Sunday, November 14, 2010

Words to Live By: Thomas Aquinas

Item debemus audire non solum ab uno, sed a multis; quia dicit Apostolus I Cor. XII, quod divisiones gratiarum sunt. Unus non est profectus in omnibus. Beatus Gregorius optime scivit moralitates, beatus Augustinus quaestiones solvere, et beatus Ambrosius optime allegorizavit. Quod non addiscis ab uno, addiscis ab alio. Unde in Eccl. VI: in medio presbyterorum prudentium sta, et in sapientia cordium illorum conversare, ut possis audire narrationem Dei. Quod non narrat unus, narrat alius. Non dico quod credam utile esse quod qui incipiunt primo audire scientiam aliquam, quod diversos audiant; sed debent audire unum quousque sint fundati; et cum sint fundati, audiant diversos, ut possint carpere flores ex diversis, idest quae sunt utilia.

Further, we should not only listen to one person but to many people, because as the Apostle says: there are a variety of graces. One man is not accomplished in all things. Blessed Gregory knew morals the best, blessed Augustine solved questions [the best], and blessed Ambrose allegorized the best. What you do not learn from one, you learn from another; thus in Ecclesiasticus: Stand in the midst of the wise elders, and join yourself from your heart to their wisdom, that you may listen to the discourse of God. What one does not tell you, another does. I am not saying that I believe that it is useful for those who are beginning to first listen to any sort of knowledge for the sake of listening to different people, but they ought to listen to one person until they become well versed, and when they have become well versed, then they should listen to different people so that they might be able to pick flowers from different opinions, in other words, those things which are helpful.

--Sermon, "Puer Iesus", 3.6

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