“We ought to avoid a thoughtless choice….Submit all choice to Christ as the Judge.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas,” pg. 58. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon.
Thoughtless choices are dangerous little fox traps on our path we take to heaven. This quote from our Saint illustrates the importance of not only thinking and weighing carefully each choice that is given to us to make, but in submitting these choices “to Christ as the Judge.” This is another little lesson in obedience and submission to the Will of God.
When St. Thomas Aquinas says “submit all choice” this way, what is our Saint really saying? I don’t think we could know in clearest terms unless the Angelic Doctor himself were still alive. But from life experience and the good advice of Catholic sources, writings, priests and confessors, we can at least assume a couple of things regarding this little phrase.
One is that we should always submit our choices at the beginning of each day and each task by offering the day and its work to God and, along with them, our wills. In doing so, we begin our days and our daily tasks in union with God’s Will, and we ask for His guidance to lead us to do His Will–and He is faithful to provide in this way. All we need to do is ask Him.
The other is that after asking for God’s guidance and grace to be in union with His will, we need to use the graces that He gives us, and not ignore them for the sake of our own will. I am guilty as charged in doing this, and I feel it is something we struggle with a lot in this day and age, with modernism and ‘do whatever you feel like’ attitudes running rampant. And for those of us who are converts and were never raised on Catholic principle, it is even harder. We are not only fighting the fallen nature inherent in everyone, but we are also fighting the spirit of the age and our own upbringing. We must pray especially for this grace to be submissive and obedient, for it is not something that was instilled in many of us as children, and we will have to fight for it as adults as we grow in the faith.
Thus is the beauty and necessity of the Holy Season of Lent, wherein we are given space and plentiful opportunities to mortify our flesh and our will and bring them into submission under right reason and the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost given us in Baptism and Confirmation. Let us not waste this time, especially since we are living in a society that tramples obedience and its humble beauty under foot. We must preserve this precious flower, this little violet of obedience, and only by constantly relying on the grace of God can we hope to do so.