A Post in Honor of St. Thomas Aquinas on his Feastday
Saint Thomas has sometimes been portrayed, especially in the theological anarchy of the postconciliar period, as a hidebound medieval scholastic trapped in a rationalistic methodology, whose works lack a palpable spirituality that resonates in the hearts of modern people. As a lifelong student and teacher of Aquinas’s works, I have two reactions: first, this stance betrays a poor understanding of the enterprise of theology itself; and second, it is simply not true on the ground, if I may judge from countless experiences I have had over the past twenty-five years with students from many countries, whom I have the privilege to see coming alive in the joy of intellectual discovery and in a growing love for the Catholic faith, as they go more and more deeply into the wisdom found in Aquinas’s works.
With St. Thomas, we learn that the essential purpose of investigating a divinely revealed truth that is inaccessible to natural reason is to raise our minds to a more intense appreciation of the very mysteriousness of the mystery. In other words, we are helped to see it in all its “dark luminosity,” a mysterium tremendum et fascinans, opaque to our intellects but full of wonder and fascination. We see the mystery as mystery only when we apply our reason to the fullest extent to see the marvelousness of the miracle; more broadly, to see the supernatural, the super-rational, in its very beyondness.  Continue Reading on Rorate Caeli