Each month in 2019, Verbum will be highlighting one saint’s life, work, theology, and impact on the Church. This month’s saint, Thomas Aquinas, is one of the most influential philosophers and theologians of all time.
Lived: 1225–March 7, 1274
Feast Day: January 28
Patronage: Academics, apologists, philosophers, and theologians
St. Thomas Aquinas is remembered for synthesizing Aristotle’s philosophy with the teachings of the Church. His Summa Theologiae is considered a masterwork of philosophical theology that continues to influence Christian and secular thought on ethics, metaphysics, and political theory.
Though born into Italian nobility, by the age of 19 Thommaso d’Aquino had already set his sights on joining the Dominican Order. His family considered this below their station and imprisoned Thomas in their family castle. Thomas escaped through a window nearly a year later under the cover of night.
Within a decade of his escape, Thomas had established a successful academic career within the Order. He began work on his Summa contra Gentiles, an apologetic work countering the teachings of Islam and Judaism. But it would be a later work, the Summa Theologiae, that would solidify his place as one of the Church’s greatest thinkers.
Thomas’ tireless devotion to the Church is exemplified by his dying words, spoken as he received last rites: “I have written and taught much about this very holy Body, and about the other sacraments in the faith of Christ, and about the Holy Roman Church, to whose correction I expose and submit everything I have written.”
Gain insight from St. Thomas Aquinas in this month’s free book, A Lexicon of Saint Thomas Aquinas. In this one-of-a-kind volume, Dr. Roy J. Deferrari analyzes every word in St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica and other works.