St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. At the Council of Trent it was consulted after the Bible.
To a deeply speculative mind, he joined a remarkable life of prayer, a precious memento of which has been left to us in the Office of Corpus Christi. Reputed as great already in life, he nevertheless remained modest, a perfect model of childlike simplicity and goodness. He was mild in word and kind in deed. He believed everyone was as innocent as he himself was. When someone sinned through weakness, Thomas bemoaned the sin as if it were his own. The goodness of his heart shone in his face, no one could look upon him and remain disconsolate. How he suffered with the poor and the needy was most inspiring. Whatever clothing or other items he could give away, he gladly did. He kept nothing superfluous in his efforts to alleviate the needs of others.
After he died his lifelong companion and confessor testified, "I have always known him to be as innocent as a five-year-old child. Never did a carnal temptation soil his soul, never did he consent to a mortal sin." He cherished a most tender devotion to St. Agnes, constantly carrying relics of this virgin martyr on his person. He died in 1274, at the age of fifty, in the abbey of Fossa Nuova. He is the patron saint of schools and of sacred theology.
— Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patron: Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo.
Symbols: Chalice; monstrance; ox; star; sun; teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet; teaching.
"The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life."
"Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious. "
"A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational."
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
"To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them."
"Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace."
"In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign. Secondly, a just cause. Thirdly, a rightful intention."
"Beware the man of one book."
"The things that we love tell us what we are."
"Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good."
"Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason."
"The end of all my labors has come. All that I have written appears to me as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me."
"A person is disposed to an act of choice by an angel ... in two ways: Sometimes, a man's understanding is enlightened by an angel to know what is good, but it is not instructed as to the reason why ... But sometimes he is instructed by angelic illumination, both that this act is good and as to the reason why it is good."
"Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man's own will."
"Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason."
"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables."
"Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder."
"Well-ordered self-love is right and natural."
"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."