Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stephen Mitchell on Thomas Aquinas

Stephen Mitchell, Meetings with the Archangel, pp. 122-123:

During the three weeks when I submitted myself to the discipline of inhabiting Aquinas' thought, of seeing with his eyes and breathing through his nostrils, I came to understand how comfortable the world view of the Church could be. "Just give your assent to a few little preliminary ideas," the Summa whispered, "and I will take care of everything else; I will settle all your questions, even the questions you don't know how to ask; I will order the world into a total structure, a magnificent architecture of hierarchically interconnecting ideas. Everything will be decided forever. Let me do it for you. Trust me." I could feel the satisfaction this kind of system provided; at least, for several pages I could feel it. There I was, standing in the downtown of Christian culture, with the great emporiums of belief lining the granite boulevards. Reason and Revelation strolled arm in arm beside me on a spring afternoon, window-shopping. All the floor-managers and salespeople patiently displayed their wares and answered us in the politest newspaper Latin. Somewhere, on some top floor, the Holy Spirit occupied His revolving chairmanship, on the lookout for safe investments. In every president's office of every building, God the Father leaned back in a leather chair, His ankles crossed on the desk, while in the room with the bare lightbulb His Son added up figures for the final inventory.