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About Thomas Aquinas



Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, he is also known within the latter as the Doctor Angelicus and the Doctor Communis. Wikipedia

References:   Encyclopaedia Britannica  |  Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

  

Quotes by Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas (quotes)

  • Love follows knowledge.
  • Faith is God’s work within us.
  • Every cell in us worships God.
  • The soul is known by it’s acts.
  • Beware the man of a single book.
  • Beware of the person of one book.
  • Give, expecting nothing there of.
  • Unbelief is the greatest of sins.
  • Wonder is the desire of knowledge.
  • In the end, we know God as unknown.
  • There is no leisure about politics.
  • God answered the prayers of animals.
  • The things we love tell us who we are.
  • To love is to will the good of the other.
  • Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.
  • Christ was either liar, lunatic, or Lord!
  • Charity is love; not all love is charity.
  • Art is right reason in the doing of work.
  • The happy man in this life needs friends.
  • Better to illuminate than merely to shine.
  • Don’t ask who said it? Ask what they said.
  • You change people by delight, by pleasure.
  • Humility is the mark of a genuine disciple.
  • The things that we love tell us what we are.
  • Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.
  • Justice is in subjects as well as in rulers.
  • No man truly has joy unless he lives in love.
  • What does it take to become a saint? Will it.
  • The soul is perfected by knowledge and virtue.
  • Reason in man is rather like God in the world.
  • Grace does not destroy nature, it perfects it.
  • Faith does not quench desire, but inflames it.
  • God is never angry for His sake, only for ours.
  • Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.
  • The light of faith makes us see what we believe.
  • The Angel’s bread is made the Bread of man today.
  • It is only God who creates. Man merely rearranges.
  • To love God is something greater than to know Him.
  • There can be no joy in living without joy in work.
  • A man’s heart is right when he wills what God wills.
  • Anything done against faith or conscience is sinful.
  • God destines us for an end beyond the grasp of reason.
  • To live well is to work well, to show a good activity.
  • When fear is excessive it can make many a man despair.
  • A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational.
  • In a false person, sacraments do not produce any effect.
  • Theology is taught by God, teaches God, and leads to God.
  • He who is dying of hunger must be fed rather than taught.
  • We can open our hearts to God, but only with Divine help.
  • To virginity is awarded the tribute of the highest beauty
  • Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
  • Any error about creation also leads to an error about God.
  • Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead.
  • Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.
  • All my words are but chaff next to the faith of a simple man.
  • God’s precepts are light to the loving, heavy to the fearful.
  • A man does not always choose what his guardian angel intends.
  • There is within every soul a thirst for happiness and meaning.
  • Grace renders us like God and a partaker of the divine nature.
  • Charity is the form, mover, mother and root of all the virtues.
  • To convert somebody go and take them by the hand and guide them.
  • One cannot use an evil action with reference to a good intention.
  • Faith will tell us Christ is present, When our human senses fail.
  • Venial sin becomes mortal sin when one approves it as an end. . .
  • Concerning perfect blessedness which consists in a vision of God.
  • The truth of the Christian faith surpasses the capacity of reason.
  • Sin is a spiritual illness; thus sinners are in need of salvation.
  • Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
  • There is nothing in your mind which wasn’t experienced before hand.
  • Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good.
  • By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.
  • True peace consists in not separating ourselves from the will of God.
  • We should love others truly, for their own sakes rather than our own.
  • There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
  • He who achieves power by violence does not truly become lord or master.
  • Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.
  • Nothing which implies contradiction falls under the omnipotence of God.
  • Characteristics which define beauty are wholeness, harmony and radiance.
  • Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of good wine.
  • The proper effect of the Eucharist is the transformation of man into God.
  • It must be said that charity can, in no way, exist along with mortal sin.
  • Whatever is received is received according to the nature of the recipient.
  • Miracles are signs not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.
  • Whenever God wakes in us, our thinking becomes clear – nothing is missing.
  • Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason.
  • Baptism is the door of the spiritual life and the gateway to the sacraments.
  • Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man’s own will.
  • All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly.
  • Without sanctifying grace it is not possible to refrain long from mortal sin.
  • Moral science is better occupied when treating of friendship than of justice.
  • Charity, by which God and neighbor are loved, is the most perfect friendship.
