Sermon and Collation of St. Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Pentecost1

St. Thomas Aquinas

Sermon for the Day

Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

(Ps. 103:30)2

We should speak about Him without whom no one can speak rightly, about Him who gives speech and gives the power to speak copiously. And indeed, it is impossible to speak rightly without Him. Nor should one marvel at what is said: "Who can know the sense [sensum]" of the truth of God "unless he shall send His Spirit from the Most High?" (Wis. 9:17).3 Without a feeling [sensu] for the truth, no one speaks what is true. In like manner, the Holy Spirit makes all the saints speak copiously, and for this reason Gregory says: "Those whom He fills, He makes wise."4 The same thing is manifest today [on Pentecost], when "the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in various tongues" (Acts 2:4). Therefore, even though we are mute, we shall ask that He who gives abundant speech shall give me words to speak.

"Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created." Today Holy Mother Church solemnly celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles---a sending which the Prophet besought, when moved by the Spirit of prophecy he said: "Send forth Thy spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth." These words give us four things to consider: (1) what is proper to5 the Holy Spirit himself, (2) His sending,6 (3) the power of the one sent, and (4) the matter receptive of this power. The Prophet says, then: "Send forth": behold, the sending; "Thy Spirit": behold, the Person sent; "and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew": behold, the effect of the one sent; "the face of the earth": behold, the matter receptive of this effect.7

1. What is proper to the Holy Spirit

First, I say that what is proper to the Holy Spirit is indicated when the prophet says: "Thy Spirit." Notice that the name "spirit" seems to convey four things: subtleness8 of substance, perfection of life, impulse of motion, and hidden origin. So, first of all, the name "spirit" seems to convey subtleness of substance. For we are accustomed to call incorporeal substances "spirit." Similarly, we call subtle bodies such as air or fire "spirit." Hence we read in the last chapter of Luke's Gospel: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Lk. 24:39). And this is the way that "spirit" is distinguished from things that have heavy matter, things that are composed out of flesh and body.9 Secondly, the name "spirit" seems to convey perfection of life.10 For as long as animals have breath [spiritum] they are alive, and when their breath leaves them, they perish. "Thou takest away their breath, and they die and return to their dust" (Ps. 103:29). And in Genesis, Noah called into his boat "all flesh in which there was the breath of life [spiritus uitae]."11 Thirdly, the name "spirit" seems to convey impulse of motion, for it is in this way that we give the name "spirit" to winds.12 And in the Psalms it says about this: "He spoke and there arose a storm of wind [spiritus], the winds of storms shall be the portion of their cup."13 Men are also said to act "with spirit" when they do something forcefully, as Isaiah has it: "the spirit of the robust, like a whirlwind driving against the wall" (Is. 25:4).14 Fourthly, the name "spirit" customarily names a hidden origin, as when someone, feeling troubled and not knowing the cause of what is troubling him, attributes it to a "spirit."15 So we read in John: "The wind [spiritus] blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes" (Jn. 3:8).

In line with these four things, we can seek out what is proper to the Holy Spirit. Proceeding in reverse order, He is called "the Holy Spirit" on account of His being the hidden origin of things,16 impulse of motion, holiness of life, and subtleness of substance. First, I say that one thing proper to the Holy Spirit is His being the hidden origin of things. Faith teaches us and reason persuades us that all visible and changeable things have a hidden cause. What is that cause? God. Hence the Apostle says: "God is the one who created all things" (Heb. 3:4). It is certain that whatsoever is other than God is created by God. But in what manner did God create all things? It was not by a natural necessity, as fire burns; rather, He produced all things by His own will: "All things whatsoever that He willed, He did" (Ps. 113:ii, 3).17 A craftsman makes a house by will, but is also urged on by necessity or usefulness---say, that he may earn a profit or dwell in that house. But God did not make the world from a will of needy desire, for He does not need our goods.18 Why, then, did He make the world? Surely not from a needy desire, but from a loving will.19 Here's a comparison: an artisan who conceives a beautiful house in his mind, not because he needs to build it, but simply loving the house's beauty---that artisan's love would bring the house into being.20 But what is the cause and root of the production of hidden things? Surely love. Hence we read in the Book of Wisdom: "Thou lovest all the things which are, and Thou hast hated none of the things which Thou didst make" (Wis. 11:25).21 And blessed Dionysius says that "divine love does not allow itself to be without seed."22 This love is the Holy Spirit. For this reason, the account in Genesis of the beginning of creation says that "the Spirit of the Lord was borne over the waters" (Gen. 1:2), namely, in order to produce matter and bring things into being. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which is the source [principium] of being for all things. The Holy Spirit, whose property is love, therefore has [the note of being creation's] hidden origin.23

Secondly, "Holy Spirit" conveys impulse of motion. For we see in the world diverse motions: natural motions and, in men and angels, voluntary motions. Where do these diverse motions come from? They must come from a first mover, namely, from God. "Thou shalt change them and they shall be changed" (Ps. 101:27).24 And God moves by will. But what is the first motion of the will? Surely love. And what sort of activity belongs to love?25 I say: he who is moved by love rejoices by love over the thing loved and sorrows over what is contrary to it. Hence in the first chapter of Ezekiel we read: "Where the force of the Spirit was," that is, the inclination of divine love, "there they were carried" (Ezek. 1:12).26 And in truth, all things that are in the world are moved by the Holy Spirit, as the book of Esther testifies when it says: "There is no one who could resist His will" (Esther 13:9).27 This Holy Spirit whose feast we celebrate today is the source of all motion. Now, some things in the world are moved from within themselves, while some things are moved by others; the living are moved from within themselves, the lifeless are [only] moved by others. The source of all motion is alive, rather is life. Thus the Holy Spirit, in so far as He is the source of all motion, is life. "With Thee is the fountain of life" (Ps. 35:10).28 And because He is life, He therefore gives life. Great then is the Holy Spirit in all things that are, and move, and live. "In him, we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). All things therefore have motion and being from the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, if we consider the subtleness of substance in the Holy Spirit, we shall see that He is love. And whose love? That of God, and of those who love God. It is of the very nature of [this] love that the Holy Spirit has subtleness of substance.29 And on the part of the one loved [amati], He is the love by which God loves God and by which the Father loves the Son. The Book of Wisdom says: "For there is in her," meaning the wisdom of God, "the spirit of understanding," which makes men understand.30 In Greek, "holy" signifies cleanness.31 Truly, the love by which a man loves bodily things is not clean, for since the lover is united by love to that which he loves, the lover is made unclean to the extent that he mixes himself up with such a thing. For just as silver is debased when mixed with an impure metal, so your soul is debased if is mixed up with inferior or lower things by love of them.32 But when your soul is joined to a higher thing, then the love is called holy. Now, there are some who want to be devoted to God and yet who neglect the salvation of their neighbor; such an attitude is not from the Holy Spirit.33 The Apostle Paul was solicitous over his neighbor's salvation, for which reason he says: "I have become all things to all men, that I might be of profit to all" (1 Cor. 9:22). Again, there are some who are manifold but deceitful.34 Not thus is the Holy Spirit, for He is manifold in such a way that He, remaining utterly one, bestows Himself upon diverse things. Again, He is subtle because He makes a man withdraw from earthly things and cling to God. "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life" (Ps. 26:4).35 "It is good for me to cling to God" (Ps. 72:28).36

