I know in de Administratione Suger writes that a lavish church inspires its worshippers to recognize god and perhaps sees anagogic meaning as the more lavish the church=the more uplifting the services? St Thomas Aquinas doesn't really get specific about anagogic interpretation, just saying "it is at the level in which the glory of God is revealed." I know he was part of the Dominican Order, a mendicant group, so perhaps he was less materialistic than Suget in his interpretation? Furthermore, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 118 it says (paraphrasing) anagogy speaks to our destiny, meaning whenever there is a reference to the eternal future of the world (after Jesus is resurrected?) it is an anagogic interpretation. Did Abbot Suget or St Thomas Aquinas subscribe to this idea? Thank you in advance, an interested scholar with a paper to write
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Definition of Terms
Abbot Sugar's view on anagogic sense:
St. Thomas Aquinas said,
The Men and Their Times
Abbot Suger lived from 1081-1151 and became an oblate to the Monastery of St. Denis(the Patron Saint of France) at the age of 10. He finished his studies, was sent to other monasteries, and then was appointed to the court of Pope Galasius II and Calixtus II, until he moved back to be the Abbot of St. Denis in 1127. Since the Basilica of St. Denis was where the kings of France were buried, it had an enormous significance and it's Abbot was one of the most important men in France.
Abbot Suger was the friend and confidant of both Louis VI and Louis VII. He was very much a presence in the king's court, effectively serving as Regent in the kings absence.
He was a primary historian for the period, and he is most noted for his re-innovation of the Basilica of St. Denis, the repository of the French kings and one that served for a time as a place of coronation. He spared no expense in it's reconstruction, and it's considered the first "Gothic" cathedral. As a result, it elevated the position of king over rival lords and was instrumental in strengthening the king's hand. He wrote extensively on it's reconstruction, which was previously quoted from.(source Wikipedia)
St. Thomas Aquinas came later in history (1225-1274) and was born in Italy, where after rigorous objections(and kidnapping) by his parents, he became a Dominican priest. The Dominicans were founded by a Spanish priest as a mendicant order whose primary occupation was to preach, and attempt to persuade the Cathars(or Albigensians) to return to the faith. He studied in Paris, then taught in Cologne, and back in Paris again as Regent Master of Theology. He wrote one of his seminal works, Summa contra Gentiles, there.
But it wasn't until he was transferred to Rome, at Santa Sabina, an intermediate school, where he wrote Summa Theologiae, which was conceived with the thought of taking students from the beginnings and build them up in the truths of their faith. He was then sent back to Paris, which was more difficult as he faced radical Aristotlelianism, which he refuted, however the Bishop of Paris attributed to Thomas a number of dissenting views, since Thomas argued from Natural Law, a constant theme of Aristotle. Nevertheless, he was cleared of the charges and his books are required reading at Catholic seminaries.
What occurred between the time of these two men was the Cathar(or Albigensian) Heresy. This heresy was essentially Manichean, and purported Dualism; one of a benevolent God who created the 'spirit' and the other 'god' who created the world which was seen as evil. This heresy migrated from Bulgaria, called (Bogomilan), and took hold in Southern France and Northern Italy. At it's height it was said to control over a thousand towns. They truly were the subject of the admonition of the Apostle Paul,(2 Tim. 4:1)
Since the Cathars believed all matter was evil, every activity, including eating, marriage, and any secular pursuit was considered sinful. They preferred concubinage to marriage. They could be 'believers' throughout their life, but in order to be 'bishops' or receive 'salvation' they had to go through a ceremony called "consolamentum" where they would renounce all ties to the flesh, and then be 'perfect'. What is important for our discussion is that where Abbot Suger "transcends" earthly considerations with lavish and ornate constructions, crucifixes, stained glass, doors, and other earthly decorations, the Cathars despised them, and the government that uses them to exalt their status. In fact, they were antithetical to any anagogic sense-the more austere, the more acceptable.
Into this conflict was St. Thomas Aquinas thrust into, 1st as a Dominican it was his job to instruct the faithful and contend with the heresies, the chief one being Catharism. His main avenue of approach was moral law, from which he combined Aristotle's natural law with revelation from the churches teachings. He would then lead the faithful through a series of questions concerning good and evil, conscience, sin, the requirements of God's moral law, and the person and ministry of Christ, along with the church's teaching on mercy and forgiveness. It wasn't that he didn't support anagogic sense(see quote), it just wasn't his primary occupation, given the time and place he found himself in church history.(Sources Wikipedia, Catholic Encyclopedia)
In summary, I would like to offer an amusing footnote, which describes St. Thomas Aquinas and the times he lived in. He was invited to a dinner with King Louis IX(St. Louis) and after Louis attempting to make conversation with this fat, contemplative friar and not getting very far, he proceeded to entertain his other guests with a toast,
The 'anagogic sense'(of Abbot Suger) dresses well, and lifts the hearts of the souls towards Heaven. But it is the self-denial and mortification, combined with the true understanding of God and His Ways, that will settle the heretics of St. Thomas Aquinas.