Prepare for the great feast day of St Thomas Aquinas,patron saint of Catholic students

One of the thing we earnstly ask to God is to send his Holy Spirit to fill us with His Knowledge and Wisdom . The students of our generation, and their parents are earnstrly looking for this wisdom to stay with God throughout their lives to complte God’s plan with them.

Let us seek the intercession of St thomas Aquinas to recieves God’s special gift of knowledge and wisdon to lead our people with God.

Click here for the novena prayers in preparation for the feast day, the 28th January

Aquinas was a Christian theologian, but he was also an Aristotelian and an Empiricist, and he substantially influenced these two streams of Western thought. He believed that truth becomes known through both natural revelation(certain truths are available to all people through their human nature and through correct human reasoning) and supernatural revelation (faith-based knowledge revealed through scripture), and he was careful to separate these two elements, which he saw as complementary rather than contradictory in nature. Thus, although one may deduce the existence of God and His attributes through reason, certain specifics (such as the Trinity and the Incarnation) may be known only through special revelation and may not otherwise be deduced.

His two great works are the “Summa Contra Gentiles” (often published in English under the title “On thr Truth of the Catholic Faith”), written between 1258 and 1264, and the “Summa Theologica” (“Compendium of Theology”), ¬†written between 1265 and 1274. The former is a broadly-based philosophical work directed at non-Christians; the latter is addressed largely to Christians and is more a work of Christian theology.

Aquinas saw the raw material data of theology as the written scriptures and traditions of the Catholic church, which were produced by the self-revelation of God to humans throughout history. Faith and reason are the two primary tools which are both necessary together for processing this data in order to obtain true knowledge of God. He believed that God reveals himself through nature, so that rational thinking and the study of nature is also the
study of God (a blend of Aristotelian Greek philosophy with Christian doctrine).

From his consideration of what God is not, Aquinas proposed five positive statements about the divine qualities or the nature of God:

  • God is simple, without composition of parts, such as body and soul, or matter and form.
  • God is perfect, lacking nothing.
  • God is infinite, and not limited in the ways that created beings are physically, intellectually, and emotionally limited.
  • God is immutable, incapable of change in repect of essence and character.
  • God is one, such that God’s essence is the same as God’s existence.

Aquinas believed that the existence of God is neither self-evident nor beyond proof. In the “Summa Theologica”, he details five rational proofs for the existence of God, the “quinquae viae” (or the “Five Ways”), some of which are really re-statements of each other:

  • The argument of the unmoved mover (ex motu): everything that is moved is moved by a mover, therefore there is an unmoved mover from whom all motion proceeds, which is God.
  • The argument of the first cause (ex causa): everything that is caused is caused by something else, therefore there must be an uncaused cause of all caused things, which is God.
  • The argument from contingency (ex contingentia): there are contingent beings in the universe which may either exist or not exist and, as it is impossible for everything in the universe to be contingent (as something cannot come of nothing), so there must be a necessary being whose existence is not contingent on any other being, which is God.
  • The argument from degree (ex gradu): there are various degrees of perfection which may be found throughout the universe, so there must be a pinnacle of perfection from which lesser degrees of perfection derive, which is God.
  • The teleological argument or argument from design (ex fine): all natural bodies in the world (which are in themselves unintelligent) act towards ends (which is characteristic of intelligence), therefore there must be an intelligent being that guides all natural bodies towards their ends, which is God.

Aquinas believed that Jesus Christ was truly divine and not simply a human being or God merely inhabiting the body of Christ. However, he held that Christ had a truly rational human soul as well, producing a duality of natures that persisted even after the Incarnation, and that these two natures existed simultaneously yet distinguishably in one real human body.

Aquinas defined the four cardinal virtues as prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude, which he held are natural (revealed in nature) and binding on everyone. In addition, there are three theological virtues, described as faith, hope and charity, which are supernatural and are distinct from other virtues in that their object is God. Furthermore, he distinguished four kinds of law: eternal law (the decree of God that governs all creation), natural law (human “participation” in eternal law, which is discovered by reason), human law (the natural law applied by governments to societies) and divine law (the specially revealed law in the scriptures).

For St. Thomas Aquinas, the goal of human existence is union and eternal fellowship with God. For those who have experienced salvation and redemption through Christ while living on earth, a beatific vision will be granted after death in which a person experiences perfect, unending happiness through comprehending the very essence of God. During life, an individual’s will must be ordered toward right
things
(such as charity, peace and holiness), which requires morality in everyday human choices, a kind of Virtue Ethics. Aquinas was the first to identify the Principle of Double Effect in ethical decisions, when an otherwise legitimate act (e.g. self-defence) may also cause an effect one would normally be obliged to avoid (e.g. the death of another).

The above information is taken from the website called ‘philosophybasics.com’