  • I cannot understand how anyone conscious of mortal sin can laugh or be merry.
  • All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said has its origin in the Spirit.
  • The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross.
  • If you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
  • There must be must be a first mover existing above all ‚Äì and this we call God.
  • Not everyone who is enlightened by an angel knows that he is enlightened by him.
  • Every truth without exception- and whoever may utter it- is from the Holy Spirit.
  • The celestial bodies are the cause of all that takes place in the sublunar world.
  • As the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods.
  • It is not possible to be ignorant of the end of things if we know their beginning.
  • Love is a binding force, by which another is joined to me and cherished by myself.
  • To disparage the dictate of reason is equivalent to contemning the command of God.
  • It is unlawful to add anything to the words of Holy Scripture regarding the sense.
  • He who does not embrace the teaching of the Church does not have the habit of faith.
  • The human mind may perceive truth only through thinking, as is clear from Augustine.
  • Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.
  • Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them.
  • It would be superfluous to receive by faith, things that can be known by natural reason
  • Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.
  • It would seem that zeal is not an effect of love. For zeal is a beginning of contention.
  • Distinctions drawn by the mind are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality.
  • Eternity is called whole, not because it has parts, but because it is lacking in nothing.
  • The greatness of the human being consists in this that it is capable of the universe.
  • Law; an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community
  • A scrap of knowledge about sublime things is worth more than any amount about trivialities.
  • The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.
  • If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.
  • Devotion is a certain act of the will by which man gives himself promptly to divine service.
  • Practical sciences proceed by building up; theoretical science by resolving into components.
  • How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God.
  • A song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice.
  • To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.
  • Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.
  • He who is drawn to something desirable does not desire to have it as a thought but as a thing.
  • For those with faith, no evidence is necessary; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.
  • It is a sin to regard the fact that God cannot do the impossible as a limitation on his powers.
  • Mistakes are made on two counts: an argument is either based on error or incorrectly developed.
  • The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.
  • Whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, to the poor for their sustenance.
  • God should not be called an individual substance, since the principle of individuation is matter.
  • So, to detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of divine power.
  • God has no need for our worship. It is we who need to show our gratitude for what we have received.
  • The splendor of a soul in grace is so seductive that it surpasses the beauty of all created things.
  • The custom of the Church has very great authority and ought to be jealously observed in all things.
  • This Blood that but one drop of has the power to win all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
  • To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
  • The principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly rather than to attack them.
  • For although the will cannot be inwardly moved by any creature, yet it can be moved inwardly by God.
  • Law has the power to compel: indeed, the ability to enforce is a condition of the ability to command.
  • As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.
  • There would not be a perfect likeness of God in the universe if all things were of one grade of being.
  • The Study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.
  • If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.
  • Man is closer to God according to his existence in grace than he is according to his existence in nature.
  • A thing is lovable according as it is good. But God is infinite good. Therefore He is infinitely lovable.
  • Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches.
  • He that obstinately denieth the truth before men upon earth, wilfully refuseth his soul’s health in heaven.
  • There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.
  • Now, nothing can be brought from potentiality to actual existence except through something actually existing
  • I receive Thee ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil toiled preached and taught.
  • He suddenly announced that he could not write any more since “All that I have written seems like straw to me.”
  • Better to illuminate than merely to shine; to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.
  • It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.
  • The highest perfection of human life consists in the mind of man being detached from care, for the sake of God.
  • The minister to whom confession is made is the delegate of Christ, Who is the Judge of the living and the dead.
  • In the realm of evil thoughts none induces to sin as much as do thoughts that concern the pleasure of the flesh.
  • Because we cannot know what God is, but only what He is not, we cannot consider how He is but only how He is not.
  • Justice is a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he ought to do in the circumstances confronting him.
  • The theologian considers sin mainly as an offence against God; the moral philosopher as contrary to reasonableness.
  • An act of love always tends towards two things; to the good that one wills, and to the person for whom one wills it.
  • The existence of a prime mover- nothing can move itself; there must be a first mover. The first mover is called God.
  • Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.
  • But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.
  • It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.
  • Jesus Lord, kind Pelican, Cleanse my filth with Thy blood, One drop of which can save The whole world from all its sin
  • God himself would not permit evil in this world if good did not come of it for the benefit and harmony of the universe.
  • Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church.
  • The Blessed Eucharist is the perfect Sacrament of the Lord’s Passion, since It contains Christ Himself and his Passion.
  • One aspect of neighbourly love is that we must not merely will our neighbours good, but actually work to bring it about.
  • Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.
  • The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces.
  • All men are equal in nature, and also in original sin. It is in the merits and demerits of their actions that they differ.
  • Man has free choice, or otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.
  • Of all the pursuits open to men, the search for wisdom is most perfect, more sublime, more profitable, and more full of joy.
  • When the devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it, but because we serve him with our worldliness.
  • Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.
  • Far graver is it to corrupt the faith that is the life of the soul than to counterfeit the money that sustains temporal life.
  • The proper task of the Savior is that he is a savior; indeed, for this he came into the world: to seek and save what was lost.
  • To pretend angels do not exist because they are invisible is to believe we never sleep because we don’t see ourselves sleeping.
  • 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.
  • Do not wish to jump immediately from the streams to the sea, because one has to go through easier things to the more difficult.
  • There is but one Church in which men find salvation, just as outside the ark of Noah it was not possible for anyone to be saved.
  • I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it. I would hope to act with compassion without thinking of personal gain.
  • If a man deliberately abstains from wine to such an extent that he does serious harm to his nature, he will not be free from blame.
  • The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned, in order that their bliss be more delightful for them.
  • Likewise grace and glory are referred to the same genus, since grace is nothing other than a certain first beginning of glory in us.
  • It is a sin directly against one’s neighbour, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking them.
  • The Cross to me is certain salvation. The Cross is that which I ever adore. The Cross of the Lord is with me. The Cross is my refuge.
  • It is possible to demonstrate God’s existence, although not a priori, yet a posteriori from some work of His more surely known to us.
  • how unspeakable is this Sacrament which sets our affections ablaze with charity. … It is the fulfillment of Christ’s Mystical Body.
  • I cannot go on…. All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.
  • The servants of God…whether provoked by word or work, by keeping themselves tranquil and peaceful, evince a perfect nobleness of soul.
  • The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in His divinity, assumed our nature, so that He, made man, might make men gods.
  • saving Victim, opening wide The gate of heaven to man below, Our foes press on from every side, Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
  • I answer that, Even, as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate.
  • The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.
  • It [covetousness] is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.
  • 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.
  • Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.
  • Man should not consider his material possession his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need.
  • 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.
  • Prostitution in the towns is like the cesspool in the palace; take away the cesspool and the palace will become an unclean and evil smelling-place.
  • God is not related to creatures as though belonging to a different “genus,” but as transcending every “genus,” and as the principle of all “genera.
  • Mary means Star of the sea, for as mariners are guided to port by the ocean star, so Christians attain to glory through Mary’s maternal intercession.
  • For in order that man may do well, whether in the works of the active life, or in those of the contemplative life, he needs the fellowship of friends.
  • Arrive at knowledge over small streamlets, and do not plunge immediately into the ocean, since progress must go from the easier to the more difficult.
  • For loving draws us more to things than knowing does, since good is found by going to the thing, whereas the true is found when the thing comes to us.
  • 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.
  • Being born he have himself as our Companion, Eating with us he gave himself as Food, Dying He became our Ransom, Reigning he gives himself as our Reward
  • Bestow upon me, O Lord my God, understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee.
  • The knowledge of God is the cause of things. For the knowledge of God is to all creatures what the knowledge of the artificer is to things made by his art.
  • First, I say that he draws near to those who make peace with him. For God is the One who brings about peace; and where else should peace dwell than in peace?
  • In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign… Secondly, a just cause… Thirdly… a rightful intention.
  • 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 about someone they know.
  • Sloth is sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good…it is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds.
  • If forgers and malefactors are put to death by the secular power, there is much more reason for excommunicating and even putting to death one convicted of heresy.
  • Love must precede hatred, and nothing is hated save through being contrary to a suitable thing which is loved. And hence it is that every hatred is caused by love.
  • We are like children, who stand in need of masters to enlighten us and direct us; God has provided for this, by appointing his angels to be our teachers and guides.
  • Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.
