Monday, January 28, 2013

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas

While celebrating Mass one day near the end of his life, St. Thomas Aquinas was blessed with a vision of God. This revelation affected him so profoundly that he stopped all work on his great Summary of Theology, or Summa Theologica. When he was asked by a friend to reconsider, Aquinas replied that after his experience, all his writings seemed like nothing more than “straw.” This famous statement is a key to understanding why Thomas Aquinas is a saint.

We know that this Dominican friar was one of the greatest theologians of the high Middle Ages. It is for good reason that he is a Doctor of the Church! However, it is not because of his great intellectual abilities that he is a saint.

Instead, Thomas Aquinas is a saint because he lived an authentically holy life, a life that we can imitate, even if we aren’t great intellectuals or scholars. For instance, Thomas was a man of deep and disciplined prayer who loved the Lord, knew his Bible well, and had a devotion to the Mass and our Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. And in spite of his academic gifts, Thomas was a humble man, because he knew it was the Lord who had given him his abilities in the first place.

Once while he was praying, Thomas heard the voice of the Lord say to him: “You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have?” Thomas replied: “Lord, I would have you.” As a saint, he knew that he should ask for nothing less. But then, neither should we.

(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press: It is available also at Amazon: )

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