Rev. fr. Rudolf Steven N. Seño, O.P., PhL reflected on the theme “Mind to Know You, A Heart To Seek You, and Wisdom to Know You” to honor St. Thomas Aquinas in Triduum Masses held from January 25-27, 2021 at the St. Dominic de Guzman Chapel via Facebook livestream.
A Mind to Know You
In his reflection, fr. Seño said intellectual people were prone to be misinterpreted and misunderstood and often would receive negative remarks from other people. However, fr. Seño said Aquinas used his intellect to bring love.
“Kung titingnan niyo ang icon ni St. Thomas Aquinas [at] kung titingnan mo ang kanyang puso diyan, isa po iyang araw. Bakit araw? It could also represent the mind, which is illuminating. Nag-e-enlighten. But at the same time, it is placed in the heart because it shows there na ang kanyang mind ay nagmamahal. Iniisip ang kanyang kapwa,” he said.
“Isa po siyang Dominican Friar na ang kanyang spirituality is to contemplate the truth and to share the fruits of his contemplation to others,” fr. Seño added.
To understand his teachings, Aquinas made his contemplation of truth accessible to people, according to fr. Seño. “Ibinaba niya ang kanyang diskurso upang maintindihan ng tao,” he said.
“Ginagamit niya ang kanyang katalinuhan hindi lamang para ipakita ang kagandahan ng Diyos [kundi] upang siya ay maging bukas sa kapwa niya,” he said.
A Heart to Know You
In his teachings, St. Thomas Aquinas set a tripartite framework that God must come first in the order, which was followed by the Self, and the Other—contrary to other spiritual writers who placed Others over Self, according to fr. Seño.
Likewise, fr. Seño echoed Aquinas’s order of the tripartite to live a meaningful life and also serve as a guide to bring love toward others. “Love others as you love yourself. Ang basehan ng ating pagmamahal sa ating kapwa ay ang sarili,” Seño said. “If you could not love yourself, if you could not accept yourself, neither can you love and accept others,” he said.
On the contrary, according to fr. Seño, John 15:13 stated that “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. But for Aquinas, the Self will not be sacrificed in its totality because only the body would be sacrificed, but not the soul. “You have to determine what truly is the Will of God,” he said.
Moreover, fr. Seño recalled the illustration of Aquinas with a sun in his heart that would symbolize a thinking heart. “Bakit nasa puso? Bakit hindi nilagay sa ulo niya ang symbolism? […] Because it is a thinking heart,” he said.
The thinking heart and the loving mind must function mutually and in harmony, according to fr. Seño. “We should apply our mind and heart in relation to God.” he said.
A Wisdom to Know You
Fr. Seño said Aquinas’s concept of wisdom was different from what we know because he follows Aristotle’s philosophy.
“Ganoon po ang wisdom para kay Aquinas: it is putting things in order,” fr. Seño said.
According to fr. Seño, Aquinas meant that God must be put above all things, which includes health and wealth. “Aanhin mo ang mga milyon-milyon o bilyon-bilyong pera kung sa huli ay magkakasakit ka,” fr. Seño said.
Echoing Mother Teresa’s words, fr. Seño said our mission was not to be successful, but rather, to be faithful. “If you are faithful, if and only then, success will follow,” he said.
“If you have God, you have everything. You could consider yourself the richest man in the world,” fr. Seño added.
“If you search for wisdom, you will not only develop a good relationship with God, but you will also have [good] health and wealth because God is with you,” fr. Seño said.
Moreover, he cited the lines “Keep us in beauty, in truth, and in virtues” in the UST Hymn that embodied the most important values of the Angelic Doctor, who is the University Patron.
The Triduum Masses are celebrated in anticipation of the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas on January 28.