  • By the divine providence [animals] are intended for man’s use… Hence it is not wrong for man to make use of them, either by killing or in any other way whatsoever.
  • An angel can illumine the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision and by bringing within his reach some truth which the angel himself contemplates.
  • The same fire” (which he decides to be material) ” torments the damned in hell and the just in purgatory…The least pain in purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life.
  • See to whom Jesus is drawing near, three kinds of people: to those who make peace with him, to those who are devoted to God, and to those who are kind to their neighbors.
  • 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.
  • To the Everlasting Father, And the Son who made us free And the Spirit, God proceeding From them Each eternally, Be salvation, honour, blessing, Might and endless majesty.
  • Gods are called many by the error of some who worshipped many deities, thinking as they did the planets and other stars were gods, and also the separate parts of the world.
  • To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.
  • Wonder was the motive that led people to philosophy … wonder is a kind of desire in knowledge. It is the cause of delight because it carries with it the hope of discovery.
  • The Bread of angels has become the Bread of mankind; This heavenly Bread puts an end to all images; O wonderful reality! The poor, the slave, and the humble can eat the Lord.
  • 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.
  • The fire of hell is called eternal, only because it never ends. Still, there is change in the pains of the lost… Hence in hell true eternity does not exist, but rather time.
  • The soul, which is the first principle of life, is not a body, but the act of a body; just as heat, which is the principle of calefaction, is not a body, but an act of a body.
  • One will observe that all things are arranged according to their degrees of beauty and excellence, and that the nearer they are to God, the more beautiful and better they are.
  • If a thing can be done adequately by means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several; for we observe that nature does not employ two instruments [if] one suffices.
  • Here ‘neath veils, my Saviour darkly I behold; To my thirsting spirit all thy light unfold; Face to face in heaven let me come to thee, And the blessed vision of thy glory see.
  • The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.
  • Beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that “good” means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the “beautiful” is something pleasant to apprehend.
  • 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.
  • Down in adoration falling, Lo! the sacred Host we hail; Lo! o’er ancient forms departing, Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.
  • Affirmative precepts are distinguished from negative whenever one is not comprised in the other; thus, that of honoring parents does not comprise that of not killing, and vice versa.
  • There is, therefore, a more perfect intellectual life in the angels. In them the intellect does not proceed to self-knowledge from anything exterior, but knows itself through itself.
  • Godhead here in hiding, whom I adore Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more, See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art
  • Thus Angels’ Bread is made The Bread of man today: The Living Bread from Heaven With figures doth away: O wondrous gift indeed! The poor and lowly may Upon their Lord and Master feed.
  • Angels transcend every religion, every philosophy, every creed. In fact Angels have no religion as we know it… Their existence precedes every religious system that has ever existed on Earth.
  • Baptism is the Sacrament of Faith. Now, dead faith does not suffice for salvation .. .Therefore, the Sacrament of Baptism cannot give salvation to a man whose will … expels the form of faith.
  • 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.
  • Every judgement of conscience, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, is obligatory, in such wise that he who acts against his conscience always sins.
  • Love works in a circle, for the beloved moves the lover by stamping a likeness, and the lover then goes out to hold the beloved inreality. Who first was the beginning now becomes the end of motion.
  • Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory, Of His Flesh, the mystery sing; Of the Blood, all price exceeding, Shed by our Immortal King, Destined, for the world’s redemption, From a noble Womb to spring.
  • Anger and the like are attributed to God on account of a similitude of effect. Thus, because to punish is properly the act of an angry man, God’s punishment is metaphorically spoken of as His anger.
  • Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.
  • It is necessary to posit something which is necessary of itself, and has no cause of its necessity outside of itself but is the cause of necessity in other things. And all people call this thing God.
  • 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.
  • Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works.
  • He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
  • We set forth our petitions before God, not in order to make known to Him our needs and desires, but rather so that we ourselves may realize that in these things it is necessary to turn to God for help.
  • Because of the diverse conditions of humans, it happens that some acts are virtuous to some people, as appropriate and suitable to them, while the same acts are immoral for others, as inappropriate to them.
  • The human race was in need of salvation because of the perversity of sin. For when people who are ill are cured from their illness, they are called “saved.” Therefore, the Lord says: “Your faith has saved you.
