Grace to you!
Today, the Church celebrates the life of Saint Thomas Aquinas, a man whose spirituality and theological contributions in the history of the Church were a pacesetter in many ways. Perhaps, it’s important to reflect on one of the themes that preoccupied the Angelic Doctor (Saint Thomas Aquinas), namely the theme on faith.
From the Letter to the Hebrews, we read the classical biblical description of faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval” (Heb 11:1-2).
In my upcoming book, due for publication this April through Sophia Institute Press, I treated the topic of faith, using more contemporary western and African examples. The following is an except from the book. I hope you’ll enjoy the read…
“God’s presence is discovered, not created, by humans. Our primary motive for faith in God, his revelation and promises, is not simply because it is true (for it is always true), but because of the authority of the one who has revealed himself— God—as well as the fact that this divine imprint (signature) in every being and existence, is fundamentally indelible. Humanity’s religious sense is innate. We are all God seekers. We are blessed that God allows us to seek him.
Let us return to the form of evidence--theophany, which I said is the crux of the faith journey. A little sketch of the idea at this instance may do. Moses of our Judeo-Christian tradition comes to mind. His theophany was a divine encounter at the event of the burning bush as recorded in Exodus chapter three.
The story depicts a fascinating scene of a bush that was burning but not consumed. This profound imagery draws attention to the divine imprint in every soul, the same inherent desire burning like fire pushing us to search for the good, the beautiful and the truth. Like the bush which was not consumed, the soul is not consumed by this divine fire, instead, it inspires us to ask for more, to draw closer to perfection, to want to embrace God and be wrapped in his being. We want to possess God, hold onto him and not let him depart from us. In each soul or heart, there is this fire, this push, this longing.
In the story of Moses, we see this chosen one thrilled by the sight. He drew nearer either in admiration, curiosity, or sheer wonder. Then from the thickest of the flames a unique voice spoke the name, Yahweh—I am. Some translate this as “I am Who Am,” or “I am Who I am.” A biblical exegesis of this text is not the core purview of this reflection, but rather a spiritual analysis of what the event communicates to me, and, hopefully, to you is my interest.
Observe the sequence of this revelation. First, there was a “fugitive,” Moses, running away from the Pharaoh of Egypt because of his love for his people, the people of Israel. He is like any person on a wild search for the meaning of life; he was looking for answers to his life’s journey. Humanity’s ultimate search is a search for meaning, for no search is without a goal. Ultimate meaning is life’s natural elixir. Finding it is the fulfillment of all desire. Not finding it is life’s dreadful dirge.
Second, Moses’ natural curiosity before the bush—which was burning but not consumed—led him to contemplate the mystery before him. He begins a movement, drawing closer and closer to the light. He was, just like many of us, a soul in search of the true light, the light of the world. Unfortunately, he was not worthy, as no one is worthy to step upon the terrace of this awe-inspiring presence unless he removed his shoes….”
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.