St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest and theologian during the early/mid 13th century. His written work – the Summa Theologica (among many others) – is perhaps one of the best theological works in the history of the Church. He was indeed a gifted theologian and writer. At the end of his life he had a vision of our Lord from the Crucifix. Jesus spoke to Thomas: “you have written well of me, Thomas, what reward will you have?” St. Thomas answered: “nothing but yourself Lord.” You see, he understood that his written work, his life as a priest and theologian was nothing unless directed toward the greater glory of God and for the benefit of the whole Church. He put his talent to the service of others … yet His desire was for God.
The Prophet Isaiah speaks of this desire for God … “seek the Lord while he can be found, call upon him while he is near…” This section of Isaiah, notably called the section on the consolation of Israel, speaks of the Israelites return from Exile – consoling them to have hope that God would see them through their living in a foreign land, under foreign rule. It was not a time to complain … It was a call to conversion … that if they want to go home, they must first go to God. This passage is an encouragement for them – to begin, and begin again, with the pursuit of virtue … seek the Lord … Desire Him … He reminds them to put God first …
I could not help but think about how many folks have lost this vision … how many have abandoned faith … who have no faith in God … I see it in the way so many cling to politics as their “religion” – now, this is not meant to belittle the role of government as I do believe it is important and necessary … nevertheless, my point is that I see and observe through friends, family, social media, the news how fast and easy many people attach themselves to politics, to one candidate or political party as if these are the ones who are going to make our lives better … as if this one or that party is going to be the one that saves us from the calamities of life and the world … Lets remember this: No human being has the power to save our souls … but yet, this is precisely the environment in which we currently live.
Sadly, that which I see in the world – among many, many Catholics/Christians, is a lack of a real desire for God. You see, a sincere desire for God is such that it directs our lives beyond this world. We can get so consumed by “this-worldly” matters that we can easily lose our focus on the greater Good … we can get so dependent on earthly realities that we forget that our lives depend on God to sustain us … to see us through every difficulty and all adversity – there is in my opinion, no use of getting angry over one candidate or political party or another … because neither of them can save our souls. This message of Isaiah is for us – seek the Lord … it is a call to conversion, to begin again and again, day after day with the pursuit of virtue … St. Augustine once wrote: “do not say tomorrow I will be converted, tomorrow I will give thanks to God … It is true God promises forgiveness for your conversion but He does not promise tomorrow for your delays.”
Thus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Isaiah all remind us today to seek the Lord first, to seek Him above all else and to live our lives in accordance with that priority.