Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 and was an Italian philosopher and friar, who was a member of the Dominican order of the Catholic Church. One of the most influential philosophers and theologians in history, he favoured the concept of Thomism, which puts forward the idea that reason is found in god, as well as embracing many ideas of Aristotle, something many within the church would not do.
There are two pieces of work that Aquinas produced, which he became most known for and these were Disputed Questions on Truth, released between 1256 and 1259, as well as an unfished piece called Summa Theologica. Despite it being unfinished, it influenced and inspired theology and philosophy for centuries to come.
His work is of particular importance to the western world, where he had such an effect that both supporters and critics worked to develop or oppose Aquinas concepts, particularly within ethics and law. The Catholic Church views Aquinas as a Saint and figurehead for those studying the priesthood, with the current Pope emphasising his importance in renewing the church’s energy.
Whether from a religious or philosophical standpoint, his works and by extension, his quotations will inspire debate and reflection in anyone who views them.
1. Beware the man of a single book.
2. To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
3. There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
4. Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.
5. We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.
6. Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.
7. The things that we love tell us what we are.
8. Better to illuminate than merely to shine to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.
9. The Study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.
10. Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine
11. Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.
12. Wonder is the desire of knowledge.
13. Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
14. How is it they live in such harmony, the billions of stars, when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds?
15. I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it. I would hope to act with compassion without thinking of personal gain.
16. Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.
17. For those with faith, no evidence is necessary; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.
18. There must be must be a first mover existing above all – and this we call God.
19. The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.
20. Obedience unites us so closely to God that it in a way transforms us into Him, so that we have no other will but His. If obedience is lacking, even prayer cannot be pleasing to God.
21. We can’t have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.
22. Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.
23. Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.
24. Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand.
25. The happy man in this life needs friends.
26. It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need
27. Man has free choice, or otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.
28. God is never angry for His sake, only for ours.
29. It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.
30. A song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice.
31. Beware of the person of one book
32. Nothing which implies contradiction falls under the omnipotence of God.
33. The human mind may perceive truth only through thinking, as is clear from Augustine.
34. While injustice is the worst of sins, despair is the most dangerous; because when you are in despair you care neither about yourself nor about others.
35. It must be said that charity can, in no way, exist along with mortal sin.
36. The existence of a prime mover- nothing can move itself; there must be a first mover. The first mover is called God.
37. I receive Thee ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil toiled preached and taught…
38. Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need
39. I answer that, As Augustine says (De Moribus Eccl. vi), “the soul needs to follow something in order to give birth to virtue: this something is God: if we follow Him we shall live aright.
40. Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.
41. That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more
abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell.
42. There would not be a perfect likeness of God in the universe if all things were of one grade of being.
43. The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned, in order that their bliss be more delightful for them
44. To make peace either in oneself or among others, shows a man to be a follower of God,
45. If you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because he himself is the way.
46. Thus the sun which possesses light perfectly, can shine by itself; whereas the moon which has the nature of light imperfectly, sheds only a
47. Knowledge depends on the mode of the knower; for what is known is in the knower according to the measure of his mode
48. Our manner of knowing is so weak that no philosopher could perfectly investigate the nature of even one little fly.
49. The Stone is one, the Medicine is one, to which we add nothing, only in the preparation removing superfluities.
50. By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.
51. The truth can be perceived only through thinking, as is proven by Augustine.
52. In the old law, God was praised both with musical instruments, and human voices. But the church does not use musical instruments to praise God, lest she should seem to judaize.
53. Justice without mercy is cruelty; mercy without justice is dissolution.
54. Friendship makes you feel as one with your friend.
55. Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which set bounds to the passions
56. Nothing can be known, save what is true;
57. Reason in man is rather like God in the world.
58. It is better to illuminate than merely to shine. Maius est illuminare quam lucere solum.
59. But a dauntless faith believes
60. Honor is due to God and to persons of great excellence as a sign of attestation of excellence already existing; not that honor makes them excellent.