Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Thomas’s most important message in the work is that the example of Christ should be followed in all things. He warns that people should turn from the world and that secular learning may be spiritually dangerous. The vanities of the world are to be despised, he says, and we must not let the words of detractors detain us on our endeavor to follow the path of Christ. We must put all our trust in God alone, he says. The example of the holy fathers and saints is to be followed: They served the Lord through all adversities; they suffered willingly for Christ’s sake; they refused all honors and bodily pleasures to gain everlasting life; they prayed constantly and renounced much to be faithful to God.

Thomas argued that the Eucharist is especially profitable for the spiritual life. The great goodness of God is offered in the blessed sacrament, which is so marvelous in that the Creator comes down to the lowest of creatures, thus raising them to devout heights. It is profitable to the soul to receive Communion often (the general wisdom of Thomas’s time urged against frequent communicating), and Thomas says that there are many advantages given to those who properly receive the sacrament that is the life of the soul, the medicine for spiritual illness. Vices are cured by it, passions are held in check, temptations are overcome, and faith is increased. The devout will find the Eucharist a way to be one with Jesus. Submitting to the will of Christ will enable Christians to receive God’s grace.