Thomas Aquinas was one of the most remarkable human beings that God ever created. His writings on the nature of God, the Trinity, sin, natural law, philosophy and countless other subjects continue to be of modern relevance. But the subject of his that has always fascinated me most is that of natural law. The idea of “natural law” is that there are certain precepts to which human (or “positive”) law always must be subservient. Even in our daily lives this can take many forms. Even though I may have a positive legal right to take advantage of someone’s situation doesn’t give me a natural law right to do so. Sometimes I think even our most powerful jurists – those on the U.S. Supreme Court – could use a little reminding about Aquinas’ teachings as they grapple with the social issues of our time. Might and political power do not always make right.
Jesus surely had people like Thomas Aquinas in mind when he told his disciples not to keep their lights under bushel baskets. He truly was a human who did nothing of the sort. He let his light shine for all the world to see and it still shines brightly.
But even though we’re not all Thomas Aquinas (heaven knows I’m not), we still have a light to shine. Lately I’ve been particularly conscious of my infirmities and limitations. The world seems to wear me down some days to the point where I want to crawl with my light and hide under that bushel basket. But it helps me to think of this Gospel, to think of humans like Thomas Aquinas and flip that basket over, crawl out and hold up my light.
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