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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Feast Day: January 28
Doctor of the Church (Angelicus Doctor), Prince of Scholastics
Patron of Catholic universities, colleges, and schools

Born at Rocca Secca in the Kingdom of Naples, the year of Thomas’ birth is not certain; either 1225 or 1227.

His father, Landulph, was Count of Aquino while his mother, Theodora, was Countess of Teano. His family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France.

At the age of five, as it was the custom of that time, he was sent to obtain his first training from the Benedictines of Monte Casino then to the University of Naples around 1236. At the age of seventeen, in spite of the opposition of his family, he entered the Order of St. Dominic in Naples.

At the request of their mother, the brothers of Thomas, who were soldiers under the Emperor Frederick, took him back forcibly and imprisoned him in the fortress of San Giovanni. He was detained nearly two years; they even went so far as to send a beautiful young lady into Thomas’ room for the purpose of alluring him. But as soon as the lady came inside, he drew a burning stick from the fire and drove her out from his room.

These long months of imprisonment were not put to waste, however, for Thomas spent his time reading the valuable books (Holy Scriptures, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard),which his kind sister obtained for him.

After eighteen months or so in confinement and with all their efforts put in vain, her mother relented and Thomas was set free.

He was ordained priest in 1250. Upon the advice of Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas then journeyed to Paris to continue his studies and to teach in their Study House. This may be regarded as the beginning of his public career, for his teaching soon attracted the attention of both the professors and the students. Subsequently, St. Thomas began teaching, lecturing and writing. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works.

The reputation of Saint Thomas as a Philosopher and theologian spread far and wide, and he was frequently invited to preach and give lectures.

In due time, Saint Thomas was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Theology. By the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.

On his way to the second Council of Lyons, he fell sick and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274 leaving the "Summa Theologica" unfinished.

St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. But despite that, he remained childlike. Once, there was this friar who made a ruse about a horse flying over the priory. The friars were laughing at Thomas as he ran to the window to look at the flying horse. Laughing at himself, he added, “I thought it was easier for a horse to fly than for a friar to utter a lie”.

Saint Thomas was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.


Before he began his study, Saint Thomas always prays for God's assistance, for he acknowledged that not all truths are learned by human intellect alone but that some truths are known through revelation (God revealing the truth to us) and through experience (our own personal experience of God).

For Saint Thomas Aquinas, faith and reason are not in conflict.
The fullness of truth is found only in God.
Saint Thomas Aquinas' constant search for truth is essential in a life dedicated to the pursuit of sanctity and perfect charity.

Please feel free to share your reflections/inputs/insights to other readers of this blog. Thank you and God bless

Here's a video I saw in YouTube (Fr. Barron comments on St. Thomas Aquinas) that I'd like to share with you.

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1 comment:

  1. "God loves all existing things. To love God is something greater than to know Him. The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to me as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me." St. Thomas Aquinas