Fourthly, this Holy Spirit not only gives being, being alive, and being in motion; nay more, He makes men holy.37 Hence the Apostle says: "He was predestined God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness" (Rom. 1:4). No one is holy unless the Holy Spirit makes him holy. And how does He make someone holy? I say: He brings it about that what I have just been describing appears in all whom He makes holy, for He renders them subtle, and contemptuous of temporal things. As it says in John's Gospel: "Do not love the world nor those things which are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 Jn. 2:15). Again, He bestows spiritual life upon those whom He makes holy, as it says in Ezekiel: "Behold I will place the spirit within you, and you shall live" (Ezek. 37:5). The spiritual life owes its very existence to the Holy Spirit.38 "If you live by the Spirit, walk also by the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). Again, the Holy Spirit, who makes people holy, by His own force moves them to work well.39 "He [the saint] comes as a rushing stream, which the wind [spiritus] of the Lord drives forward" (Is. 59:19). Some men are lazy, and these do not seem to be driven by the Holy Spirit. Hence on that verse of Acts, "Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:2), the Gloss says: "the grace of the Holy Spirit knows nothing of slow efforts."40 Again, the Holy Spirit leads them back to the hidden origin through which we are united to God; in the words of Isaiah, "the Spirit of the Lord will carry you away to a place you do not know" (1 Kings 18:1241), that is, to the heavenly inheritance. "Thy good Spirit shall lead me into the right land" (Ps. 142:10).42 What is proper to the Holy Spirit is now clear: He is the origin of living, of being, and of moving.

2. The sending of the Holy Spirit

Let us look into the second [point], namely the sending of the Holy Spirit, which is marvelous and unknown to us, because the Holy Spirit is sent without needing to be sent,43 without change of Himself, without subjection, and without separation.

I say, first, the Holy Spirit is sent without His needing to be sent. When someone is sent to a place so that an event may happen which could not happen unless he were sent, this would be a sending out of necessity. But this has no place in the sending of the Holy Spirit, whom the Book of Wisdom describes as "having every power, beholding all things" (Wis. 7:23).44 What, then, is the reason for the sending of the Holy Spirit? Our neediness; and the necessity of this neediness of ours comes partly from human nature's dignity, and partly from its deficiency. For the rational creature excels other creatures because it can actually reach the enjoyment of God, which no other earthly creature can do.45 "The Lord is my portion, said my soul" (Lam. 3:24). Some seek their portion in this world, such as those who seek worldly honor or dignity. But the Psalmist says: "It is good for me to cling to God" (Ps. 72:28).46 You should consider that all things that are moved to some end must have something moving them toward that end. Those that are moved to a natural end have a mover in nature; but those that are moved to a supernatural end, namely to the enjoyment of God, must have a supernatural mover. Now, nothing can lead us to our end unless two things are presupposed, for someone is led to an end by two things---knowledge and love. The kind of knowledge in question is supernatural: "No eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it arisen in the heart of man, what God hath prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). "Never have they heard, nor perceived with ears, nor has eye seen, O God, without Thee, what Thou hast prepared for those who await Thee" (Is. 64:4).47 Now, whatever a man knows, he knows either by discovering it himself or by learning from another. Vision serves discovery and hearing serves learning, and for this reason it is said that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," showing that it [the final end] altogether transcends human knowledge. It exceeds human desire, too, and that is why Scripture says: "nor hath it arisen in the heart of man." How, then, is man led to know it? It was necessary for heavenly secrets to be made known to men; it was necessary for the Holy Spirit to be invisibly sent, in order to move man's affections so that he may tend toward that end. And thus it says: "Eye hath not seen." How, then, do we know? "God hath revealed it to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit examineth all things, even the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10). "Who would be able to know Thy thought [sensum], unless Thou gavest wisdom and sent the Holy Spirit from the Most High?" (Wis. 9:17).48 Therefore the Holy Spirit is sent not owing to any need of His, but for the sake of our benefit.

Again, the sending takes place without any change in Himself. There is change when a messenger is sent from place to place, but the Holy Spirit is sent without any change of place because He is the true God, unchangeable. "While remaining in Himself, He renews all things" (Wis. 7:27).49 How, then, is He sent? He draws us to Himself, and in that way He is said to be sent, as the sun is said to be sent to someone when he comes to share in the sun's brightness.50 So it is with the Holy Spirit, and for this reason Scripture says about uncreated Wisdom: "Send her from the heavens and from the seat of Thy greatness, that she may be with me" (Wis. 9:10).51 Again: "He hath sent His own Spirit, crying out Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:5). These sendings are diffused "throughout all the nations" (Wis. 7:27) and are carried into holy souls. When the "fullness of time" had come, the Son of God was sent in the flesh (Gal. 4:4), and thus it was becoming that the Holy Spirit, too, be visibly sent---but not in such a way that He took up a created nature into the unity of His Person, as the Son did with human nature.

Again, the Holy Spirit is sent without subjection.52 Servants are sent by lords because they are subject to them. It was for this reason that certain heretics falsely believed that the Son and the Holy Spirit were lesser than the Father, namely, because they were sent by Him. But the Holy Spirit makes us free,53 and therefore He is no servant. He is sent by His own judgment, for "the Spirit blows where He wills" (Jn. 3:8), and He is said to be "sent" only on account of the Father's identity as origin.54 We sometimes find [Scripture saying] that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father, sometimes by the Son; but the Greeks do violence to this truth [in hoc faciunt uim], for they say that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father, not from the Son, and in saying this they proceed in a simplistic manner [ruditer].55 Where the Son speaks of the sending of the Holy Spirit, he adjoins the Son to the Father or the Father to the Son, for our Lord speaks in one place of "the Comforter, whom the Father will send in my name" (Jn. 14:26), and in another place He says: "When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father" (Jn. 15:26). "From the Father" indicates, therefore, authority of origin.

