Sunday, May 10, 2009

If only St. Thomas Aquinas had lived a little longer

Thomas Aquinas is one of my favorite saints. I believe he should be the patron saint of apologists. He gave rational reasons for the faith, in great detail, and his most complete work was the Summa Theologica. Aquinas understood that good philosophy can come from various sources and he was able to use many ideas from Greek and Roman philosophers. The Catholic Church recognizes that religions can be praised for what is true in their faiths, and Aquinas understood this as well. Of course, to fully understand God, we must look to the Catholic Church. The question I am asking is, what if St. Thomas lived a little longer?

The reason I ask is because he died on his way to the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons, on March 7, 1274. He was summoned there by Pope Gregory X himself. This was a very important council (as they all are indeed) as it was to attempt a reconciliation between the Eastern and Western churches, which were split during the Great Schism, a very sad time for Christendom. St. Thomas was revered from all the Christian world for his grasp of theology and philosophy. He was eminently brilliant and much of our current beliefs are best expressed through his words. Just take a look at the Catechism and you will know his great impact.

Because of his understanding, Aquinas was to be a very important member of this church council. Perhaps his words could have brought the Eastern Churches back into the fold. St. Thomas was able to expound on any topic and create an air-tight argument in favour of the Catholic Church. If St. Thomas had not been hit on the head a couple of times on his way to the council, he could very well have survived to brilliantly bring together these separated brothers. Of course, St. Thomas would acknowledge his debt to the Holy Spirit for giving him such great wisdom and knowledge. Another great saint and doctor of the church, St. Bonaventure, was able to make it to much of the proceedings, but he too died before the council was over. St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas have much in common. Let us say a special prayer tonight for the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, that he may intercede to God on our behalf to make our minds clear and bring us to a better understanding of God, through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thought... I hope Benedict and Bartholomew may continue to make progress toward reconciliation. I wonder if the issues that separate us are of that great a significance: The trinity is a mystery and the orthodox position is not heretical. The other issues largely relate to hierarchy and authority, I think, but the difference are so slight...