Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest patrologist of the Middle Ages. His confreres said he had entire volumes of the Fathers committed to memory. The evidence is everywhere in his Summa Theologiae. I have a talk up on my audio page. And, of course, I’ve written a book: Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas.
7 thoughts on “Should Old Aquinas Be Forgot?”
LOL. Funny headline!
Never, he is one of the best
Did he memorize more than the *Sentences*? I know he also memorized the Bible. To memorize Sentences and the Bible is quite an accomplishment.
Well, I just lost my prior comment because I forgot to type in the spam box answer. DoH! No chance of me coming close to anything remotely resembling Aquinas’s brilliance or even that of his dog, evidently! But happily, Holy Mother Church suffers us fools and less intellectually gifted folk with love and heroic patience.
Anyway, I sent this sublime blog and your website to a bible teacher from our former Evangelical faith community. I had typed a bit more than I’ll do now. Suffice to say, Ray is a great man, and having just been to his website, I was surprised to find so many Church Fathers’ links. That’s when you came to mind, Mike, and I thought I should inform him about your website and blog and Saint Paul Center, so I sent him an email with all the pertinent info.
Please pray for him, and our former fellowship as it is going through some turmoil and struggle now, of a rather intense nature among some elders and congregation. Many have left as is the case, sadly, when things like this happen. I wonder if the Church Fathers might have something to do with the struggle, in some small and good way? Because, as I’ve discovered, since our return to the CC, when people hungry for Truth begin to delve into the Church Fathers’ community pool, they enjoy the swim so much, they swim further and many of them take the Tiber plunge and find themselves on The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi, as Dr. David Hall did recently. Thanks, Mike and to your readers, too. I hope Ray visits this fine site and maybe there will be a meeting of great minds here or at his website in the near future. http://www.raymayhewonline.com
I got the bit on Thomas and memorization from Daniel Boorstin’s The Discoverers. Boorstin indicates that his memorization was habitual.
I’m not sure of the particulars of what he memorized. My money, though, is on Dionysius the Areopagite. He cites the guy compulsively; D must have been stored for easy retrieval. I’m looking in my anthology of the earliest lives of Thomas now, but the index is minimal. It did, however, lead me to the great story that ends with Thomas saying he’d rather own “Chrysostom on Matthew” than all of Paris!
[…] Hopefully the more thoughtful of you libs will remember that saint and ‘dumb ox,’ Thomas Aquinas– no slouch intellectually, whose world-changing Summa Theologiae was considered to be nigh-on miraculous– looked at his Summa and pronounced it a bunch of straw. Big Tommy spent the rest of his life writing sermons, Bible-studies, and hymns. […]
St. Thomas had been given a vision of Heaven just before he died, then, he stated that by comparison everything he had written was straw. Context makes all the difference.
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