Again, the Holy Spirit is sent without separation, because the Spirit of unity excludes separation. Hence the Apostle urges: "Take good care to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). The Holy Spirit gathers together [congregat], as we are taught in John's Gospel [when Jesus prays to the Father]: "That they may be one in us," through the unity of the Holy Spirit, "as we also are one" (Jn. 17:21-22). This union is begun in the present through grace, and will be consummated in the future through glory, to which may He lead us, who together with the Father and the Son lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.56

Evening Collation57

"Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth." This morning we spoke some words, as well as we were able to do58 about what is proper to the Holy Spirit, and about His sending. Now it remains for us to speak about the effects of the Holy Spirit, and to whom it belongs to receive those effects.

3. The effects of the Holy Spirit

Regarding what is set forth in the words of the Psalmist, we are given to understand a twofold effect of the Holy Spirit, namely, creation and renewal: "they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth." If we wish to take these words according as "creation" suggests the production-into-being of the things of nature, the Holy Spirit is in this way the Creator of all things, as Judith says: "Thou didst send forth Thy Spirit, and they were created" (Jud. 16:17).59 But let us now speak of a different creation. As common usage has it, those who are promoted to a higher state, such as the episcopacy or another dignity, are said to be "created."60 In this way all those who are promoted to be sons of God are said to be created, as if to say, promoted. Hence blessed James says: "[Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth] that we might be the beginning of His creation" (Jas. 1:18).61 The Lord wished to establish a new creature, and so in the Book of Wisdom we read: "God created all things that they might exist" (Wis. 1:14)---namely, in their natural existence; and He willed to re-create them, in order that they might exist in the existence of grace. The Apostles were the firstfruits of this re-creation. This re-creation is spoken of in Galatians: "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but a new creature" (Gal. 6:15). What does this mean? Before, there were pagans [gentiles], and referring to this Paul says "uncircumcision"; after, there were circumcised Jews, yet this condition availed nothing unless they were re-created through the grace of Christ.62 This creation is the effect of the Holy Spirit.

You should know that this re-creation is made up of steps. It can be looked at, first of all, with respect to the grace of charity; secondly, the wisdom of knowledge; thirdly, the harmony of peace; and fourthly, the constancy of firmness.

Just as you see that when men are brought into natural existence the first thing they obtain is life, so it ought to be the same with the existence of grace. But through what does a man live in the existence of grace? Surely through charity. "We know that we have been carried over from death into life because we love the brethren" (1 Jn. 3:14). Whoever does not love his brother, regardless of whatever sort of good work he may do, is dead. Charity is the life of the soul, for just as a body lives through its soul, so the soul lives through God, and God dwells in us through charity. "He who abides in charity abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 Jn. 4:16). In today's Gospel we heard: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (Jn. 14:23). But the man who does not do the will of God does not perfectly love Him, for "it belongs to friends to will and not will the same thing."63 In the homily of today's office, Gregory says: "Love's proof is in love's work."64 But you say: we just aren't able to fulfill the commands of God. I say: you aren't able to fulfill them by your own powers, but through the grace of God you certainly can do so! Hence the Evangelist adds: "My Father will love him"---God shall not fail a man---"and we will come to him," that is, we will be present to him (Jn. 14:23). By that presence [of God in our hearts], we [Christians] will be able to dedicate our powers to fulfilling God's commands. Concerning this charity for fulfilling God's commands, we read in Ephesians: "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works" (Eph. 2:10). Where does this charity in us come from? The Holy Spirit. "The charity of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us" (Rom. 5:5). He who has a share of daylight has that light from the sun; in the same way he who has charity has it from the Holy Spirit. Therefore: "Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created"---namely, in the being of the life of grace, through charity.

You see that men, when they become true lovers, make efforts to know the will of God.65 "It belongs to friends to have one heart," as it says in Proverbs,66 and God reveals His secrets to His friends.67 And this is the second step of the creation which is from the Holy Spirit: that they [who are re-created] may know God in wisdom. "But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" (Jn. 15:15). Hence, recognition of truth is also from the Holy Spirit. In today's Gospel: "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (Jn. 14:26). Now, however much a man may be taught exteriorly, it will profit him nothing unless the grace of the Holy Spirit is interiorly present.68 As the Gospel says, "The anointing will teach you concerning all things."69 And He not only teaches the truth, but will even call it back to mind. [It is as if our Lord were saying:] "I myself am able to teach you, but you do not by this fact believe or want to fulfill what I teach. But He who brings it about that you believe and that you fulfill what you hear, He will call things back to mind." The Holy Spirit does this because he inclines the heart to give assent and to carry out what it hears. Hence our Lord says: "Everyone who has heard and learned from my Father comes to me" (Jn. 6:45).70

The third step of creation has to do with concord of peace. St. James distinguishes between earthly and heavenly wisdom, and taking up what is proper to heavenly wisdom he says: "The wisdom which is from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation" (Jas. 3:17). But earthly wisdom is unchaste because it causes the affection to be corrupted by the love of earthly things. Hence we read in one of the canonical epistles [in Canonica]: "Whatever they know of these things, by these things they are corrupted" (Jude 10).71 Again, earthly wisdom makes men peevish and quarrelsome, but the wisdom which is from above draws one to God, for it is "peaceable, modest, persuadable." Quarrels arise from three things. First, when someone is not modest. As it says in Proverbs: "He who thrusts himself forward and makes himself big incites quarrels" (Prov. 28:25).72 Again, some men are stubborn in their opinion, nor do they allow themselves to be persuaded of anything but what they have in their own head; heavenly wisdom, on the contrary, is "persuadable." Again, worldly wisdom does not allow its wise men to come to an agreement with another, but heavenly wisdom brings about agreement among good men, and is therefore "peaceable." But who is it that makes the peace? The Holy Spirit, for "he is not a God of dissension but of peace" (1 Cor. 14:33). Hence it says in Ephesians: "Take good care to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). The Lord exhorts us to preserve this peace when He says: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth do I give unto you" (Jn. 14:27). This peace is twofold. One is in the present---the peace in which we now live, yet in such a way that we must still fight off vices; such is the peace the Lord "left with us" right now. The other is the peace that shall be in the future, without fighting; and about this the Lord says: "not as the world giveth do I give unto you."73 Now, some want peace only to be able to enjoy good things [more easily].74 The Book of Wisdom says about this: "Living in a great war of ignorance, they judged so many and so great evils to be peace" (Wis. 14:22).75 But what is true peace? Augustine says that peace is "security of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, and the fellowship of charity."76 Peace has a threefold object: oneself, one's neighbor, and God. Peace is needed with regard to oneself, so that reason may not be infected by errors or darkened by passions, and concerning this, Augustine says that peace is "security of mind." There should also be tranquility in affection, and concerning this he says "tranquility of soul." Again, there should be simplicity in intention, and concerning this he says "simplicity of heart."77 Peace toward one's neighbor is the "bond of love," and peace with God is the "fellowship of charity." Is not peace then utterly necessary for us? Surely it is. The Lord made His testament for the sake of peace, and those who do not want to keep the testament cannot receive the inheritance; thus those who do not want to keep peace cannot arrive at the heavenly inheritance. But what if someone were to say: "I want to have peace with God, but not with my neighbor"? The answer: such a thing is impossible. Hence a certain saint says: "No one can have peace with Christ who is out of harmony with a Christian."78 Therefore, the third step of creation is the harmony of peace, and so the prophet Isaiah declares: "I have created the fruit of the lips, peace" (Is. 57:19).79

