“You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching, he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world”, said his professor St. Albert when other students misperceived him to be a mentally delayed person. This boy eventually inscribed his name and works in the history of Catholic Church. An Italian Dominican theologian, one of the most influential medieval thinkers of Scholasticism and the father of the Thomistic school of theology, St. Thomas Aquinas.
Today, on the 28th of January we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, the son of Landulph, count of Aquino, St. Thomas Aquinas was born circa 1225 in Roccasecca, Italy, near Aquino. He combined the theological principles of faith with the philosophical principles of reason. He was a prolific writer and an authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Saint Thomas died on March 7, 1274, at the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova, near Terracina, Latium, Papal States, Italy.
During his years of education St.Thomas was a quiet student and seldom spoke at the university, thus leading to the misconception of being a mentally delayed student by his peers. It is believed that Thomas was introduced to his philosophical influences – Aristotle, Averroes, and Maimonides – at the university, where he also met John of St. Julian, a Dominican preacher, who influenced him to join the Dominican Order.After completing his education, St. Thomas Aquinas devoted himself to a life of traveling, writing, teaching, public speaking and preaching.
At the medieval forefront, it was difficult for people to trust in their theological faith and the acquired and developing philosophical logical ideas. They struggled to combine the ideologies of these two different concepts within oneself without causing hindrances to its individual growth and without compromising on the culture of the individual. St.Thomas uniquely addressed these concerns with his stated facts that laws of the state were a natural response of human tendencies and behavior. St. Thomas Aquinas identified three types of laws: natural, positive and eternal. According to his treatise, natural law prompts man to act in accordance with achieving his goals and governs man’s sense of right and wrong; positive law is the law of the state, or government, and should always be a manifestation of natural law; and eternal law, in the case of rational beings, depends on reason and is put into action through free will, which also works toward the accomplishment of man’s spiritual goals.
What do we learn?
St. Thomas had a penetrating mind and a lucidity to comprehend. Being a notable theologian and philosopher of his times Saint used a retrodict method of improving the social behavior towards God. As individuals and professionals, we are accountable to the generations of Catholic Church and our society of the ways we mold our beliefs and senses without conciliating to the rising soiled bends in our culture.
St.Thomas said, “love has no labels” and “to the one in faith no explanation is required, but to the one not in faith no explanation is sufficient.” Let us emerge in the belief that with the toil of our hands, with a sense of right judgement, with the faith we pronounce and with the culture we uphold, we accomplish our spiritual goals of living the eternal life, loving and living with each other in God.