Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

Saint Thomas Aquinas: An Important Heritage
When we receive an inheritance, many different things can happen. One option is we can ignore it and so forfeit it to others. Or we may divide it among relatives and friends, with each taking a small share; but the real value was to be found in the totality of the bequest, and if thus dispersed it somehow loses its greatness. We could throw a big party in memory of the wealthy relative, or take a relaxing cruise. Thus in a moment we would exhaust the legacy. We could accept it and, like the fearful servant in the Gospel, bury it in the ground. We could keep what we have received in the bank, but it will not bear much fruit. Alternately, we could receive it, put it to work, redistribute it by new purchases, allowing ourselves to enjoy experiences unknown to the donor, the source of the legacy.

So it is with the legacy of St. Thomas Aquinas, as we reflect on this, the 800th anniversary of his birth. We are dealing with a giant of thought, from whom, however, we are separated by centuries of history, civil and ecclesial. His thought reached into every corner of human knowledge, at least of that era. Countless authors in every time period and up to our own day have referred to him, showing the perennial vitality of his intellect and the expansive capacity of his insights and reasoning. At times his thought has been respected and cherished; and at other times it has stiffened it into rather ideological patterns, with Thomism as the “official” doctrine, in which, however, little of authentic Thomistic thought remained.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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