Former UST rector: Idleness an ‘evil teacher’

Former UST rector Fr. Norbeto M. Castillo, O.P. celebrates the mass for the solemnity of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Santismo Rosario Parish Church on Friday, Jan. 26. Photo by Grehmalyne Carandang/THE FLAME
A LIFESTYLE of idleness is “evil” as it restrains people from harvesting their real purpose from labor, a former UST rector said, as he urged individuals to emulate St. Thomas Aquinas’ rejection of the pleasures of the flesh.

Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. said people should not be complacent even if idleness is deemed a venial sin or a “lesser good deed” that does not instantly sever one’s ties with God.

“Be careful of the foolishness of men… St. Thomas Aquinas said idleness in this life is an evil teacher and [teaches] evil knowledge… Be purposeful instead [to the] usualness of labor and work [and] attend to what you have to accomplish,” Castillo said on Friday, Jan. 26, in his homily during the mass in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas.

“For venial sins are the occasion of mortal sin and often undermine the achievement of good works. Venial sins prepare the ground for mortal sins,” he added.

Real purpose, Castillo noted, could be found if one emulates Aquinas’ commitment to discipline.

According to him, the saint freed himself from offense against chastity and displayed courage but remained humble. People should seek the middle ground of impulse and righteousness the way Aquinas would, he added.

“Impure, selfishly corrupted will to pleasure destroys both resoluteness and spirit… People observing [Aquinas] noticed that he is courageous but knows when to show humility. When he prayed, observers say that he prayed to be cheerful without falling into frivolity, and not being mature without falling into pompousness,” Castillo said.

Aquinas, a Dominican saint and a Doctor of the Church, was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323.

Known as one of the most prominent Christian philosophers and theologians, St. Thomas sought to unify natural reason and the Christian faith through his more than 60 religious works, including the Summa Theologiae, where he discussed how negligence is a sin of omission and an “oppressive sorrow” or an act that impedes the mind from action.

Aquinas, whose 750th death anniversary will be commemorated this year, was declared patron of all Catholic educational establishments in 1880, including UST. His feast day is celebrated every Jan. 28. F Cali Asajar

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