Today is the memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, otherwise known as the Angelic Doctor. It was reading G.K. Chesterton’s book about Thomas Aquinas many years ago that first intrigued me of this great and somewhat awkward saint. After reading this book, I found myself wanting to read his own writings, which I did in my undergraduate years of study while majoring in Philosophy. Another reason why I like Saint Thomas is that he is a Dominican. I have always been drawn to the Dominican Order, most especially in the last decade after teaching with the Sisters of Mary in two different Catholic high schools as well becoming friends with a Dominican priest over the last five years.
To honor this great Dominican Priest and Saint, I want to share with you 5 quotes from the book titled, My Way of Life. It is a pocket edition of St. Thomas which makes the Summa simplified for everyone. It was published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in 1952. It is a translation of Thomas’ words.
1. “Beauty and goodness come into a man’s life only in the train of truth. Even the enemies of beauty and goodness, making their burglarious entry, must wear the disguise of the beautiful and the good. Perhaps the mind may never see through those disguises; but the heart of a man cannot be deceived perpetually. Ultimately the diet of evil, however good it is made to seem, sickens a man; and ugliness revolts his soul with its loathsomeness. It is to just such sickness and revulsion that leaders and teachers of men condemn the little ones when they deny them the truth. And God is truth.”
2. “To pretend they [Angels] do not exist because we do not see them is like pretending that we never sleep because we have never caught ourselves asleep. There would be much more sense in the angels exiling us from the world of nature on the basis of a majority vote. We have no monopoly on nature, not even on free will and intellectual knowledge in nature; we have big brothers far outstripping our puny powers, yet nonetheless brothers, a part and parcel of the created world that is to truly ours.”
3. “As for our bodies, it remains true that the essence of perfect happiness is the soul’s vision of God. The soul is entirely at rest in the vision of God. But because it is natural for the soul to desire to enjoy God in such a way that he body may share in this enjoyment, God has promised us the resurrection of the body at the time of the Last Judgment. Then our souls will be reunited with our bodies, and in such a way that the fullness of happiness in our souls will perfect our bodies spiritually.”
4. “Man’s task is to control his action in the direction of good so that he may grow from time to eternity, from the smallness of himself to the greatness of God. The means of this control, right reason and good will, are within the power of every man. They are not the privileges of rich or poor, of the powerful or of the weak of this present world. By using the reason and the will properly every man can direct his steps unerringly forward to the vision of God in which his true happiness is to be found.”
5. “Virtue is a good habit by which man lives rightly, and which he can never put to a bad use. Man is made to achieve true happiness by the pursuit of moral good. Since man’s intellect and will – the human powers which man uses in the pursuit of good – are tendencies to universal truth and universal good, they must be determined to particular acts of goodness by good habits. Virtues are good habits which perfect man’s powers in the pursuit of truth and goodness.”
If you have never read about this great saint, I would highly recommend you pick something up soon. A great place to start is Chesterton’s book on Thomas. It is actually considered one of the best, if not the best book on the life of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Saint Thomas Aquinas…Pray for Us
Categories: Saints & Angels