June 23, 2010.
In our catechesis on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages, we turn once more to the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Summa Theologiae, his masterpiece, reflects Thomas’s serene confidence in the harmony of faith and reason, and in the ability of reason, enlightened by faith, to come to an understanding of God and his saving plan.
The Summa treats of the Triune God in himself, in his work of creation, and in the person of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son, whose humanity is the means by which we return to the Father. Thomas illustrates the working of divine grace, which perfects our natural gifts and enables us, through the practice of the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to attain the eternal happiness for which we were created.
His description of Christ’s saving work stresses the importance of the seven sacraments, and especially the Eucharist. These great theological truths are also reflected in Thomas’s preaching which in a clear and simple way presents the mysteries of the faith, the content of Christian prayer, and the demands of a moral life shaped by the natural law and the Gospel’s new commandment of love. With the Angelic Doctor, let us pray for the grace to love the Lord with all our heart, and to love our neighbour, "in God and for God".
I offer a warm welcome to the numerous student groups present, and in a special way to those taking part in the programmes sponsored by the Foyer Unitas Lay Centre, the Anglican Centre of Rome and the Midwest Theological Forum. I also thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, especially those from Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, the Bahamas and the United States of America, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.