  • 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
  • We ought to cherish the body. Our body’s substance is not from an evil principle, as the Manicheans imagine, but from God. And therefore, we ought to cherish the body by the friendship of love, by which we love God.
  • “The Jews should not be allowed to keep what they have obtained from others by usury; it were best that they were compelled to worked so that they could earn their living instead of doing nothing but becoming avaricious.”
  • Since faith rests upon infallible truth, and since the contrary of a truth can never be demonstrated, it is clear that the arguments brought against faith cannot be demonstrations, but are difficulties that can be answered.
  • The meaning of what is said is according to the motive for saying it: because things are not subject to speech, but speech to things. Therefore we should take account of the motive of the lawgiver, rather than of his very words.
  • .. the motion of the earth were circular, it would be violent and contrary to nature, and could not be eternal, since … nothing violent is eternal …. It follows, therefore, that the earth is not moved with a circular motion.
  • Man can sin against nature in two ways. First, when he sins against his specific rational nature, acting contrary to reason. In this sense, we can say that every sin is a sin against man’s nature, because it is against man’s right reason.
  • The last end of every maker, as such, is himself, for what we make we use for our own sake; and if at any time a man make a thing for the sake of something else, it is referred to his own good, whether his use, his pleasure, or his virtue.
  • For it is necessary in every practical science to proceed in a composite (i.e. deductive) manner. On the contrary in speculative science, it is necessary to proceed in an analytical manner by breaking down the complex into elementary principles.
  • As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power.
  • A man should remind himself that an object of faith is not scientifically demonstrable, lest presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, he should produce inconclusive reasons and offer occasion for unbelievers to scoff at a faith based on such ground.
  • Right faith is of necessity required for Baptism, since it is said: “the justice of God is by faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22) … Therefore, Baptism without faith avails nothing and thus we must recall that without faith no one is acceptable to God.
  • It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.
  • Those who are more adapted to the active life can prepare themselves for contemplation in the practice of the active life, while those who are more adapted to the contemplative life can take upon themselves the works of the active life so as to become yet.
  • If all the sins of the flesh are worthy of condemnation because by them man allows himself to be dominated by that which he has of the animal nature, much more deserving of condemnation are the sins against nature by which man degrades his own animal nature.
  • The image of God always abides in the soul, whether this image be obsolete and clouded over as to amount to almost nothing; or whether it be obscured or disfigured, as is the case with sinners; or whether it be clear and beautiful as is the case with the just.
  • The apostles and their successors are God’s vicars in governing the Church which is built on faith and the sacraments of faith. Wherefore, just as they may not institute another Church, so neither may they deliver another faith, nor institute other sacraments.
  • To be united to God in unity of person was not fitting to human flesh, according to its natural endowments, since it was above his dignity; nevertheless, it was fitting that God, by reason of his infinite goodness, should unite it to himself for human salvation.
  • Now it seems that everything in the world stems from sources other than God, since the products of nature have their source in nature; deliberate effects can be traced back to human reason or will as their source. There is no need then to assume that God exists.
  • To restore man, who had been laid low by sin, to the heights of divine glory, the Word of the eternal Father, though containing all things within His immensity, willed to become small. This He did not by putting aside His greatness but by taking to Himself our littleness.
  • Baptism is not to be conferred on a man who is unwilling to give up his other sins, so neither should Baptism be given to one who is unwilling to renounce his unbelief. Nevertheless, each of them receives the Sacrament if it is conferred on him, although not unto salvation.
  • The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement.
  • In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.
  • For just as the first general precepts of the law of nature are self-evident to one in possession of natural reason, and have no need of promulgation, so also that of believing in God is primary and self-evident to one who has faith: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is.
  • If someone knows from experience that daily Communion increases fervor without lessening reverence, then let him go every day. But if someone finds that reverence is lessened and devotion not much increased, then let him sometimes abstain, so as to draw near afterwards with better dispositions.
  • If anyone without the right faith receives Baptism outside the Church, he does not receive it unto salvation … From the comparison of the Church to Paradise, we learn that men can receive her Baptism even outside her fold, but that out there no one can receive or keep the salvation of the blessed.
  • Even as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate. Wherefore as the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods. Consequently the sight of the happiness of the saints will give them very great pain.
