Archbishop Chaput, The Devil and the Love of Christ
Communion Under Both Species

St. Thomas Aquinas and Love

Vision_of_st_thomas Perhaps you have been seduced by the view that because Thomas Aquinas' medieval philosophy can be a bit dry and appear overly legalistic to modern minds steeped in moral relativism, so was his spirituality. Even if we know very little about his life or writings, we probably know that near the end of his life, he had a mystical experience of Jesus himself, stopped writing and for once at a loss for words, explained that this experience was as if everything he had written was all straw. Good enough excuse for not reading him or taking him seriously, right? Wrong!

It's wrong spirited (and heretical) to think Aquinas earned his way to heaven by clever, scholastic debates. Here's an Aquinas quote from his deathbed which I will commit to memory alongside his comments of straw. After asking to be laid on the floor on top of scattered ashes, he prayed aloud to Christ:

I receive Thee, ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil, toiled, preached and taught.

It's well if we can get past the modern fashion of mocking Aquinas for too much concern about the hieararchy of heavenly hosts. Let's learn more about the lover Aquinas, the poet Aquinas. The faithful disciple who at the end of his life prays to Jesus, I have done everything for you.

The updated Butler's Lives is a great resource, but the original version is out of copyright and excerpted here.