The fourth step is constancy of firmness, and this too is from the Holy Spirit. Hence the Apostle says to the Ephesians: "according to the riches of His glory, may He grant you to be strengthened with inner might through His Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. 3:16). And in Ezekiel: "The Spirit entered into me and I stood upon my feet" (Ezek. 2:2). And in the Gospel: "Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid" (Jn. 14:27). And in the Book of Wisdom: "God created man incorruptible" (Wis. 2:25).80

Therefore, the first effect of the Holy Spirit is that He creates.

The second effect is a renewal which consists of four things: grace that cleanses, justice that is ever making progress, wisdom that illuminates, and glory that attains consummation.

I say that the effect of renewal through the Holy Spirit consists, first of all, of the grace that cleanses. Sin is a sort of old age of the soul, and a man is only freed from this old age through justifying grace, by which he is cleansed from sin. Hence the Apostle writes: "As Christ has risen from the dead, so also let us walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).81 Where does this newness come from? The Holy Spirit. So the same Apostle writes to Titus: "He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the laver of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5). All sins are forgiven through that laver, and in this way man is renewed.

Secondly, this renewal consists in the justice that is ever making progress. If one should walk, grow tired, and become weak, and then he rests, his powers seem to him to be renewed; and when a man works diligently,82 he is renewed when he gains further power for working. About this renewal Job says: "My glory shall be renewed, and the bow in my hand shall be repaired" (Job 29:20). The glory of the saints is the testimony of conscience. A man is renewed when he is quick to fight against vices. Isaiah describes it: "They shall take wings as eagles, they shall fly and not fail" (Is. 40:31),83 namely, for running in the way of God's commandments (Ps. 118:32).84 But who causes this running? The Holy Spirit. "He led us out through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness that does not stumble, and the Spirit of the Lord was his leader" (Is. 63:13-14).85

Thirdly, renewal comes about through the wisdom that illuminates. When a man comes to new knowledge of more of the good things of God, he is renewed. About this renewal it says in Colossians: "Put on the new man who is created according to God."86 The "new man" [nouus homo] indicates Christ, because His was a novel [noua] kind of conception,87 "not from the seed of man, but from the Holy Spirit"88; a novel kind of birth, because His mother remained a virgin after birth; a novel kind of suffering [passio], because it was without guilt 89; a novel kind of rising from the dead [resurrectio], because it was quick and renewing, for He rose quickly and in glory 90; a novel kind of ascension, because he ascended by His own power, not by that of another, as did Enoch and Elijah.91 And so it is said in Ecclesiasticus: "Show signs anew and work wonders" (Sir. 36:6). And because all things are renewed through Christ, therefore on solemnities we use new vestments in church, that we may "sing to the Lord a new song"92---as though to signify that he who is renewed by the exterior cleanness of his clothing is renewed interiorly in his mind by grace. By "stripping off the old man," i.e., the habit of sins with its deeds, "and putting on" the habit of virtue which is not lacking in [good] deeds, "the new man," i.e., the rational mind, will be renewed "in the knowledge of God" (Col. 3:9-10).93 As Romans has it, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). And from whom does that wisdom come? The Holy Spirit, as Job testifies: "As I see, there is a spirit in men, and the inspiration of the Almighty gives understanding. [They that are aged are not the wise men, neither do the ancients understand judgment]" (Job 32:8-9).94

Fourthly, renewal comes about through the glory that attains consummation, when the body is renewed, the oldness of punishment and guilt being taken away. We read about this in the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; [and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind]" (Is. 65:17). And where does this renewal come from? The Holy Spirit. He is the pledge of our inheritance, and it is He who leads us into the heavenly inheritance. He who needs to be created and renewed shall obtain this from the Holy Spirit.

4. The recipient of these effects

But who receives that renewal? "The face of the earth": that is, the whole world, which at one time was filled with idolatry. Today, the Lord gave to the Apostles the gifts of the charisms.95 It was of them that the prophet Isaiah said: "They who enter with force," namely, the force of the Holy Spirit, "from Jacob shall fill the face of the earth with seed" (Is. 27:6).96 And "face of the earth" refers to the human mind, for just as it is through the face that we see in a bodily manner, so it is through the mind that we see in a spiritual manner, as it says in Genesis: "God created man from the slime of the earth and breathed into his face the breath of life" (Gen. 2:7). But in order that the human mind may receive that renewal, it should have four things: it should be clean, uncovered, directed, and stable and firm.

Of the first, we read in Matthew: "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face" (Mt. 6:17), namely, with tears of compunction, and then you will be able to receive the renewal of the Holy Spirit. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Ps. 50:12).97

Secondly, the face of the mind should be open and uncovered. The prophet says: "His face is covered with fatness" (Job 15:27).98 Some have the face of their mind covered over with the darkness of ignorance. [Job, on the contrary, asserts:] "Darkness has not covered my face" (Job 23:17).99 And the Apostle: "But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face," namely, a face not covered over by affection for earthly things, "are transformed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).

