Discover more from Summons
“You should choose to enter not immediately into the ocean depths, but rather through small streams, for one should reach more difficult matters by going through the easier ones first.”
Saint Thomas Aquinas gave this advice to a pupil who was inquiring about methods of study. It’s sound advice not only for how we study, but also for how we approach the spiritual life.
As for study, the problem for many of us is not that we immediately jump into the deep end, but that study simply isn’t a part of our lives. We might be years (or even decades) out of school and the habit of learning has fallen by the wayside. However, we’ve been given a tremendous gift in our intellectual power, so let’s not bury it in the sand, but grow and nurture that power through study.
In regards to our spiritual lives, we’ve witnessed and experienced two different sentiments. Either we feel on fire for the faith and want to do every devotion known to man, or we feel dry and struggle to keep up with the basics. In both cases, we can heed Aquinas’ words: enter through the shallow end. Start small.
Keep in mind though that in study and faith, we don’t want to stay in the shallows. Our goal is to eventually wade out into the depths, both intellectually and spiritually.