My first introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas and his theology, I have to confess, did not really move me in any great way to appreciate the tremendous depth of his theological thinking. To me, it seems that all of this writing and talking was simply playing games that had little or no connection to the real world. It wasn’t until I became a Dominican, that I began to appreciate the deep faith of St. Thomas Aquinas, and learning details about his life I came to understand the tremendous benefit that was his thinking and his thought. When I came to understand how what Thomas Aquinas wrote flow directly from his life of faith in his deep love for the Dominican order, that I was able to place his theological understanding in some type of meaningful context. I was able to see its deep connection to the real world.
When the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas was reduced simply to philosophical gaming, the deep faith and personal touch of his theology was removed. As I think back to these days of learning about St. Thomas Aquinas the first time, I don’t remember hearing anything about the world of Scholastic philosophers during the time in which St. Thomas Aquinas lived. Had that been the case, I might very well have had a deeper appreciation for what St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, understanding that so much of what he wrote came out of of a view of the world that was common to Scholastic philosophers.