Thomism with Fr. John Sica, O.P.

We\’d like to take a little time now and pick up a story describing a grace-filled two weeks or so here at the Monastery, a while back before COVID-19 became the headline everywhere. But first, all of us here wish all our readers and prayer companions a joyful and blessed Easter! As the saying we\’ve heard going around says, \”The churches are empty–but so is the tomb.\” More on that in a later post.

We had a lovely visit with Fr. John Sica, OP, a brother from the eastern (St. Joseph) Dominican province. Father John is currently living in Houston with our brothers at Holy Rosary Priory while he works toward a degree at the University of St. Thomas. This school is run by the Basilian Fathers, and has an excellent program Father wished to pursue. He came here to the Monastery for a double purpose: to be our supply chaplain while our regular chaplain, Fr. John Lydon, OP, took his vacation, and also to take his personal retreat. In between retreat days and celebrating at Mass, Father gave us a couple of very interesting talks on basic Thomism.

The beautiful thing about the works of St. Thomas is that you can be at any level and still find something to chew on. You may be cracking open the Summa Theologiae for the first time, trying to understand the old disputatio style of the Middle Ages that characterizes its format. You may suddenly realize how the five proofs of the existence of God fall into place, the cornerstones of theology. You will almost definitely be surprised to read that far from being a Puritanical, prudish old bachelor, St. Thomas makes it very clear in several places: the greatest pleasure a human being can know is physical.  And far away at the other end you may see, just for a moment, the glory of God Himself that blinded St. Thomas at the end of his life, leading him to put away his writing materials, saying, \”Everything I have written seems like straw, compared with what I have seen.\”

Fr. John brought a lot of fun to both his classes and our recreation time with him one evening in the parlor. We know it can be tough to be one priest facing so many nuns, but like most Dominicans, he was up to the task! We wish Father well in his studies and hope to see him again sometime before he returns to his province.

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