Today is the feast of the great teacher and doctor of the church Thomas Aquinas.
He was indeed a man of great intellect. He was a pupil of St Albert the great.
Thomas became a member of the relatively new order of the Dominicans.
It was a time of great rediscovery of deeper learning.
Western Europe was rediscovering the classical philosophy and other learnings of the ancient Greeks and Romans that had been preserved often in monasteries of the east that came to them via the Muslims in the Iberian peninsula.
Thomas used the Philosophy of Aristotle as a tool to help in his theological works.
He was a great innovator in his day.
Many challenged him they feared these new ideas! He was calm and persuasive.
Eventually, his writings were seen for what they were great Christian teachings indeed.
Thomas was not just brilliant, he was also a saint. He had a vision while celebrating mass. He said that what he saw made all that he wrote seem like straw… he stopped writing. Yet his writings remained helpful and still do today.
Later generations quoted the writings of this great man. However, many lacked his brilliance.
Healthy Theology needs to continue evolving. It is faith-seeking understanding.
There are of course perennial truths.
However, our understanding needs to continue being open to the Holy Spirit who helps us to understand ever more deeply the revelation of Christ and what it means for us today.
Ongoing learning is forever important.
However, as Thomas Aquinas experienced we need to stay forever humble since God‘s great mysteries are so much bigger than us.
As a wise man once said, all the scriptures and theologies, good and useful as they are, are but a finger pointing beyond them when it comes to God …