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Cling to Christ

Taken from Medulla S. Thomae Aquinatis which arranges various short texts from St. Thomas Aquinas' corpus based on the liturgical year. I will be posting the day's meditation each day and will be bringing it into print once I'm through it.

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February 14th

Cling to Christ

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)

I. The way is Christ Himself, for by Him we have access to the Father. Because this way is not separated from its terminus but united to it, he adds, and the truth, and the life. So Christ is at once both the way and the destination. He is the way by reason of his human nature, and the terminus because of his divinity. Therefore, as human, he says, I am the way; as God, he adds, and the truth, and the life. These last two appropriately indicate the terminus of the way. For the terminus of this way is the end of human desire. Now human beings especially desire two things, knowledge of the truth and to continue their act of existence (sui esse continuationem). Christ is the way to arrive at the knowledge of the truth, while still being the truth itself, and, Christ is also the way to arrive at life, while still being life itself.

II. This is the reason why Christ referred to himself as the way, united to its terminus: because He is the terminus, containing in Himself whatever can be desired, that is, existing truth and life. If then, you ask which way to go, accept Christ, for he is the way: this is the way, walk in it (Isa 30:21). And Augustine says: walk like this human being and you will come to God. It is better to limp along on the way than to walk briskly off the way. For one who limps on the way, even though he makes just a little progress, is approaching the terminus; but if one walks off the way, the faster he goes the further he gets from the terminus.

If you ask where to go, cling to Christ, for he is the truth which we desire to reach.

If you ask where to remain, remain in Christ because he is the life: he who finds me finds life and will have salvation from the Lord (Prov 8:35).

III. There is security. Therefore, cling to Christ if you wish to be secure, for you cannot get off the road because he is the way. And those who hold on to him are not walking off the road but on the right road. Again, they cannot be deceived, because he is the truth and teaches all truth. Further, they cannot be troubled, because he is the life and the giver of life: I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Augustine says that when our Lord said I am the way, and the truth, and the life, he was saying in effect: how do you want to go? I am the way. Where do you want to go? I am the truth. Where do you want to remain? I am the life. As Hilary says, he who is the way does not lead us on erratic paths; he who is the truth does not deceive us with falsehoods; and he who is the life does not abandon us to death.

Here is another interpretation. In human beings, holiness involves three things: action, contemplation, and one’s intention. These are brought to perfection by Christ. Christ is the way for those in the active life; he is the truth for those who stand firm in the contemplative life. And he directs the intention of both those in the active and contemplative life to life, eternal life. For he teaches us to go and preach for the sake of the age to come. So, the Lord is our way by which we go to him, and through him to the Father.

(Selections from Ioan.C14.L2)


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