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The benefits of Faith Print E-mail
By St. Thomas Aquinas   
Thursday, 12 December 2013

From a consideration of all this, one is led to a fivefold benefit. 

1) We are led to a knowledge of the divine majesty. Now, if a maker is greater than the things he makes, then God is greater than all things which He has made. “With whose beauty, if they being delighted, took them to be gods, let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they... Or if they admired their power and their effects, let them understand by them that He that made them, is mightier than they” [Wis 13:3-4]. Hence, whatsoever can even be affirmed or thought of is less than God. “Behold: God is great, exceeding our knowledge” [Job 36:26].

2) We are led to give thanks to God. Because God is the Creator of all things, it is certain that what we are and what we have is from God: “What do you have that you did not receive?” [1 Cor 4:7]. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and all who dwell on it” [Ps 23:1]. “We, therefore, must give thanks to God: What shall I render to the Lord for all the things that He has done for me?” [Ps 115:12].

3) We are led to bear our troubles in patience. Although every created thing is from God and is good according to its nature, yet, if something harms us or brings us pain, we believe that such comes from God, not as a fault in Him, but because God permits no evil that is not for good. Affliction purifies from sin, brings low the guilty, and urges on the good to a love of God: “If we have received good things from the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?” [Job 2:10].

(4) We are led to a right use of created things. Thus, we ought to use created things as having been made by God for two purposes: for His glory, “since all things are made for Himself” [Prov 16:4] (that is, for the glory of God), and finally for our profit: “Which the Lord your God created for the service of all the nations” [Deut 4:19]. Thus, we ought to use things for God’s glory in order to please Him no less than for our own profit, that is, so as to avoid sin in using them: All things are yours, and we have given you what we received of your hand” [1 Chron 29:14]. Whatever we have, be it learning or beauty, we must revere all and use all for the glory of God.

5) We are led also to acknowledge the great dignity of man. God made all things for man: “You subjected all things under his feet” [Ps 8:8], and man is more like to God than all other creatures save the Angels: “Let us make man to Our image and likeness” [Gen 1:26]. God does not say this of the heavens or of the stars, but of man; and this likeness of God in man does not refer to the body but to the human soul, which has free will and is incorruptible, and therein man resembles God more than other creatures do. We ought, therefore, to consider the nobleness of man as less than the Angels but greater than all other creatures. Let us not, therefore, diminish his dignity by sin and by an inordinate desire for earthly things which are beneath us and are made for our service. Accordingly, we must rule over things of the earth and use them, and be subject to God by obeying and serving Him. And thus we shall come to he enjoyment of God forever.

 

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