“Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”
January 28 is the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, widely considered the greatest theologian and philosopher of the Catholic Church. His works systematized the Truth of the Catholic Church and combined it with Greek wisdom and scholarship methods. In the several hundred years since Thomas, one of the most influential among the Church’s saints, preached, taught, and defended the Faith, his ideas and writings have become seminal to the Church.
Early Life of St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas, son of Count Landulf of Aquino, was born 1225 in a family castle in Lombardy, near Naples. His family was related to Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II and the kings of France, Aragon, and Castile. At the age of five, Thomas’s education began when he was sent to receive training from the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. Even at this age, Thomas was meditative and prayerful.
Around the year 1236, Thomas was moved to the university at Naples at the urging of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, who wrote to Count Landulf that a boy of Thomas’s talent should not be left in obscurity. Thomas excelled in his studies, as the Catholic Encyclopedia relates:
“At Naples his preceptors were Pietro Martini and Petrus Hibernus. The chronicler says that he soon surpassed Martini at grammar, and he was then given over to Peter of Ireland, who trained him in logic and the natural sciences. The customs of the times divided the liberal arts into two courses: the Trivium, embracing grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the Quadrivium, comprising music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy… Thomas could repeat the lessons with more depth and lucidity than his masters displayed.”
Read about the rest of St. Thomas’s life here.