Thirdly, the face of the mind should be directed toward God, as we read in the prayer: "Now I turn my face toward Thee, and direct my eyes toward Thee" (Tob. 3:14).100 How do we turn our face toward God? By a right intention; it is thus that we obtain the renewal of the Holy Spirit. Hence it says in the Gospel of Luke: "He will give the good Spirit to those who ask him" (Lk. 11:13).101 Again, if you are turned [to God] through obedience, He will give the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. Likewise, we should also turn our face toward our neighbor, as Tobit says to his son: "Do not turn your face away from any poor man, and the face of God will not be turned away from you" (Tob. 4:7). Hence the Apostles received the Holy Spirit when they were together (Acts 2:1-4).102

Fourthly, the face of the mind should be firm. It is written of Anna, mother of Samuel, "her countenance was no more changed in various ways" (1 Sam. 1:18),103 and for this reason she received the Holy Spirit. And the book of Job says: "Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear" (Job 11:15). The Holy Spirit is given to persons like these. That is why it says in the Gospel: "And eating together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, 'you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'"104 But if they had gone away [from Jerusalem], they would not have received the Holy Spirit. "He who perseveres shall be saved" (Mt. 10:22; 24:13). In our prayers today, we shall ask the Lord to grant us this grace of perseverance.105 Amen.

Notes on the Translation

1. This translation is based on the provisional critical edition of the Leonine Commission; thanks are due to Fr. Bataillon for generously providing us with a text to work from, as well as a list of fontes that supplied us with citations from Scripture and other sources. Scripture verses are translated exactly as Thomas quotes them from memory, and the numbering of chapter and verse is that of the Vulgate. Where the RSV translation is importantly different, this will be noted for the sake of comparison. As is customary in medieval works, throughout the sermon Scriptural verses are announced by author or book title, seldom with any further specification, e.g.: "The Holy Spirit, as the origin of all motion, is life. Psalmist. 'With you is the font of life.' And because He is life, He gives life. . . . Whence in Acts: 'In Him we live and move and have our being.'" This seems to be an instance of shorthand, not a stylistic issue. Accordingly, we have taken the liberty of suppressing some of the shorthand, and supplying exact scripture references in parentheses. (return to text)

2. The verse Thomas preaches on (Ps. 104:30 iuxta Hebraeum) is taken from the antiphon of the third Psalm of Matins for Pentecost, and from the first alleluia of the Mass on the same day (cf. Rome, Santa Sabina, AGOP XIV.L.1, f. 108vb, 344ra). (return to text)

3. "Who has learned thy counsel, unless thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?" (RSV). (return to text)

4. Hom. in Evang. 30,5 (PL 76:1223B). (return to text)

5. Here Thomas is using the technical term proprietas, the "property" of the divine Person, which refers to "what is proper to" the divine Person: that which belongs to the Father as Father, the Son as Son, the Spirit as Spirit. In the following sentences proprietas will at times be rendered "what is proper to." The term appears in the Preface of the Most Holy Trinity: "So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in persons, oneness in being, and equality in majesty" (in personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in maiestate adoretur aequalitas). Cf. Summa theologiae [ST] I, q. 32, a. 2, corp.: "Therefore the divine essence is signified in the manner of 'what', and the 'person' in the manner of 'who', and the 'property' in the manner of 'that whereby' [the person is that person and not another]" (essentia significatur in divinis ut quid, persona vero ut quis, proprietas autem ut quo). (return to text)

6. The word missio or "mission" literally means "sending." (return to text)

7. As usual, St. Thomas prefaces the main body of the text with an outline of the content, announcing that there will be four parts. The first two are taken up in the sermo, the last two in the collatio. We have numbered them with bold-faced Arabic numbers. As is very common in his works, Thomas patterns his treatment after the four Aristotelian causes (agent, form, end, and matter). Here, he speaks first of who the Spirit is formally, then of the purpose of His activity, then of His efficacy, and finally of the "matter" on which He works---namely, the Christian faithful. (return to text)

8. Subtilitas has a somewhat different meaning from that of its modern-day transliteration, "subtlety," so I have written "subtleness." Subtilitas indicates an acuteness and a penetrativeness arising from lack of density, a certain fineness or delicacy of nature or operation. This is the reason why the medievals refer to fire as subtle: it seems to lack bodily density and can "get into" things, can penetrate into other substances and divide them. (return to text)

9. Et sic distinguitur spiritus a rebus que grossam materiam habent, que sunt composita ex carne et corpore. Cf. ST I, q. 36, a. 1, ad 1; Sent. I, d. 10, q. 1, a. 4. (return to text)

10. Note that the word spiritus in Latin can mean either "spirit" or "breath." Whenever "breath" is used in the next lines, it translates spiritus. (return to text)

11. Cf. Gen. 6:17; 7:15. Here "spirit" is being used in the sense of the "vital spirit," or soul, that makes an animal body to be alive. It does not imply an immaterial, immortal soul. (return to text)

12. Cf. ST I, q. 27, a. 4; q. 36, a. 1. (return to text)

13. Thomas brings together phrases from two different Psalms: "He said the word and there arose a storm of wind, and the waves thereof were lifted up" (Ps. 106:25); "He shall rain snares upon sinners, fire and brimstone and storms of winds shall be the portion of their cup" (Ps. 10:7). (return to text)

14. "[T]he blast of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall" (RSV). (return to text)

15. Thomas may have in mind a phrase like "I'm in low spirits," which doesn't assign a cause, but expresses a vague sense of discontentment. (return to text)

16. Thomas simply writes: propter occultam eius originem (and in the next sentence, proprietas Spiritus sancti est occulta eius origo). Although Aquinas does not expressly say so, the ensuing argument seems to depend not on the Spirit himself having a hidden origin within the Godhead, but rather, on all created things having their cause in an origin that is hidden from view, the Spirit. This is why faith and reason must lead us to discover this cause, for it is not self-evident. Hence, I have construed these phrases to be speaking of the hidden origin of things and of their motions. (return to text)

17. "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases" (Ps. 115:3, RSV). In the Vulgate of Psalm 113, the numbering begins anew after verse 8; hence the ii, 3. (return to text)

18. Cf. Ps. 15:2, Vulgate: "You are my God, because you do not need my goods" (Ps. 16:2, RSV: "Thou art my Lord; I have no good apart from thee"). (return to text)

19. Certe uoluntate amoris, non cupiditatis. (return to text)

20. As this line is quite dense in the original, it needed some expansion: Exemplum habemus: artifex qui sciret excogitare domum non indigens sed amans pulchritudinem domus, ille amor artificis produceret domum in esse. (return to text)

21. "For thou lovest all things that exist, and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made, for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it" (Wis. 11:24, RSV). (return to text)

