Theology Update for the Week of November 23

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Dear friends in Christ, On Sunday, November 23, the Ecclesiastes Bible study starts with chapter 3, the famous “A time to be born and a time to die . . . .” You are welcome to join me on the 5th floor at 10 o’clock. We have coffee and tea and lots of Bibles. Because of Thanksgiving Day, the class will not be repeated on Thursday.

The “Doctrinal Tuesdays” class on Aquinas on faith will turn to the teaching of Aquinas that faith is “infused” in us by God. That seems to mean that it is a virtue, but it is not built up by us as we can build up other virtues (= “human excellences”). In that case, is it right to consider it a virtue at all? Aquinas also raises the question of why some people lack faith. And there are more questions! We will explore them this coming Tuesday evening (and the following Tuesday), November 25 and December 2, in Andrew Hall, from 6:30 to 7:30pm. No advance reading is expected.

The final seminar on Dante’s Divine Comedy will discuss Paradiso cantos 18-33. The ending is sublime poetry, in which Dante tries to convey the rapture of gazing upon God as he really is in himself. Anyone who reads the text is welcome to the conversation—it is not necessary to have attended the earlier seminars—on Monday, December 15, at 6:15pm.

Finally, our parish is coming to the end of its fall campaign for the 2015 Every Member Canvass. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to pledge your support of Saint Thomas Church. We are grateful to everyone who supports Saint Thomas financially with any gift, whether large or small. But of course the most important reason for doing so is responsible thanksgiving: a sign of our gratitude to God for all he has given.

As he was preparing for last Monday’s seminar on Paradiso, Jim Alimena had these thoughts, which I’d like to pass on: “When I was reading Canto 16 lines 7-9 and Dorothy Sayers’s comments on them, it struck me that this could apply to Saint Thomas Church and the EMC. Dante says that the descendants of noble families must continue to do noble deeds otherwise the glory of their ancestors will vanish. A major theme of the EMC, as you know, is the current generation of Saint Thomas parishioners can’t simply live off the generosity of the church’s past benefactors.” Yes: it is our calling, now, to respond thankfully so that our parish may continue to glorify God.