Vol I No. 7
Daily Thought

St. Thomas Aquinas On the Creed, Part Three

by William J. Martin

The second effect of faith is that eternal life is already begun in us; for eternal life is nothing else than knowing God. This the Lord announced when He said: “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” [Jn 17:3].This knowledge of God begins here through faith, but it is perfected the future life when we shall know God as He is. Therefore, St. Paul says: “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for” [Heb 11:1].No one then can arrive at perfect happiness of heaven, which is the true knowledge of God, unless first he knows God through faith. “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed” [Jn 20:29].

We discover the nature of faith through its effects. Its effects can be found in our own lives. Yet, for the sake of appreciating its true universal nature, it is better when we find it in the lives of others. The horizontal proof of God the Holy Ghost’s vertical intrusion into human life is found in the lives of others. Of course, I speak not only of the famous Saints whom the Church has canonized, but of the saints whom we encounter in the common drudgery of human existence.

The second effect that we find in their lives is eternal life. To be more precise, we find that they are already beginning to live eternal life here and now. We perceive and sense this because they know God and they are doing His will. Thus, we find traces of their knowledge and love of God in the habits of their lives. Their knowledge is not yet a certain and sure possession. Thus, in faith they seek to know more and more about God and His will for them. They hope for perfect knowledge and love of God in the future. In the meantime, they faithfully submit their lives to God’s eternal life, truth, and love and to as much as they now have learned about Him. So, they are in transit to the kingdom. Faith is the necessary character of their relation to God since they continuously seek to know and understand more and more. They obtain glimpses and hints of God’s knowledge and love here and now. But their vision is clouded and their understanding of God is imperfect. Thus, in faith they seek to know and love God in incremental steps of progress. With all their knowing, they know that they know nothing in comparison to God’s knowledge and love, and thus they resort always to the faith that believes there is so much more to learn.

Not yet seeing, grasping, holding, and comprehending God necessitates the humble disposition of faith. This disposition opens them up to the Eternal life of the Father, known through Jesus the Son, by the motion of the Holy Spirit. The eternal life that they seek is communion with God’s being, knowing, and loving. In the lives of the saints we find that this faith is forever journeying after the knowledge and love of God. Today, let us embrace this same faith. Let us believe in order to journey and continue our pilgrimage to God and His Kingdom. For the little knowledge that we are afforded, let us be perpetually grateful. Before us stands eternal life. In faith, let us embrace its truth and goodness by submitting to its rule and governance in our lives beginning here and now.