FRIDAY, JANUARY 28: Celebrate the marriage of faith and reason today, as Christians around the world mark the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. This master theologian died a young man—only in his 40s—but he had accumulated such a body of influential teachings that his sainthood was canonized (or officially recognized by the Catholic church) in 1323 less than 50 years after his death. (Read more at the Global Catholic Network.) What began as a young man’s rebellion against his family’s wishes ended in Thomas’ position as a model for priests through the ages and praise as the greatest Catholic theologian and philosopher who ever lived.
St. Thomas Aquinas was born in the Kingdom of Sicily; from childhood, his family expected him to follow in the footsteps of an uncle, a Benedictine, to life in that religious order. But Thomas’ life and work was bound for unexpected, even startling, new paths. When military conflict broke out around him in his early years, Thomas changed schools—and was introduced to the works of great minds such as Aristotle and Maimonides. As a teenager, the strong-willed Thomas disobeyed his family’s wishes and joined the Dominican order. (Wikipedia has details.) His family didn’t like that! They tried to sabotage his plans, but Thomas held firm. He joined the Dominicans, tore through his education and soon was teaching the world. Today, St. Thomas is known as the “Universal Doctor” of the Church, for his greatly influential contributions. (Catholic.org has more.)