Truth is one of the most important gifts that anyone can give or receive. Without truth, we cannot evaluate our most important decisions: “What will bring me true happiness?” “How should I pursue it?” “What can I do, today, to bring it closer?”
We find ourselves once again in the season of Advent, the season in which we celebrate the gift of truth in the most personal way. For, as our Holy Father Francis constantly reminds us, knowledge of the truth means, above all, coming to know a Person:
Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history. Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith in the Son of God made man in Jesus of Nazareth enables us to grasp reality’s deepest meaning and to see how much God loves this world and is constantly guiding it towards himself. (Lumen Fidei)
Here at Thomas Aquinas College, our students seek the truth through many different paths: the order of mathematics, the wonder of natural science, the beauty of poetry and literature. But all of these are ordered to the two highest disciplines: philosophy, the love of wisdom, in which reason grapples with the eternal questions; and above all, theology, the knowledge of God, in which faith unites with reason to show us Truth Himself.
The education at the College is a continual conversation. In their reading, students join with the authors of the great books in discussions that have gone on for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
And yet, students cannot enter into a living relationship with most of these authors. Reading and discussion are valuable and necessary, and both help to turn students into active seekers after the truth. Nevertheless, the most important conversations on campus take place not in our classrooms, but in our Chapel — not in reading the words of the great books, but in communion with the Word made flesh. The College’s program is directed, finally, toward fostering this relationship for each individual student.
Martin Beers (’15) came to the College principally for our challenging academic program. “Although I was also concerned about making progress in the spiritual life,” he says, “I thought of intellectual development and spiritual development as two independent processes.” But after experiencing the curriculum, from the logic of Aristotle to the writings of St. Augustine, he has come to see how all knowledge is ordered to the knowledge and love of God:
I came to TAC because I wanted to develop my mind and study reality in an environment where I could also grow in love for God. Now I come here because I want to develop my mind and study God so that I may grow in love for Him.
We believe that this opportunity should be available to anyone — and we believe that such availability includes both the education itself and the means to make it possible. This year, in order to keep that commitment, we must provide well over $4 million in financial aid for more than three-quarters of our student body. As we approach the middle of our fiscal year, this challenge becomes increasingly urgent; but as we approach the celebration of God’s entrance into human history, we trust not in our own weakness, but in the strength of the Child born in Bethlehem.
I ask you now to help students like Martin to develop their minds and grow in love for God. Please prayerfully consider making a gift of $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50 – or whatever you can afford.
I pray that this Advent and Christmas season will be an occasion for you to grow in the love of “the Son of God made man.” You and all of our benefactors will be remembered at Midnight Mass in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.
Michael F. McLean, Ph.D.
PS: For a gift of $100 or more, it would be my pleasure to send you a new CD of sacred music, Kyrie: Music for Mass at Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, recorded by the Thomas Aquinas College Choir under the direction of Daniel Grimm (’76).