistic hymns especially for the Feast of Corpus Christi, whose observance had been urged by the Premonstratensian canoness Saint Juliana of Liege.

In this image by Peter Paul Rubens, the ‘Defenders of the Eucharist’ we have Saint Thomas with Saints Augustine and Norbert.


Saint Thomas Aquinas

Blessed feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas!

Aquinas prayer

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Today, the Dominican family rightly rejoices in their brother Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor. Thomas is one of Holy Church’s greatest theological minds. One can speak of all the things Aquinas has given us, and we can speak of the need to have Thomism as a way to begin to come to understand Divine Mystery; we’re not there yet. Aquinas would certainly agree: you can know it all but unless you live the Christian faith you really have nothing.

The opening prayer for Mass today speaks of Aquinas’ zeal for holiness as the first premise; understanding and imitating the accomplishments is secondary. The Prayer after Communion speaks of Christ the teacher, Christ the living bread, truth and the need to express all these things in works of charity.

Works of charity are an expression of the Good News given to us by the Lord.

The priest at Mass today reminded us of a fact that I tend to fall into errors that are all-too-common: on the one hand we can say, “I know it all” and on the other hand we can say, “I don’t know enough, I can never measure up.” One attitude is arrogant, keeping the faith as an idea, with very little attention to the heart. The other attitude is simplistic, silly and rooted in a false humility and laziness. Both are straw, grass clippings as Aquinas would state. What both have in common is a the theological virtue of charity. Charity connects us with the Divine Mystery.

Most certainly, Thomas would tell us to know the faith well, but allow the faith to be a point of encounter with the Lord in a contemporary way. No good Catholic would hold to knowing nothing of the content of Divine Revelation. Jesus, indeed, is contemporary with our daily existence.

What Thomas Aquinas has given us is a map by which we come to understand the Divine Mystery through charity. Charity is key to the Dominican charism for the Church and for our daily living of our Catholic faith. No charity, no real belief in Jesus Christ as Messiah. There is no via media here. The point: don’t confuse the map for the road on which to walk.

Where do we get happiness?

In case you didn’t know it, there are levels of happiness. You also may not know that God wants us to be happy in this life. Period. Can we open our eyes to what true happiness is?

Four levels of happiness that we encounter in our experience:

  1. happiness in a thing: I need a steak and a bourbon; I need that vacation
  1. problem: short-termed pleasure: the flashy new toy
  2. we are created more than a designer purse: 
  3. who’s measure do we use for happiness?
  4. what do we really ask God for?

2. as persons we are more than comparative advantage, but we compare ourselves with others

      a. problem: the “advantage” has a limitation; it’s effectiveness is not long-lasting nor does it account for the truth of who we really are as persons made in God’s own image

3. finding joy in a sincere gift of self … to a point

  1. problem: when the person to whom our joy is directed leaves, then what happens? Was our serving really sincere? What are the motivations in looking for joy in serving?
4. union with God: the only place where we find true peace, love and happiness; the beloved rests with the lover;
  1. we are restless until our hearts rest in the Lord
  2. God thirsts for you to thirst for Him
  3. what does it do to God when we thirst for a designer purse more than for God?
  4. why does a created thing take the priority over the creator?

We are meant, by God, to be happy in this life and in the next. You may be asking yourself: What are the requirements for attaining true happiness?

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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