I have recently discovered a lost article from St. Thomas Aquinas’ and I have posted it below.

ST II: Q.179 a.3

Is it fitting for Christians to engage in skiing?

   It would seem that it is fitting for Christians to engage in skiing.

1. It is written in the Gospels that Christ himself often took to the mountains. Moses also ascended the mountains at time and by doing so grew closer to God.

2. It is fitting for Christians to engage in pleasurable activities especially if they provide an opportunity to experience God and contemplate the majesty of his creation.

3. Skiing provides opportunities for prayer as the individual hurtles down the mountain narrowly avoiding collisions with trees and other skiiers. In addition, the skiier is provided with the opportunity to realize the value of  human life as he offers prayers of thanksgiving upon reaching the base.

On the contrary. The book of Exodus says: Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

I answer. You will never get me down a mountain on flimsy skis carrying narrow poles.

Human life is a sacred gift from God and should be used for acts which lead to our ultimate end which is perfect happiness.  Skiing is contrary to that end because of the pain and injury which results. If you want to contemplate the beauty of creation you do not have to take your life in your hands or skis.

It is fitting to enjoy bodily delights if they will not cause a injury to the body or the soul. Skiing seems to fail in both respects as it often results in injury and as a result the injury takes the soul away from focusing prayer.

Reply to 1. While it is true that Jesus and Moses ascended mountains nowhere in Scripture does it state that they went barreling down the side of said mountain on flimsy wooden pieces of wood for the sheer joy of it.

Reply to 2. While pleasurable activities are fitting, consider the pain which results afterward. While the proximate end may seem at first to be fulfilled, it in fact leads one away from the remote end.  In addition, how much beauty and majesty can one take in while hurtling oneself down a mountain. It would seem that the beauty of creation would be nothing but a mere blur in passing,

Reply to 3. It is the precise value of human life which makes skiing a unfitting activity. You should not place your life at risk in order to offer thanks for God for saving it. Rather, you should value your body and your life as a gift from God and try to keep it in one piece.

Advertisements