Co-Workers of the Truth 6/20

Benedict XVIThe light of Jesus is reflected in the saints and shines back from them.  The “saints”, however, are not just those who have been canonized.  There are always hidden saints, saints who live in the company of Jesus and receive a ray of his brightness – a concrete and real experience of God.  To make this more comprehensible, it is perhaps permissible to borrow here a concept that the Old Testament uses in its account of Moses and his people in Exodus: if they cannot look directly upon the face of God, they nonetheless see God- see at least “his back”  (Ex 33:23).  And just as Moses’ face glowed after this meeting with God, so the light of Jesus radiated from the life of such individuals.  Thomas Aquinas even went so far as to explain the scientific nature of theology in terms of this text.  He says that theology, too, is in this sense a secondary science that does not “see” and “prove” its own foundations.  It is, so to speak, dependent upon the “knowledge of the saints”, on their conviction; this conviction is the reference point of theological thought, which vouches for its legitimacy.  The work of the theologian is, in this sense, always “secondary”, always ordered to the real experience of the saints.  That is the humility that is required of the theologian…Without the realism of the saints, without their contact with reality, which is what it is all about, theology becomes an empty intellectual game and loses its character as a science.

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