Fr. Walter Farrell’s famous “Companion to the Summa” was written in the 1950s from a series of lectures delivered in New York City and elsewhere. Still a reliable “translation” of the St. Thomas’ Summa into accessible English, the full text of the Companion is now available in print or digital version through New Priory Press.
(Listen to today’s homily, “Humility” by clicking the links above.)
Saint Thomas Aquinas is arguably the most important theologian in the Catholic Church. His writings are unparalleled. There is no one who has written more effectively than this doctor of the Church. This is not because he was a Dominican, as wonderful as that is. Rather, it was due to his ability to understand both the natural and supernatural world. Using the writings of Aristotle, he was able to synthesize disconnected areas.
But it was the faith of Aquinas that was, in fact, most important. When asked by the Lord what he sought, he said, “non nisi te”, nothing but you. Saint Thomas Aquinas was first a mystic. The important foundation for him was a powerful relationship with God. As brilliant a man as Saint Thomas was, cultivating a relationship God was most important. God was first.
In fact, it is in this context that the phrase often uttered by frustrated philosophy students and seminarians, (what he wrote was straw) must be understood. Saint Thomas Aquinas appreciated the beauty of his work. But when what he wrote was compared to his experience of God, it was no contest. God was so much more brilliant, beautiful, powerful and loving. It was in that context, that the work of Aquinas was straw. Perhaps the message for today is to see that like Saint Thomas Aquinas, we should desire nothing but God too.
Readings for Today The first days of the readings of Ordinary Time have been those discussing Jesus. An early challenge for the Christian Church was to deal with the question of how Jesus could in fact be God, while at the same time having suffered an excruciating death upon the cross. Not only excruciating in […]