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Part Three - of christ

Now we get to the heart of the Summa, where the broad, philosophical sweep of Part One connects with the deeply personal human insights of Part Two in a simple act of healing presence that is signified by the mystery of the Incarnation and the sacrament of the Eucharist.

And how does Aquinas join these two very different worlds? By describing the model for their joining in the Incarnation and the life of Christ, and by describing the sacraments, the means by which we experience the healing presence of this joining and the means by which we are helped along on our path to the happy self-awareness of the divine.

mystery and revelation

As you recall from our earlier discussions, God is the name we give to the mysterious cause of existence. And what we know of the Trinity, the insight into the particular nature of this mysterious cause of existence, we know through revelation, the words of Jesus in Scripture and church teaching that conforms to Scripture. As we said, Aquinas doesn't think such information is provable, or anything we would necessarily would have deduced ourselves. Yet he thinks it is true, that it is a deep spiritual insight that helps us recognize what existence (and the mystery behind it) is actually like, and that it will of course be consistent with what we find out on our own using reason.

The Incarnation and the Eucharist are truths of this nature, statements that set the highest context by which we understand the essential fabric of the world, the nature of human beings, the point towards which we are evolving, and how we can best get there. In Part Three, the big mysteries all come together: the essential mystery of God, the self-awareness of God as described by the Trinity, the joining of this to a human being in the Incarnation, and the ongoing presence of this historical joining through space and time in the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

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