  • The world of pure spirits stretches between the divine nature and the world of human beings; because divine wisdom has ordained that the higher should look after the lower, angels execute the divine plan for human salvation: they are our guardians, who free us when hindered and help to bring us home.
  • It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word “God” means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.
  • They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil.
  • Just as in one man there is one soul and one body, yet many members; even so the Catholic Church is one body, having many members. The soul that quickens this body is the Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Creed after confessing our belief in the Holy Spirit, we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church.
  • Natural inclinations are present in things from God, who moves all things. So it is impossible for the natural inclinations of a species to be toward evil in itself. But there is in all perfect animals a natural inclination toward carnal union. Therefore it is impossible for carnal union to be evil in itself.
  • Just as a man cannot live in the flesh unless he is born in the flesh, even so a man cannot have the spiritual life of grace unless he is born again spiritually. This regeneration is effected by Baptism: “Unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn 3:5)
  • A person is disposed to an act of choice by an angel … in two ways. Sometimes, a man’s understanding is enlightened by an angel to know what is good, but it is not instructed as to the reason why … But sometimes he is instructed by angelic illumination, both that this act is good and as to the reason why it is good.
  • The perfection of the effect demonstrates the perfection of the cause, for a greater power brings about a more perfect effect. But God is the most perfect agent. Therefore, things created by Him obtain perfection from Him. So, to detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of divine power.
  • Without doubt one is allowed to resist against the unjust aggressor to one’s life, one’s goods or one’s physical integrity; sometimes, even ’til the aggressor’s death… In fact, this act is aimed at preserving one’s life or one’s goods and to make the aggressor powerless. Thus, it is a good act, which is the right of the victim.
  • Future contingents cannot be certain to us, because we know them as such. They can be certain only to God whose understanding is in eternity above time. Just as a man going along a road does not see those who come after him; but the man who sees the whole road from a height sees all those who are going along the road at the same time.
  • Even as he would be guilty of falsehood who would, in the name of another person, proffer things that are not committed to him, so too does a man incur the guilt of falsehood who, on the part of the Church, gives worship to God contrary to the manner established by the Church or divine authority, and according to ecclesiastical custom.
  • Whatever was in the human nature of Christ was moved at the bidding of the divine will; yet it does not follow that in Christ there was no movement of the will proper to human nature, for the good wills of other saints are moved by God’s will… For although the will cannot be inwardly moved by any creature, yet it can be moved inwardly by God.
  • Whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, to the poor for their sustenance. So Ambrosius says, and it is also to be found in the Decretum Gratiani: The bread which you withhold belongs to the hungry: the clothing you shut away, to the naked: and the money you bury in the earth is the redemption and freedom of the penniless.
  • Charity is not a potency of the soul, because if it were it would be natural. Nor is it a passion, because it is not in a sensitive potency in which are all passions. Nor is it a habit, because a habit is removed with difficulty; charity, however, is easily lost through one act of mortal sin. Therefore charity is not something created in the soul.
  • Secondly, man sins against nature when he goes against his generic nature, that is to say, his animal nature. Now, it is evident that, in accord with natural order, the union of the sexes among animals is ordered towards conception. From this it follows that every sexual intercourse that cannot lead to conception is opposed to man’s animal nature.
  • The magnitude of the punishment matches the magnitude of the sin. Now a sin that is against God is infinite; the higher the person against whom it is committed, the graver the sin-it is more criminal to strike a head of state than a private citizen-and God is of infinite greatness. Therefore an infinite punishment is deserved for a sin committed against Him.
  • It is altogether unlawful to kill oneself… Wherefore suicide is contrary to the inclination of nature, and to charity whereby every man should love himself… Life is God’s gift to man, and is subject to His power, Who kills and makes to live. Hence whoever takes his own life, sins against God… for it belongs to God alone to pronounce sentence of death and life.
  • One day when Thomas Aquinas was preaching to the local populace on the love of God, he saw an old woman listening attentively to his every word. And inspired by her eagerness to learn more about her God whom she loved so dearly, he said to the people: It is better to be this unlearned woman, loving God with all her heart, than the most learned theologian lacking love.