22. On the Divine Names ch. 4, §10 (PG 3:708B). "Blessed Dionysius": an anonymous Syrian monk of the fifth century whom medieval theologians took to be the disciple won by St. Paul at the Areopagus in Athens (cf. Acts 17:34). On his identity, writings, and theology, see Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord, vol. 2: Studies in Theological Styles: Clerical Styles, trans. Andrew Louth, Francis McDonagh, and Brian McNeil (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1984), 144-210; Andrew Louth, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition from Plato to Denys (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1983). The Pseudo-Dionysius is among the authors most frequently cited by St. Thomas, who, in addition, wrote an extensive commentary on On the Divine Names. (return to text)

23. Habet igitur Spiritus sanctus occultam originem cuius proprietas est amor. Here, as before (see note 16 in the essay accompanying this translation), I supply a phrase the argument seems to call for. (return to text)

24. The full context should be borne in mind: "Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but thou art the same, and thy years have no end" (Ps. 102:26-27, RSV). (return to text)

25. Et que est operacio amoris? (return to text)

26. The full verse, speaking of the four living creatures in the prophet's vision: "And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went" (RSV). (return to text)

27. Adapted from the prayer of Mordecai: "O Lord, Lord, King who rulest over all things, for the universe is in thy power and there is no one who can oppose thee if it is thy will to save Israel. For thou hast made heaven and earth and every wonderful thing under heaven, and thou art Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist thee, who art the Lord" (Esther 13:9-11, RSV). (return to text)

28. Ps. 36:9 iuxta Hebraeum. (return to text)

29. Or, "It is from that notion of love," etc.: Ex ista racione amoris habet Spiritus sanctus substancie subtilitatem. (return to text)

30. "For in her [wisdom] there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle" (Wis. 7:22b-23, RSV). (return to text)

31. Cleanness in the sense of purity---which makes sense out of the example of the silver which becomes impure or "debased" when mixed with a "baser" metal. (return to text)

32. In this line, "debased" translates contrahit immundiciam, for it does not seem idiomatic in English to speak of silver "contracting uncleanness." "Impure metal": rei impure. The thought Thomas is expressing here has to be understood with an implicit qualification: it is an inordinate or disordered love of bodily things that is unclean and makes a person unclean. If bodily goods are so loved, they crowd out spiritual goods and debase the soul, which was made for better things than mere bodies. When such goods are rightly loved, on the other hand, they enrich the soul's goodness by offering exercise to moral virtue. No one is more sensitive to the dangers of a dualistic rejection of the goodness of bodily creatures than Aquinas, a fierce opponent of medieval Manichaeism. (return to text)

33. sed non sic Spiritus sanctus est, i.e., the Holy Spirit is not a spirit like that, but one that is opposed to selfishness. This phrase is repeated in the same sense in the next sentence. (return to text)

34. multiplices sed dolosi. The sense of multiplices is "many-faced, many-talented," able to turn this way and that, skillful. (return to text)

35. Ps. 27:4 iuxta Hebraeum. (return to text)

36. "But for me it is good to be near God" (Ps. 73:28, RSV). (return to text)

37. An attempt at expressing the dynamism of the Latin infinitives: iste Spiritus sanctus non solum dat esse, uiuere et mouere, immo facit sanctos. The last phrase could also be rendered, "He makes saints." (return to text)

38. Spiritualis uita est per Spiritum sanctum. (return to text)

39. Spiritus sanctus quos sanctificat impetu suo ad bene agendum mouet. (return to text)

40. In Thomas's writings, "the Gloss" refers to one or another of the widely-consulted medieval compilations of comments on individual verses of Scripture, drawn from the writings of the Fathers and monastic scholars. Here it is the Glosa interl. in Act. 1:2, citing St. Ambrose, Exp. in Evan. Lucae II,19 (CCSL 14:39.292; PL 15:1560A; 1640D). (return to text)

41. As he will occasionally do, Thomas misattributes the quotation (in this instance, he refers to Isaiah)---a mistake easily pardoned in a man who, having learned the entire Bible by heart, quoted it from memory. (return to text)

42. "Let thy good spirit lead me on a level path" (Ps. 143:10, RSV). (return to text)

43. That is, there is nothing in the Holy Spirit himself which would make it necessary for him to be sent to us; there is certainly a necessity on man's part to receive the Holy Spirit, as St. Thomas shows. (return to text)

44. See note 4. (return to text)

45. Cf. ST I, q. 38, a. 1. (return to text)

46. Ps. 73:28 iuxta Hebraeum. (return to text)

47. "From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him" (RSV). (return to text)

48. "Who has learned thy counsel, unless thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?" (RSV). The Vulgate has "from the Most High," de altissimis. (return to text)

49. In the scriptural context, where the subject is wisdom personified, the verse reads: "While remaining in herself, she renews all things." In the sermon, however, because the verse is applied directly to God, and the Latin gender is structurally ambiguous (In se manens innouat omnia), the phrase would "sound" masculine. Hence the translation. Two lines later, where Thomas expressly refers to the personification of wisdom at Wis. 9:10, the feminine pronouns return. (return to text)

50. Cf. ST I, q. 9, a. 1, ad 2: "Insofar as the likeness of divine wisdom proceeds step by step from the highest things, which share more in its likeness, even to the least of things, which share in it less, there is said to be a certain procession and motion of divine wisdom into things; similarly we say that the sun 'goes to the earth', insofar as its rays of light reach the earth." And at the same place, ad 3: "For just as the sun is said to enter a house or to go out, insofar as its rays reach the house, so God is said to draw near to us or to recede from us, insofar as we receive the influence of his goodness, or fall away from him." Cf. also ST I, q. 43, a. 1, ad 3; Super Boetium De Trinitate q. 1, a. 4, obj. 2 and ad 2. (return to text)

51. "Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of thy glory send her, that she may be with me and toil, and that I may learn what is pleasing to thee" (Wis. 9:10, RSV). (return to text)

52. Cf. ST I, q. 43, a. 1, ad 1. (return to text)

53. Cf. 2 Cor. 3:17. (return to text)

54. In the Blessed Trinity, the Father is not the cause of the Son or the Spirit, for all three Persons are the one true God, consubstantial, identical in being, absolutely uncaused. The Father is called the "origin without origin," inasmuch as the Son proceeds from Him, and the Spirit proceeds from Him and from the Son (see the following note). (return to text)

55. St. Thomas is referring to the Filioque debate: the Greek Orthodox profess that the Spirit proceeds "from the Father" (or "from the Father through the Son"), while Catholics profess that the Spirit proceeds "from the Father and the Son" (qui ex Patre Filioque procedit). (return to text)

56. Thomas's text ends with the conventional shorthand "To which may he lead us . . .", and we have supplied the likely remainder. (return to text)

