Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Advice from St. Thomas: If you're down, have a good cry

St. Thomas' reputation as a formidable philosopher and theologian can sometimes make us forget he was also completely down to earth. For example, he says that if you're feeling blue, have a good cry. It's a great way to deal with the pain.

First, he quotes an authority, in this case St. Augustine:

Augustine says (Confess. iv, 7) that when he mourned the death of his friend, "in groans and in tears alone did he find some little refreshment."

Then Thomas explains why crying is good:

"Tears and groans naturally assuage sorrow: and this for two reasons. First, because a hurtful thing hurts yet more if we keep it shut up, because the soul is more intent on it: whereas if it be allowed to escape, the soul's intention is dispersed as it were on outward things, so that the inward sorrow is lessened. This is why people, burdened with sorrow, make outward show of their sorrow, by tears or groans or even by words, their sorrow is assuaged.

"Secondly, because an action that befits a person according to his actual disposition is always pleasant to him. Now tears and groans are actions befitting a person who is in sorrow or pain; and consequently they become pleasant to him. Since then, as stated above (Article 1), every pleasure assuages sorrow or pain somewhat, it follows that sorrow is assuaged by weeping and groans."
(Summa Theologiae, I-II, question 38, article 2.)

So the next time you feel those tears coming on, feel free to indulge with the blessing of Aquinas!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of sorrowful Thomists... August 26th, Dr. Raphael Thomas Waters passed away. One of the last great Thomists in the lineage of Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange.
( http://www.buffalonews.com/deaths/local-obituaries/article178083.ece )

Say a prayer or two and shed a tear or two.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Thank you for the information.
May he rest in peace!

Voice in the Crowd said...

Sr. Lorraine, love your blog.

A like-great quote from one of my favorite priests, Blessed Miguel Pro, states that mourning is not a detraction from how God views our Faith and loyalty in/to Him. Mourning is a human need that needs to run its course.

Many people feel that mourning is not excepting God's will.

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