  • Good and evil are essential differences of the act of the will. For good and evil pertain essentially to the will; just as truth and falsehood pertain to the reason, the act of which is distinguished essentially by the difference of truth and falsehood (according as we say that an opinion is true or false.) Consequently, good and evil volition are acts differing in species.
  • Pain itself can be pleasurable accidentally in so far as it is accompanied by wonder, as in stage-plays; or in so far as it recalls a beloved object to one’s memory, and makes one feel one’s love for the thing, whose absence gives us pain. Consequently, since love is pleasant, both pain and whatever else results from love, in so far as they remind us of our love, are pleasant.
  • If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.
  • The greater the charity of the Saints in their heavenly home, the more they intercede for those who are still on their journey and the more they can help them by their prayers; the more they are united with God, the more effective those prayers are. This is in accordance with Divine order, which makes higher things react upon lower things, like the brightness of the sun filling the atmosphere.
  • Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • What can be accomplished by a few principles is not effected by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle, which is nature, and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle, which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God’s existence.
  • Given the sin of impiety through which they [the Romans] sinned against the divine nature [by idolatry], the punishment that led them to sin against their own nature followed…. I say, therefore, that since they changed into lies [by idolatry] the truth about God, He brought them to ignominious passions, that is, to sins against nature; not that God led them to evil, but only that he abandoned them to evil.
  • For creation is not a change, but that dependence of the created existence on the principle from which it is instituted, and thus is of the genus of relation; whence nothing prohibits it being in the created as in the subject. Creation is thus said to be a kind of change, according to the way of understanding, insofar as our intellect accepts one and the same thing as not existing before and afterwards existing.
  • It would seem that the ingratitude, whereby a subsequent sin causes the return of sins previously forgiven, is a special sin. For, the giving of thanks belongs to counter passion, which is a necessary condition of justice. But justice is a special virtue. Therefore this ingratitude is a special sin. Thanksgiving is a special virtue. But ingratitude is opposed to thanksgiving. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin.
  • It must be understood that prime matter, and form as well, is neither generated nor corrupted, because every generation is from something to something. Now that from which generation proceeds is matter, and that to which it proceeds is form. So that, if matter or form were generated, there would be a matter for matter and a form for form, endlessly. Whence, there is generation only of the composite, properly speaking.
  • One faith, St. Paul writes (Eph. 4:5). Hold most firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church … We must hold this for certain, namely: that the faith of the people at the present day is one with the faith of the people in past centuries. Were this not true, then we would be in a different church than they were in and, literally, the Church would not be One.
  • …[sacred] doctrine is especially based upon arguments from authority, inasmuch as its principles are obtained by revelation: thus we ought to believe on the authority of those to whom the revelation has been made. Nor does this take away from the dignity of this doctrine, for although the argument from authority based on human reason is the weakest, yet the argument from authority based on divine revelation is the strongest.
  • [It is appropriate that the Body and Blood of Christ be truly present in this Sacrament] because of the perfection of the New Covenant. The sacrifices of the Old Covenant contained the true sacrifice of Christ’s Passion only in symbol….Therefore it was necessary that the sacrifice of the New Covenant, instituted by Christ, have something more, namely, that it contain Christ Himself who has suffered and contain Him not only in symbol but in reality.
  • Because the divine goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, God produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting in one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided.  Thus the whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly and represents it better than any single creature.
  • If there were some solitary or feral man, the passions of the soul would be sufficient for him; by them he would be conformed to things in order that he might have knowledge of them. But because man is naturally political and social, there is need for one man to make his conceptions known to others, which is done with speech. So significant speech was needed if men were to live together. Which is why those of different tongues do not easily live together.
  • Just as in a physical body the operation of one member contributes to the good of the whole body, so it is in a spiritual body such as the Church. And since all the faithful are one body, the good of one member is communicated to another; everyone members, as the Apostle says, of one another [Eph 4:25]. For that reason, among the points of faith handed down by the Apostles, is that there is a community of goods in the Church, and this is expressed in the words Communion of Saints.
  • It is due to neither impotence nor ignorance on God‚Äôs part that evils occur in the world, but it is owing to the order of his wisdom and to the greatness of his goodness, whence come the many and divers grades of goodness in things, many of which would be lacking were he to allow no evil to exist. Thus there would be no good of patience without the evil of persecution, nor the good of the preservation of its life in a lion, without the evil of the destruction of the animals on which it lives.
