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Some of St. Thomas Aquinas’ most beautiful quotes


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Portrait de saint Thomas d'Aquin réalisé par Botticelli (1445 - 1510).

Mathilde De Robien - published on 04/03/24

St. Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant philosopher and theologian, and is a doctor of the Church. Even today, his writings speak powerfully to us.

St. Thomas Aquinas deserves the term “angelic” doctor for more than one reason. This Italian friar and preacher, proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1567 by Pope Pius V, was renowned for his purity–Leo XIII emphasizes his “perfect integrity of morals”–and his luminous intelligence. In his motu proprio Doctoris Angelici, Pope Pius X refers to “the almost angelic quality of his intellect.”

Here we offer you an anthology of striking and inspiring quotations, taken from the Summa Theologiae, the Summa Contra Gentiles, and the Catechetical Sermons on the Apostles’ Creed, which wonderfully reflect the clarity of his soul.

Love is the perfection of Christian life

“A thing is said to be perfect in so far as it attains its proper end, which is the ultimate perfection thereof. Now it is charity that unites us to God, Who is the last end of the human mind, since “he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4:16). Therefore the perfection of the Christian life consists radically in charity.” (Summa Theologiae II-II, q.184, a.1, co)

It is better to enlighten than to merely shine

“For even as it is better to enlighten than merely to shine, so is it better to give to others the fruits of one’s contemplation than merely to contemplate.” (Summa Theologiae IIa-IIae, q.188, a.6, co)

We need God’s grace to lift us up to him

“Human nature stands in need of the gratuitous will of God in order to be lifted up to God, since this is above its natural capability.” (Summa Theologiae III q.2, a.10, resp)

Spiritual perfection is for all ages

“Now the soul, to which spiritual birth and perfect spiritual age belong, is immortal; and just as it can in old age attain to spiritual birth, so can it attain to perfect (spiritual) age in youth or childhood; because the various ages of the body do not affect the soul.” (Summa Theologiae III, q.72, a.8, co)

Laughter is essential to being human

“Man cannot be without having the faculty of laughing.” (Summa Theologiae I, q.44, a.1, ad 1)

Christ was tempted for our sake

“Christ wished to be tempted; first that He might strengthen us against temptations. (…) Secondly, that we might be warned, so that none, however holy, may think himself safe or free from temptation. (…) Thirdly, in order to give us an example: to teach us, to wit, how to overcome the temptations of the devil. (…) Fourthly, in order to fill us with confidence in His mercy.” (Summa Theologiae III, q.41, a.1, resp)

Faith requires good will

“The intellect is moved by the command of the will to assent to what is of faith: for ‘no man believeth, unless he will.’” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, q.56, a.3, co)

Only God can satisfy us

“It is evident that naught can lull man’s will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone; because every creature has goodness by participation. Wherefore God alone can satisfy the will of man (…). Therefore God alone constitutes man’s happiness.” (Summa Theologiae I-II, q.2, a.8, co)

Nothing God has created is evil in itself

“Nothing tends toward its contrary, for each thing inclines to what is like and suitable to itself. Now, every being seeks a good, when it is acting, as has been proved. Therefore, no being, inasmuch as being, is evil.” (Summa contra Gentiles III,7)

The four effects of faith

“Faith brings about four good effects. The first is that through faith the soul is united to God. (…) The second effect of faith is that eternal life is already begun in us; for eternal life is nothing else than knowing God. (…) The third good that comes from faith is that right direction which it gives to our present life. (…) The fourth effect of faith is that by it we overcome temptations.” (Sermon on the Apostles’ Creed)

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