Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ergo Concluso in Contra Manicheus!

(Thomas von Aquin bei Ludwig dem Heiligen, by Niklaus Manuel)
Louis IX of France is known as a saint, a moral leader, an affectionate husband, a (less than successful) crusader, and a holy mentor to his son. It is not my purpose here to expound upon his life and saintliness, but rather to consider an odd incident late in his life. The fame of Tommaso d’Aquino’s theological genius had grown so great in Europe that he was known to dine occasionally with the king, who no doubt enjoyed speaking on matters of the Faith with the Angelic Doctor.

One day the two were lunching together, and Tommaso’s mind began to wander back to the Summa he was in the midst of writing. His dining companions apparently did not notice his mental withdrawal until he pounded his fist on the table and shouted out, “Ergo concluso in contra manicheus!” (With this I finish the Manicheans!)—for Thomas Aquinas had conceived of a new argument against the dualist heretics plaguing Europe.

Stunned, it only took King Louis and Thomas’ secretary Friar Reginald a few moments to find ink and paper so that the argument could be preserved for theological tracts and debates. Once written, the meal continued with new vigor and joy.

One could formulate an entire theology of feasting from this incident alone. The sharing of good food and sacred conversation is a joy known best to orthodox Christians. We rejoice in truth, and are driven to celebrate by enjoying the best the fruits of the earth. Is it any coincidence that Chartreuse, that most Catholic of drinks, was invented in Louis’ old realm?

As St. John the Golden-Mouthed once said, “Ubi caritas gaudet, ibi est festivitas” (Where love rejoices, there is festivity).

St. Louis of France, pray for us! (source)

1 comment:

  1. Heaven is described as a wedding feast. A freaking wedding feast - with wine and food. I need no more to convince me against the dualists.