The young St. Thomas was born into Italian nobility, and the youngest son of Landolfo Aquino. He spent the first five years of his life in Roccasecca, Italy. His mother was given a prediction by a hermit that Thomas would grow up to be great scholar and ultimately achieve sanctity.
He was sent to the care of the monks in Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino, at the tender age of five. During his stay there, the political climate changed and he was forced to leave to the Benedictine house in Naples. While in Naples, he was taught the writings of Greek and Arabic philosophers. In particular, he learned of Aristotle and Averroes, both of which had recently been translated in the West.
In an act of defiance to his parent’s wishes he joined the Dominicans and received the habit in 1244. His parent’s responded by sending his older brother to capture Thomas and return him home. He spent a year locked up in the castle, having to endure multiple attempts of mischief by family members to break his will.
Ultimately, St. Thomas prevailed the family efforts and he made it back to Napels. Eventually, he made his way to the Dominican house at Paris and Cologne. It was here that he became a pupil of the leading Dominican theologian, Albert Magnus.
There is an extensive amount of work St. Thomas accomplished over his life time. In as much, it ranges from philosophical and biblical commentaries, hymns and main works.
His most renown work is his Summa Theologica. It is a remarkable study on his life long pursuit to answer his question of “What is God?” and how man can reunite with God through Christ. The book is divided into three main topics of faith, hope and charity. In turn each of the topics has further subtopics and questions.
In conclusion, St. Thomas had his mission presented to him early in life. Simply put he asked a question of “What is God?” He spent the remainder of his life in action to answer the question. His reward for his effort was experiencing a vision while saying mass. The result of which he never wrote again.
If it interests you to read St. Thomas’s Summa consider the following questions.
- Is it possible to know God in this life?
- Is man created for a definite purpose in life?
- Is it possible to reach the kingdom in this life?
By Jaime Gonzalez