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Saturday, January 28, 2012

St Thomas Aquinas

"All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said has its origin in the Spirit." Thomas Aquinas (1)
Born into wealth, Thomas Aquinas was given by his parents to the Benedictines as an oblate when he was only five years old in the hope that he would one day become a monk and eventually be their abbot. Thomas, however, followed a different path. When he went to Paris to study, he joined the Dominicans, a mendicant community committed to simplicity and poverty.

Upset, his parents sent this older brother to "capture" him and forced him to return to their home, but Thomas, determined to remain with the Dominicans, left home after a year and returned to Paris and his studies. A student of Albert the Great, it was not long before Thomas outshone his mentor and became the most prominent teacher of the middle ages because he was able to integrate the wisdom of Aristotle and the Greek philosophers into Catholic theology.

Folding the wisdom of Aristotle into Catholic thought was a radical notion and project because it forced thinkers to look at the world, philosophy and culture in a fundamentally different way. The church was not the only fount of wisdom, Thomas's teaching implied. Theologians needed to study the scriptures and church teaching, as well as the discoveries of science and philosophy in order to know the fulness of truth at the center of God's revelation.

What a lesson for us. As Catholics we should have no fear of what the world learns about creation and the beginnings of the world. Neither should be resist what music, art, and literature teach us about beauty and wonder which for us only enhance the awe we have of God.

Today, thank God for a teacher who stretched your mind and imagination.

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