This post is the seventh and final look at the Holy Spirit-inspired theology of Thomas Aquinas. I hope that you have enjoyed the richness of his insights…
What does faith guarantee? The application of it results in unwavering hope:
Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality – faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. Heb. 11:1 AMP
Hope is based on faith in things unseen. Aquinas puts it this way: …even when we have faith, there still remains in the soul an impulse toward something else, namely, the perfect vision of the truth assented to in faith…among the various teachings of faith there is one according to which we believe that God exercises providence over human affairs. In consequence of that belief, stirrings of hope arise in the soul…
After all, we could not have hope if we did not have faith in that God cares about us, and that His word is inviolate (where we search to strengthen that hope):
…by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge would have strong encouragement and indwelling strength to hold tightly to the hope set before us. Heb. 6:18 AMP
We exercise this hope in prayer – a necessary exercise in order to petition God for having our hope fulfilled. It is a divine conversation between His Spirit and our soul:
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7 AMP
Christ Himself gave us a template for prayer content, (commonly referred to as the ‘Lord’s prayer’), for constructing a powerfully effective way to convey our hope to our Father, wrapped in our faith that Jesus, the Author and Finisher of that faith, so generously laid upon us.
We can bathe in our hope, assured in our faith that God can and will answer our prayers if we do our best to walk in His ways:
Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. Is. 59:1 NLT
The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. James 5:16 CSB
So, because prayer is so important, Aquinas offers his insights as to why Jesus choose His particular script for praying:
“Our Father in heaven…” Mt. 6:9 NKJV
Firstly, we consider God as our Father because we are His children:
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ… Rm. 8:16, 17.
And if we are also heirs, then there must be a divine endowment:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept in the power of God through faith for salvation… 1 Pt. 3 – 5. NKJV
If that’s not a hope-builder, I don’t know what it.
Approaching God as our ‘Father’ also brings a declaration of our intimacy with Him, which increases our hope through our prayer:
…He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…’For we are also His offspring.’ Acts 17:27, 28. NKJV
And we say ‘our’ Father as opposed to ‘my’ Father, so that our prayers include our brothers and sisters in Christ:
…we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Rm. 12:5 NKJV
In that same opening sentence, we include ‘in heaven,’ to remind us how BIG our God is, that there is nothing that He cannot accomplish. It also brings to the fore that our petitions must align with God’s heavenly words if they are to be answered. Finally, we recognize that our prayers come before God in heaven itself – where they stay.
“…your name be honored as holy.” Mt. 6:9 CSB
This being the second half of the first prayer sentence, is befitting the first of the Ten Commandments – to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. It is a demonstration of our reverential esteem for our Creator. It also reminds us to honor our ‘Great Commission’ by bringing the gospel to as many as we can – both by speaking it and by being a living example of the best holiness that we can muster, thereby glorifying God.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Mt. 6:10 CSB
This is a petition of hope that we might share in the glory of God’s kingdom – the presence of which brings happiness and peace that transcends anything the world has to offer and is incorruptible and only made possible by forming a union with our Creator. It is an attainment of our divine perfection that is reflected in and eternal joy-filled life.
In that final state, we shall rest in immeasurable abundance, goodness and sanctuary:
“…all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” Pr. 1:33 NLT
Thomas Aquinas rested with the Lord before he could finish Short Summa, (which would have undoubtedly contained the remainder of the Lord’s prayer), but the can be thankful for the blessings he left.
What he did leave us with was citations of these last two scriptures, which lovingly bolsters our faith and hope in that we can choose to be in God’s kingdom and He will make it so…
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” Lk. 12:32 NLT
I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place and I will do all my will. Is. 46:10 CSB
Goodnight and God bless.