57. As noted earlier in the accompanying essay, the collatio (or collacio) in sero is the continuation, at Vespers, of the morning sermon. (return to text)

58. Hodie diximus in mane aliqua pro modulo nostro (return to text)

59. "Let all thy creatures serve thee, for thou didst speak, and they were made. Thou didst send forth thy Spirit, and it formed them; there is none that can resist thy voice" (Jud. 16:14, RSV). (return to text)

60. In the medieval idiom, a priest elevated to the bishopric is said to be "created a bishop," and a bishop who is made a cardinal is "created a cardinal." (return to text)

61. The latter phrase, as Thomas quotes it: ut simus inicium creature eius. In the RSV: "that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." (return to text)

62. It is not clear what Thomas is driving at with the ante and postea. Perhaps he is saying: Before the covenant with Abraham, there were simply gentiles; after this covenant, there were circumcised Jews; but with the coming of Christ, neither uncircumcision nor circumcision counts for anything before God, since there is only one savior of mankind, Christ, in whom all men can be created anew. (return to text)

63. A saying from Sallust, Bellum Catil. cap. 20; cf. De veritate q. 23, a. 8, sc. 2 (Leon. ed. 22/3:673.54-55). (return to text)

64. Probacio dilectionis exhibicio est operis, literally, "the showing of a work is the proof of love": Hom. in Evan. 30,1 (PL 76:1220C). (return to text)

65. Videtis homines quando efficiuntur dilectiores proficiunt ut cognoscant uoluntatem Dei. (return to text)

66. The saying is not in the book of Proverbs, but there is a similar sentiment at Acts 4:32, "the company of those who believed were of one heart and one soul"---multitudinis autem credentium erat cor unum, et anima una. Elsewhere (Sent. I, d. 10, q. 1, a. 4) Thomas observes: "We say that two men who love one another and agree [lit., whose hearts are together] are of one spirit or 'conspiritors' [lit., ones who breathe or whisper together], just as we say they are 'one heart and one soul', as it says in Ethics 9, ch. 10: 'It belongs to friends to be one soul in two bodies'" ("dicimus duos homines amantes se, et concordes, esse unius spiritus vel conspiratos; sicut etiam dicimus eos esse unum cor et unam animam; sicut dicitur Eth. 9, cap. 10: «Proprium amicorum est, unam animam in duobus corporibus esse»"). (return to text)

67. "Secrets" translates secreta. Cf. Summa contra gentiles IV, cap. 21, et seq. In Aquinas's Commentary on John 15:15 we read: "For the true sign of friendship is that a friend reveals the secrets of his heart to his friend. Since it belongs to friends to have one heart and one soul, what one friend reveals to another does not seem to be placed outside his own heart. . . . Now God, reveals his secrets to us by making us sharers in his wisdom" ("Verum enim amicitiae signum est quod amicus amico suo cordis secreta revelet. Cum enim amicorum sit cor unum et anima una, non videtur amicus extra cor suum ponere quod amico revelat. . . . Deus autem faciendo nos participes suae sapientiae, sua secreta nobis revelat"). (return to text)

68. Cf. Gregory, Hom. in Evan. 30,3 (PL 78:1222A). (return to text)

69. The verse is in fact 1 Jn. 2:27. (return to text)

70. Thomas quotes the verse with verbs in the future tense: "All who shall hear and shall learn from the Father, shall come to me." (return to text)

71. Verse 10 reads in full: "But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed." (return to text)

72. "A greedy man stirs up strife" (RSV). (return to text)

73. Here Thomas is borrowing ideas from Augustine, Tract. in Ioan. 77,3 (CCSL 36:521.5-7; PL 35:1834), whom he had quoted to the same effect in the Catena aurea on Jn. 14:27---a good example of how the preacher made use of his academic "dossiers" to enrich his preaching. On this topic, see Bataillon's article "Les sermons de saint Thomas et la Catena aurea" in St. Thomas Aquinas 1274-1974, Commemorative Studies, ed. Armand A. Maurer et al. (Toronto: PIMS, 1974), 1:67-75. All the allusions to Augustine in this part of the sermon appeared first in the Catena aurea on Jn. 14:27. (return to text)

74. Cf. Augustine, Tract. in Ioan. 77,5 (CCSL 36:522.3-5; PL 35:1855). (return to text)

75. "Afterward it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but they live in great strife due to ignorance, and they call such great evils peace" (RSV). (return to text)

76. Ps.-Augustine, Sermo 97 (from Augustine, De verbis Domini 57, PL 39:1931). (return to text)

77. Note the order: intellect, sensitive appetite, rational appetite. (return to text)

78. Cf. Ps.-Augustine, Sermo 97 (PL 39:1931). (return to text)

79. Thomas reads pacem in apposition to the fructum labiorum. "I will lead him and requite him with comfort, creating for his mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, says the Lord; and I will heal him" (Is. 57:18b-19, RSV). (return to text)

80. "God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity" (Wis. 2:23, RSV). (return to text)

81. On the theme of old age, vetustas, as an image of sinfulness, see John Saward, Cradle of Redeeming Love (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002), 259-64. "The metaphor of oldness is neither an insult to the elderly nor a license for the young. The newness that Christ brings, first for the soul and later [in the resurrection] for the body, is supernatural. When old Simeon takes the Infant Messiah into his arms, and the age prophetess speaks of Him 'to all that look for the redemption of Israel' (cf. Lk. 2:28ff.), they prove themselves to be among the first recipients of the rejuvenating grace of Christ. . . . Simeon and Anna have an eagle-like youthfulness of soul that puts to shame the spiritual decrepitude of those chronologically younger people, such as Herod, who lack the saints' perfection of childlike hope in the Child-God" (ibid., 264). (return to text)

82. quando homo laborat inseruiendo (return to text)

83. "[T]hey who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (RSV). (return to text)

84. A direct reference to Ps. 118:32, "I will run in the way of thy commandments when thou enlargest my understanding" (Ps. 119:32, RSV); but very likely also a recollection of some famous lines in the Rule of St. Benedict, which Thomas would have heard read aloud during his boyhood years at Montecassino. Near the close of the Rule's Prologue, we read: "And so we are going to establish a school for the service of the Lord. In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome. But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity, do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation, whose entrance cannot but be narrow. For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run in the way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love" (trans. Leonard J. Doyle [Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1948, repr. 2001]). (return to text)

85. Aquinas cites the Vulgate text accurately, but omits the phrase quasi animal in campo descendens, which follows quasi equum in deserto non impingentem. A modern translation reads rather differently: "Who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. Like cattle that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So Thou didst lead Thy people, to make for Thyself a glorious name" (RSV). (return to text)

