St Thomas Aquinas

It’s all straw.

  • shadowlands

    Concentrate on the bit, that the Father felt was worth, sending His only Son, to die for. That's our key, I reckon.P.S Cheer up you, you seem a bit down!!Mighty through the blood that has overcome, don't forget.

  • Rachel B

    So I am taking a Philosophy class, and since noone in my little group cared which chapter we will present to the class, I elected for St. Thomas Aquinas. I am very excited.

  • Gregory the Eremite

    A shameless plug…but come and read the summa with us!

  • Apostolate of the Laity

    On that morning, in the priory of San Domenico, Naples, just after celebrating the mass of the day, Aquinas fell silent. From that moment on, he did not pen a single further word. The man whose intellect had grappled with the philosophy of nature, logic, metaphysics, morality, mind and theology had apparently reached an impasse.Biographers have tried to explain this abrupt halt to his work in a number of ways. It might have been caused by a stroke, or a breakdown, or sheer exhaustion, they have speculated. After all, he died only three months later, though that was probably the result of a fall. Others have said he had a mystical experience at the altar. But perhaps the truth of the matter is found in the response he gave to his friend who begged him to continue: ‘Reginald, I cannot, because all I have written seems like straw to me,’ Aquinas replied.This comment has in turn provoked the spilling of much ink. It has been taken as a rejection of his oeuvre, from the master’s own mouth, as if by ‘straw’ he meant ‘rubbish’. That, though, is to misunderstand the word. Straw was, in fact, a conventional metaphor for a literal reading of the Bible. It expressed the conviction that a straightforward treatment of scripture might provide the believer with comfort, or some basic material upon which to build their faith, but that such a use of the Bible was at best a first step. The implication of Aquinas calling his work ‘straw’ is therefore positive, not negative. His goal had been to understand God. He had made many attempts at the summit. But whilst they had produced wonderful insights, he had reached the point at which he was able to appreciate the most profound truth of all. The peak lies behind the clouds. God is unknown. Not in spite of, but because of all his efforts – with its theological sophistication, subtlety and seriousness – the best interpretation of what happened to Aquinas on St Nicholas’ Day 1273, is that he had reached as profound an appreciation of the divine mystery as was possible. His new silence was not a rejection but the culmination of his life’s work.

  • Patricius

    All straw?- Well the "Dumb Ox" should know!

  • David Lindsay

    Saint Augustine of Hippo is an important forebear of the Dominican tradition in which some of us stand. His Rule remains part of the Constitutions to this day, and his influence suffuses the great theologians and spiritual writers of Dominicanism.Saint Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican. So, far from being the rupture with Augustinianism that is often asserted, his thought is wholly within it, and indeed utterly incomprehensible apart from it. Other attempts to affirm the Augustinian vision of all knowledge as divine illumination are not necessarily in opposition to Thomism; rather, under the Magisterium (its own point of reference and correction), it provides their point of reference and correction.This applies to the entire rational and empirical systems, since, at least in the context of those who devised these systems in Early Modern Europe, the very belief in the possibility of true knowledge by rational or empirical means – indeed, of true knowledge at all – is Augustinian, and indeed Thomist.John Paul the Great, in Fides et Ratio commended at once Thomism in paragraphs 43 and 44, and the works of Newman, Rosmini, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Russians of various stripes alongside Maritain and Gilson in paragraph 74, not to mention engagement with Indian and other non-Western philosophies in paragraph 73.Alas that Chesterton defines Aquinas against the Christianised Neoplatonism of the Augustinian illuminist tradition, rather than recognising Thomism’s Christianised Aristotelianism as nevertheless belonging within, and greatly enriching, that tradition. Had Chesterton done this, then he would have been quite astonishingly prescient in this as in so many other areas.However, what Chesterton writes about Thomism as the definitive philosophical articulation of the world-view that he shares is of course entirely correct. In Saint Thomas Aquinas (1933), he sets out that “the primary or fundamental Part” of Thomism “or indeed the Catholic Philosophy” is “the praise of Life, the praise of Being, the praise of God as the Creator of the World.” Precisely so.Ora pro nobis.

  • Aquinist

    My patron saint Thomas argued for honest argument. This has influenced me for over 40 years.

  • Belfry Bat

    I see many are before me, but I'll post this anyways, because it's different enough.Indeed, the straw isn't worthless, by any means. It's an excellent cushioning and insulator; they used to pack lightbulbs in crates full of straw, before styrofoam was invented. The straw is, of course, what feeds cattle through the winter, so you can build and keep proper villages and cities north of the Danube. Though it seems to be an anachronism, still it's traditional (a good example of inculturation, I guess) to depict the Christmas manger padded with straw: the straw holds, and sometimes (for it's also an alluring yellowish colour when made right) hides a most valuable treasure.[ @ Shadowlands, it's quite irrelevant, and maybe others have said so, but that picture minds me more of Chesterton than of Lewis.]

  • Paul Rodden

    Straw. The perfect place to lay the baby Son of God when there's no where else for him to go…

  • Fr Longenecker

    Belfry Bat. Cattle don't eat straw. They eat hay. They sleep on straw.

  • Belfry Bat


  • Felix

    Nope. Being a philosopher, St Thomas said accurately that it was * like * straw. He knew that theorising has little value, compared to direct experience of God. But he also knew that it had some value.