A Thanksgiving Message from the Mediaeval Period
From the Prologue of Book Three (Providence) of Contra Gentiles by Thomas Aquinas, written some 700 years ago, comes a message telling us why every good thing is from above.
“The Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods” (Ps- 94:3) . “For the Lord will not cast off His people” (Ps. 93:14)”For in His hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His. For the sea is His and He made it, and His hands formed dry land” (Ps. 94:4-5)
We have shown that there is a First Being, possessing the full perfection of all being, Whom we call God, and who also, of the abundance of His perfection, bestows being on all that exists, so that He must be recognized to be not only the first of beings, but also the first principle of beings. Now this being bestows being on others not by an necessity of His nature, but according to the decree of His will, as we have shown above. Hence it follows that He is the Lord of all things He has made, as we too are masters of those things that are subject to our will. And this dominion which He exercises over all that He has made is absolute, for since He has produced them without the help of an extrinsic agent, and even without matter as the basis of His work, He is the universal efficient cause of the totality of being.
Now everything that is produced through the will of an agent is directed to an end by that agent; because the good and the end are the proper object of the will, wherefore whatever proceeds from a will must needs be directed to an end. And each thing attains its end by its action, but this action needs to be directed by Him Who endowed things with the principle whereby they act.
Consequently God, Who in Himself is perfect in every way, and by His power endows all things with being, must needs be the Ruler of all, Himself ruled by none: nor is anything to be excepted from His ruling as neither is there anything that does not owe to Him its being. Therefore as He is perfect in being and causing, so also is He perfect in ruling.
~ Aquinas, Contra Gentiles, III, 1.
May God grant us a thankful heart this Thanksgiving.
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