Ignatians are Thomistic because St. Thomas Bonds Study, Prayer, and Action
As philosophical and theological foundation for prayer, the Ignatian dedicates himself to the study of theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, grounded on the realist metaphysics and epistemology that lies at the center of the praeambula fidei and the motiva credibilitatis, .
The Society of Ignatians is convinced that in order to live out the traditional definition of prayer as a raising and focusing of not only the mind but also the heart, the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas lays deep foundations.
Deep prayer presumes deep convictions; deep convictions require for many people intellectual certainty of the divinely revealed truths.
And for the Ignatian, called by mission to a pro-convert outreach, this intellectual certainty is a necessity.
St. Thomas’s steeled logical argumentation assuring the Ignatian of the truth of the Catholic Faith.
Intellectually, the Ignatian finds in the presuppositions of Thomistic theology ‒ a realist metaphysics and epistemology ‒ the convincing intellectual defense for the praeambula fidei and the motiva credibilitatis underlying his Catholic Faith and resolve to dedicate his life to the mission of the salvation of souls.
Even though many different theologies have their respective values, the key principles of the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas empower men and women to clearly perceive the harmonious bonding of faith, reason, and “common sense”.
St. Thomas’s theology urges him to his knees because it answers the needs of his intellect and his affectivity.
By assuring his mind of the truth of the Catholic Faith, it impels his willpower onwards in the task of building a sturdy prayer-life and a contemplative spirit in order to become a saint.
For St. Thomas’s theology breathes the prayerful spirit of its author whose soul was shaped by the inspiring traditional liturgy.
Thomistic theology also naturally bonds with the traditional liturgy of the Church.
This is because St. Thomas structures the majestic and convincing theology of his Summa Theologiae by the axis of both cosmic history and personal existence, the exitus-reditus (going forth and return) of the cosmos and the individual soul from God the Father through the redemption of Our Lord Jesus Christ, empowered by the action of the Holy Spirit, in order to bring about the final purpose of both the individual and cosmic history in the return to the Eternal Father.
In the traditional liturgy one can see this pattern in the weekly and annual liturgical cycles as well as in the Trinitarian-Christological form of prayer, i. e. through Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Eternal Father by the Indwelling of the Most Holy Spirit.
“If one bears in mind the kind of students for whom Thomas was writing—young men who would be steeped in the fruits of lectio divina, beneficiaries of a constant encounter with the word of God in prayer, in the divine office, in the sacred liturgy, in the reception of the Blessed Sacrament where the Word escapes its textual prison and comes to us in the flesh—if one bears in mind the life of these young men, and if one is careful to cultivate among modern pupils of St. Thomas a comparable discipline, it will not be difficult to see how much more subtle is the true relationship between a Summa of theology and the life of oratio et labor to which the Christian is called.
“In St. Thomas’s mind, there is always something preceding and something succeeding the use of a theology textbook or attendance at a series of lectures; the theologian provides no more than an evanescent middle term between life and thought, experience and reflection.
“Beforehand there must be the praeparatio of prayer and penance; afterwards, there must be action and contemplation, transcendence and incarnation, a continual circulation from earth to heaven, self to neighbor to God.” ( Peter Kwasniewski, “On Recovering a Genuine Thomism in Our Times” https://thejosias.com/2016/12/05/on-recovering-a-genuine-thomism-in-our-times/ )