Thought of the day
12/14/2020 5:48:33 AM

Witness to God


Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Dominican theologian, Doctor of the Church

Commentary on Saint John's Gospel, 4, 1

Witness to God

Every creature has been made to witness to God since all creatures are, as it were, evidence of his goodness. The greatness of creation bears witness in its own way to the divine strength and almighty power, and its beauty to the divine wisdom. Some people receive a special mission from God: they not only bear witness to God from a natural point of view, by the fact of their existence, but even more from a spiritual one through their good works (…) However, those who, not content with receiving divine gifts and carrying out good deeds by God's grace, pass on these gifts to others by word, encouragement and admonition are even more particularly God's witnesses. One of these witness was John; he came to spread God's gifts and proclaim his praises. This mission of John's, his role as witness, is of surpassing greatness since no one can bear witness to something except insofar as they participate in it. Jesus said: “We speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen” (Jn 3:11). To bear witness to divine truth presupposes that one knows that truth. That is why Christ also possessed this role of witness: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (Jn 18:37). However Christ and John possessed this role in different ways. Christ possessed this light in himself – more, he was this light – whereas John merely participated in it. That is why Christ bears a witness that is complete; he fully manifests the truth. John, and the other saints, only do so in the measure that they receive this truth. John's sublime mission implies his participation in the light of God and his likeness to Christ who, himself, carried out this mission.