January 28 is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, probably one of the smartest thinkers that we have in the Church. Well, he is actually a Doctor of the Church, meaning, he has contributed a lot in explaining and searching for answers to the questions that we have about God and about living like Christ.
Short Story of His Great Life
He actually came from a rich and noble family. At first, his family did not like the idea of Thomas becoming a priest, a servant of God. Of course, his family can not think why he would leave them behind to enter a religious community. In the end, his decision prevailed and he became a Dominican, the Order of Preachers.
He spent his time learning the subjects he needed to study. He also studied about God. He also spent time praying to God and asking for his daily guidance.
His great work for us is the Summa Theologica, an incomplete yet great book that explains to us many things about God. He became sick and died.
As a philosophy graduate in the Ateneo, St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest thinkers that we needed to wrestle with. A tradition that we do is to wear formal attire during his feast day. We, the philosophy department and students, attended Mass at the college chapel, to celebrate and thank God for the gift of Aquinas.
Honestly, until now, much of his ideas are still unclear to me. Well, I had a hard time understanding his thoughts. We even joked that St. Thomas should have burned his writings when he called them “straw”, so we won’t have a hard time understanding it. Of course, that was just a reminder for us to laugh even if we have a hard time studying his writings and if he ever did it, then, we would have lost a lot.
In the end, St, Thomas Aquinas, was both a teacher and student. As a student, he opened his mind to study, listened to his teachers and ignored his classmates who teased him as the “ox.” He just studied to learn more about himself and about the world.
As a teacher, he still remained open to God’s wisdom and guidance. Even when he was already famous, he never forgot to remain humble in front of God. This, I think, is one thing that we can learn from him – to be humble in midst of success.
May we learn to become like him – a diligent student and a humble teacher.