Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who Does God Approve?

Pictured, The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas.
At the end of his life St. Thomas stopped writing, he lived in silence. He had a mystical experience, a revelation, that led him to declare everything he had written was as straw. (Therefore, we may conclude that this painting does not represent Heaven, much less an appropriate entrance into Heaven. No one is going to be comparing notes on what Thomas wrote, nor what anyone else wrote.)
Who does God approve?
Someplace, in the psalms we are told,
"This is the man I approve, the lowly and afflicted..."
I cannot remember which psalm it is, yet we know from Our Lady's Magnificat that it is the humble the Lord exalts...
"He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
...the rich He has sent away empty."
Sometimes, the liturgical controversies, the ecclesial conspiracies, the theological speculations...everything that gets religious people going, all of that wearies me.
I so wish I could be like a very simple, and obviously poor old man I would occasionally see at Mass, quietly kneeling in the most profound recollection after everyone else had left the Church. He appeared to be a retired worker, the years of hard labor lined in his face. I recognized that he was probably not a man with university degrees, nor a man of much sophistication, and I could tell he was alone in life. Yet he seemed to me to be very close to God and undistributed by the world or the tumult in the Church. He was united to Jesus, and it radiated from his face, as he knelt, eyes closed, his head slightly uplifted toward heaven.
This is the man God approves.


  1. Terry,

    I read your post today at lunch, couldn't comment from work.

    But your observation really touched me, and I'm in complete agreement.

  2. Thanks Sweetheart! You are one of the best people in the Church and the world. Everyone should read your blog. I think you are on the fast track to sainthood!

  3. michael9:31 AM

    The 'lowly and afflicted' sounds like some of the psalms. It is directly from Isaiah ("My hand made all these things when all of them came to be, says the LORD. This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at my word.")

    We cannot judge a person by outward appearances. A priest may be a saint or a sinner, just as the beggar or tramp that you pass on the way to Mass may be saint or sinner. It is for God's judgement, not ours. God knows your heart. God knows mine. We are to humbly treat each other as part of the body of Christ.

    It's good to look after the the poor, the dispossessed, the marginalized; for indeed, Christ kept company with these people, not with those concerned with religion.
    Heal, and be healed. Support, and be supported. Affirm, and be affirmed. Love, and be loved.


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