Aquinas, On Doing Good (Monday after Septuagesima)

2 months ago
Meditation for Monday After Septuagesima (1/29/2018, 2/18/2019, 2/10/2020) by St. Thomas Aquinas 0:20 On doing good 0:34 We must do good, how all things ...

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Monday after Septuagesima
ON DOING GOOD
In doing good let us not fail.
For in due time we shall reap, not failing.
In these words, St. Paul does three things:
1. He warns us that we must do good.
For to do good is a duty seeing that all things,
by their nature, teach us to do good.
(i) They so teach us because they are themselves
good.
And God saw all the things that he had made,
and they were very good.
Sinners have ample cause to make them blush
in the multitude of created things,
all of them good, while sinners themselves are evil.
(ii) Because all things, by their nature,
do good.
For every creature gives itself, and this
is a sign of their own goodness and of the
goodness of their Creator.
Denis says "God is goodness, something which
must diffuse itself."
St. Augustine says, "It is a great sign of
the divine goodness,
that every creature is compelled to give itself."
(iii) Because all things by their nature desire
what is good and tend to the good.
The good is, in fact, that for which everything
longs.
2. St. Paul warns us, that in doing good we fail not.
There are three things which most of all cause
a man to persevere in doing good :
(i) Assiduous and wholehearted prayer for
help from God lest we yield when we are tempted,
Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into
temptation.
(ii) Unceasing fearfulness.
As soon as a man feels confident he is safe,
he begins to fail in doing good, Unless thou
hold thyself diligently in the fear of the
Lord, thy house shall quickly be overthrown.
Fear of the Lord is the guardian of Life;
without it speedily indeed and suddenly is
the house thrown down, that is to say, a dwelling
place that is of this world.
(iii) Avoidance of venial sins, for venial
sins are the occasion of mortal sin and often
undermine the achievement of good works.
St. Augustine says, "Thou hast avoided dangers
that are
great, beware lest thou fall victim to the
sand."
3. St. Paul offers a reward that is fitting,
is generous and is everlasting.
For in due time we shall reap, not failing.
Fitting: in due time, that is, at a fitting
time, at the day of judgment when each shall
receive what he has accomplished.
So the farmer receives the fruit of his sowing,
not immediately but in due time, The husbandman
waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth;
patiently bearing till he receive the early
and the latter rain.
Generous: We shall reap ; here it is the copiousness
of the reward that is indicated.
With the harvest and reaping we associate
abundance, He who soweth in blessings, shall
also reap blessings.
Your reward is very great in heaven.
Everlasting : We shall reap, not failing.
We ought then to do good not for an hour merely,
but always and continually.
In doing good let us not fail, that is to
say, let us not fail in working, for we shall
not fail in reaping.
Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly.
And right it is not to fail in working, for
the reward to which we are looking is everlasting
and unfailing.
Whence St. Augustine says: "If man will set
no limit to his labour, God will set no limit
to the reward."