St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Obligatory Memorial, Mark 4: 35-41

To many, Thomas Aquinas is a symbol of cold intelligence. It is a paradox, because in reality it is the complete opposite: at the time when St. Thus, Tomáš was dealing precisely with the condemnation of rationalism. In the middle of the 13th century, there was a return to Greek philosophy, partly to Aristotle, and there was a temptation to exaggerate human intellectual abilities, to present man as the creator of the universe. Since st. Tomáš was a realist, he resisted the challenges of rationalism and opposed this direction. Realism – one could say it is a submission to reality. We are able to perceive the world and God only through the reality that bears the imprint of God. Tomáš’ entire ideology is rooted in the words of St. the apostle Paul: “For what is invisible in him – his eternal power and divinity – can be known by reason from the creation of the world from created things…” (cf. Rom 1:20).

Unfortunately, as we know, the ideology of medieval rationalism gave rise to the ideas of the Enlightenment. For idealist philosophers, for example Kant, the real reality is only the reason of the knower, and the present reality is only the work of this reason. Today’s rationalism is manifested in the belief in the unlimited technical abilities of man. For St. Tomas, as it can be seen in his main work “Summa theological”, man comes from God and returns to God. At the end of his life, St. Tomáš said that everything he wrote was just a straw. Therefore, our first request to St. For Thomas, it may look like this: may his example and prayer help us understand that human reason is not omnipotent, that our words are always insufficient to express the mystery of God.   

IN the time of Thomas Aquinas, there was also another way of thinking, with which he certainly fought, and that was Augustine’s pessimism. Many medieval theologians viewed man as a fallen creature that is very imperfect, fragile, and unworthy. In particular, they claimed that man is not capable of knowing the world or God, because his mind is darkened by sin. St. Despite this, Thomas was convinced of the dignity of human reason, he claimed that despite sin, our reason is inherently good because God created it that way. That is why man is able to know the universe. According to St. Thomas, man is able to know the universe and through it to get closer to God. Unfortunately, pessimism won then: we can say that starting with Descartes, almost all philosophers claimed that the human mind is incapable of knowing reality and therefore incapable of knowing God.

We can still find such pessimism among Christians today. How many “spiritual” teachers teach that the mind of God cannot be understood, that the human mind of sinful man is incapable of anything, that reason only leads to pride. Thomas Aquinas, like the other church fathers, was not afraid to use and highlight reason, which is created by God. For him, using reason was not only a possibility, but the duty of every person. Therefore, our second request to St. Thomas says: may he help us to use our reason so that our faith is strengthened.

Abut what is most important is the method used by St. Thomas Aquinas. It has already been submitted that St. Thomas opposed two that we can still encounter today: philosophical rationalism and Augustine’s pessimism. But to tell the truth, he never directly opposed this direction and did not condemn anything. He tried to find the truth wherever it could be found. For example, when St. Thomas did not report with St. Augustine, he did not say that St. Augustine is wrong, he only pointed out that the given question is much broader. The same with philosophers: St. Thomas, unlike the rationalists, used Aristotle’s philosophy in such a way that it helps to better understand the mysteries of our faith. The method used by St. Thomas Aquinas is a dialogue.

About was very curious and interested in various teachings: Greek, Arabic, pagan. He compiled his works, especially the “Theological Summa”, in the form of questions and answers, which still included questions from opponents and tried to give answers from different angles. That is why we also have a third request: let St. Tomáš will help us see the truth always where it is. According to legend, God asked St. Tomáš, at the end of his life, what he would like to receive for his life’s effort. Thomas answered: “Only You Lord!” When God also asks us such a question, let our answer be: “Non aliam nisi Te, Domine!”.

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