86. In fact, Eph. 4:24; but cf. Col. 3:10. (return to text)

87. It is hard to bring out in English the play on words in this passage. Thomas is saying that Christ is fittingly called a new man, nouus homo, because everything about Him was new---both in the sense of novel, never before seen, and in the sense of newborn, fresh in vigor, untarnished by age. The main accent in the sentence is the "novelty" of the kind of conception, birth, etc. we see in Christ. I have added the implicit "kind of" to each phrase, since this is how we would say it colloquially. (return to text)

88. A reference to St. Ambrose's Hymnus in Nativitate Domini, "Intende qui regis Israel." In the Dominican liturgy as in other branches of the Roman rite, this hymn is chanted at Vespers of Christmas, but omitting the first stanza and beginning with the words "Veni Redemptor gentium." (return to text)

89. For Aquinas, suffering is always a punishment for wrongdoing---if not for personal wrongdoing of one's own, then for that of Adam in which one shares as a member of the human race, or that of someone else to whom one is united. Hence, we suffer deservedly. Christ, in contrast, inherited no wrong and did no wrong; therefore he did not deserve to suffer. Hence his Passion and death were "novel" because, unlike ours, they were entirely voluntary and in no way His "due." (return to text)

90. Scripture records many instances of resurrections, but they are always a rising again to the same mortal life; Lazarus, the widow's son, the daughter of Jairus, all of these, though raised from the dead, must die again. But Christ rises immortal, i.e., to the life of glory or in a glorified state; "death has no more dominion over him." The "quick and renewing," cita et innouans, is referring to the difference between Christ's resurrection to glory, which took place on the third day after his death, and the bodily resurrection of the other saints, which will take place at the end of time (the Virgin Mary being the only known exception). (return to text)

91. Enoch and Elijah were (passively) carried into the heavens; they did not (actively) ascend. A similar distinction is made between the ascension of Christ and the assumption of Mary. (return to text)

92. Cf. Ps. 32[33]:3, Ps. 95[96]:1, Ps. 97[98]:1, Ps. 143[144]:9, Ps. 149:1. (return to text)

93. Col. 3:9-10 in full: "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." (return to text)

94. "[I]t is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old that are wise, nor the aged that understand what is right" (RSV). Though Thomas cites only part of verse 8, the concluding "etc."---a ubiquitous medievalism that at least means "the rest of the verse," but can also mean "the rest of the passage in that vicinity"---draws our attention to the contrast between God-given wisdom (verse 8) and merely human wisdom (verse 9) gained by experience or study. (return to text)

95. Cf. Third Response for Matins of Pentecost (Rome, Santa Sabina, AGOP XIV.L.1, f. 1109ra). (return to text)

96. Where Thomas seems to say a Jacob, the Vulgate has ad Jacob. The Douay-Rheims version translates: "When they shall rush in unto Jacob, Israel shall blossom and bud, and they shall fill the face of the world with seed." Cf. RSV: "In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit." It should be noted that Jerome favored the most literal translation possible from the Hebrew text, while the RSV (and modern versions in general) tend to be more interpretive. Whether the Vulgate's reading in a particular case is defensible or faulty is a question to be settled by exegetes. When citing Scripture in his sermons, Thomas tends to avoid basing premises on a detail of the text, relying more on the general "thrust" of a verse or the "drift" of its surrounding context. For this reason, among others, his handling of Scripture remains both timeless and timely, in a way that is not always true of many of his contemporaries who favored allegorical interpretations built upon tenuous linguistic associations. (return to text)

97. Ps. 51:10 iuxta Hebraeum. The surrounding verses are also pertinent to Thomas's point: "Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice . . . Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (vv. 8, 11-12). (return to text)

98. In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, urging Job's guilt, builds up a vivid description of the justly-punished evildoer: "The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless. Terrifying sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him. . . . Because he has stretched forth his hand against God, and bids defiance to the Almighty, running stubbornly against him with a thick-bossed shield; because he has covered his face with his fat, and gathered fat upon his loins, and has lived in desolate cities, in houses which no man should inhabit, which were destined to become heaps of ruins; he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure, nor will he strike root in the earth; he will not escape from darkness; the flame will dry up his shoots, and his blossom will be swept away by the wind" (Job 15, vv. 20-21, 25-30). By "the prophet" Thomas is referring to Job, not Eliphaz, whose speech happens to be recorded in the prophet's book. (return to text)

99. The Vulgate of Job 23:17 reads: Non enim perii propter imminentes tenebras, nec faciem meam operuit caligo, "For I have not perished because of the darkness that hangs over me, neither hath the mist covered my face." Thomas cites the verse as follows: Non operuit faciem meam caligo, "Darkness has not covered my face." The RSV renders the verse not as a negation but as an affirmation: "I am hemmed in by darkness, and thick darkness covers my face." Notes in the RSV indicate manuscript support for either reading. (return to text)

100. "And now, O Lord, I have turned my eyes and my face toward thee" (Tob. 3:12, RSV). From the prayer of Sarah, daughter of Raguel, future wife of Tobias. (return to text)

101. "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Lk. 11:13, RSV). (return to text)

102. Thomas sees in the Pentecost event---where the Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles precisely as gathered together, not as isolated individuals---a model of the relationship between love and service of God, and the love and service of neighbor. The Spirit is given from above to those who are attentive to the needs of their fellow Christians and fellow men. (return to text)

103. The Vulgate (1 Kings 1:18 = 1 Sam. 1:18) reads: Et abiit mulier in viam suam, et comedit, vultusque illius non sunt amplius in diversa mutati. The RSV renders the last phrase "and her countenance was no longer sad." The point Thomas seems to be making is that a person who is totally shaken up, tossed this way and that---due to sadness or any other cause---is not living resolutely by the Holy Spirit, who makes one endure hardships in a spirit of fortitude. Hence the verse from Job about lifting up one's face with confidence, being secure and not being afraid, and the verse about the Apostles waiting as they were commanded to do, even though it may have been difficult for them to wait. (return to text)

104. In fact, Acts 1:4; but cf. Lk. 24:49. The point Aquinas is making is this: the Apostles were told to wait patiently for the coming of the promised Spirit, that is, to be stable and to stand firm until God fulfilled His promise. (return to text)

105. The text with a customary formulaic phrase: "We shall ask the Lord." The sentence would have been completed in a manner like the one suggested. (return to text)

© Peter Kwasniewski

The Aquinas Translation Project