Today is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.
He was born of a noble family in Southern Italy. When Thomas decided to join the relatively new Dominican Order, his family strongly objected. They imprisoned him for over a year in one of their buildings. However, they could not convince him, and had to let him go.
One of his significant teachers was St. Albert the Great.
Thomas had a great intellect. He lived at a time when Western Europe was rediscovering the ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.
Some were, at first, wary of ‘pagan’ philosophers and feared that it may adversely affect Christian thinking.
Thomas’ stance was that truth cannot contradict truth: if Aristotle appears to contradict Christianity (which we know by faith to be true), then either Aristotle is wrong, or the contradiction is, in fact, not a contradiction.
Thomas wrote a lot. Classic among his writing is the SUMANA THEOLOGIA. This has been used for centuries in theological studies and is still helpful today.
He was a strong believer that there was no contradiction between faith and reason. He had a great inquiring mind.
Our intellect is a wonderful God-given gift. Theology is about faith seeking understanding. I never cease to marvel at the amazing mysteries and discoveries of nature and science.
Our senses and other attributes are able to connect with reality.
However, we also need to be humble enough to accept that just because I cannot fully understand something, it does not mean that it is not real!
St. Thomas Aquinas was about discovery and creativity. Lesser minds later just quoted him and kept repeating what he said, without critically reflecting like he did.
Towards the end of his life Thomas had a mystical experience. He was celebrating Mass and had a vision. He said this vision made his many writings seem like so much straw!
St. Thomas teaches us many things. Among these teachings is that a truth that we discover can never contradict the truth that is God.
Wise investigation of what at times seem to contradict our faith, can lead us to deeper understanding of God, and indeed our faith.
Our faith is a living faith. Our deeper understanding of our faith never stops. Thomas expounded so much about the richness of our Christian faith.