  • The Sacrament of the Body of the Lord puts the demons to flight, defends us against the incentives to vice and to concupiscence, cleanses the soul from sin, quiets the anger of God, enlightens the understanding to know God, inflames the will and the affections with the love of God, fills the memory with spiritual sweetness, confirms the entire man in good, frees us from eternal death, multiplies the merits of a good life, leads us to our everlasting home, and re-animates the body to eternal life
  • Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189 Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not. Accordingly, in order that man’s mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God.
  • Evil denotes the lack of good. Not every absence of good is an evil, for absence may be taken either in a purely negative or in aprivative sense. Mere negation does not display the character of evil, otherwise nonexistents would be evil and moreover, a thing would be evil for not possessing the goodness of something else, which would mean that man is bad for not having the strength of a lion or the speed of a wild goat. But what is evil is privation; in this sense blindness means the privation of sight.
  • Behold our refutation of the error. It is not based on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves. If then anyone there be who, boastfully taking pride in his supposed wisdom, wishes to challenge what we have written, let him not do it in some corner nor before children who are powerless to decide on such difficult matters. Let him reply openly if he dare. He shall find me there confronting him, and not only my negligible self, but many another whose study is truth.
  • It may well happen that what is in itself the more certain on account of the weakness of our intelligence, which is dazzled by the clearest objects of nature; as the owl is dazzled by the light of the sun. Hence the fact that some happen to doubt about articles of faith is not due to the uncertain nature of the truths, but to the weakness of human intelligence; yet the slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things.
  • Sacred Scripture, since it has no science above itself, can dispute with one who denies its principles only if the opponent admits some at least of the truths obtained through divine revelation; thus we can argue with heretics from texts in Holy Writ, and against those who deny one article of faith we can argue from another. If our opponent believes nothing of divine revelation, there is no longer any means of proving the articles of faith by reasoning, but only of answering his objections – if he has any – against faith.
  • Suppose a person entering a house were to feel heat on the porch, and going further, were to feel the heat increasing, the more they penetrated within. Doubtless, such a person would believe there was a fire in the house, even though they did not see the fire that must be causing all this heat. A similar thing will happen to anyone who considers this world in detail: one will observe that all things are arranged according to their degrees of beauty and excellence, and that the nearer they are to God, the more beautiful and better they are.
  • Without the suitable conditions life could not exist. But both life and its conditions set forth the operations of inscrutable Power. We know not its origin; we know not its end. And the presumption, if not the degradation, rests with those who place upon the throne of the universe a magnified image of themselves, and make its doings a mere colossal imitation of their own. Wonder was the motive that led people to philosophy … wonder is a kind of desire in knowledge. It is the cause of delight because it carries with it the hope of discovery.
  • He (Mohammed) seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh urges us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected; he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.
  • In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of the Scriptures be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity that, if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward, lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them.
  • The Church has ever proved indestructible. Her persecutors have failed to destroy her; in fact, it was during times of persecution that the Church grew more and more; while the persecutors themselves, and those whom the Church would destroy, are the very ones who came to nothing. . . .Again, errors have assailed her; but in fact, the greater the number of errors that have arisen, the more has the truth been made manifest. . . . Nor has the Church failed before the assaults of demons: for she is like a tower of refuge to all who fight against the Devil.
  • Wonder [admiratio astonishment, marvel] is a kind of desire for knowledge. The situation arises when one sees an effect and does not know its cause, or when the cause of the particular effect is one that exceeds his power of understanding. Hence, wonder is a cause of pleasure insofar as there is annexed the hope of attaining understanding of that which one wants to know. … For desire is especially aroused by the awareness of ignorance, and consequently a man takes the greatest pleasure in those things which he discovers for himself or learns from the ground up.
  • Reasoning is compared to understanding as movement is to rest, or acquisition to possession…. Since movement always proceeds from something immovable, and ends in something at rest, hence it is that human reasoning, in the order of inquiry and discovery, proceeds from certain things absolutely understood–namely, the first principles; and, again, in the order of judgment, returns by analysis to first principles, in the light of which it examines what it has found. Now it is clear that rest and movement are not to be referred to different powers, but to one and the same.
  • Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.