St. Thomas Aquinas universal doctor of the Church c. 1225-1274
“Suppress Thomas and I will destroy the Church!” exclaimed a 16th-century enemy of the Catholic Church – and her enemies echo those words today. Called the “Angelic Doctor,” both because of his soaring intellect and his innocence of life. St. Thomas Aquinas has long been the truest guide to understanding Catholic doctrine. Although he knew the entire Bible by heart, remembered everything he had ever heard, and could dictate to 3 or 4 secretaries at once on different topics, St. Thomas did not rely on his own intelligence, but prayed earnestly before reading, writing or entering into discussion. He spent a bare minimum of time in sleep in order to have more hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Thomas prepared for his Mass each day by Confession, then attended a second Mass afterwards in thanksgiving, often as an altar server.
Our Lord Himself spoke to him from a crucifix, saying, “Thou hast written well of Me, Thomas.” Yet, near the end of his life, after receiving a heavenly revelation, St Thomas put down his pen forever, stating: “All that I have written appears to me as so much straw, after the things that have been revealed to me”.
Here is the story of the great St. Thomas Aquinas, the “Universal Doctor of the Church” and undoubtedly the greatest theological master in the entire history of Christianity – who, despite his towering intellect, remains an inspiring, fascinating and lovable Saint.