By Colleen Pressprich
On January 28 the Catholic Church celebrates one of her most famous saints- Saint Thomas Aquinas. Thomas was born in 1224 in Italy. During his lifetime he would become the foremost Dominican theologian, and his great text, The Summa, is read by theology students all over the world today. Thomas was also a poet, writing beautiful hymns that have become part of the Church’s liturgy.
Saint Thomas Aquinas can be an intimidating saint to approach, but he has words of wisdom that are applicable to all of us. Here are four of my favorite quotes from St. Thomas that I find especially useful as a mom.
Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
Sometimes I tend to make things harder than I need to. And sometimes I believe that hard equals good. So, this word from St. Thomas helps me to remember that truth. This is a statement that I keep in mind when I’m making my family’s schedule or planning our homeschool lessons. Yes, it’s good to do hard things, but sometimes rest, sometimes ease is what my soul (and the souls of my children) need.
To love is to will the good of the other.
Parenting is, at its essence, an act of love. But sometimes in the middle of the chaos, I need to keep this statement in mind because I can lose sight of Heaven. Willing the good of another is a hard task, and sometimes that good looks mean or harsh. Sometimes that good means letting my child experience a natural consequence I’d very much like to protect them from. Keeping my perspective on what the good I will for my children--that they know and love the Lord--is important.
The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them.
It’s easy to get sucked into the doom and gloom of our fallen world. The evils are readily available: war, destruction, greed, poverty. Sin abounds in many forms, even within the Church. But this quote from St. Thomas Aquinas reminds me to have hope. I can still be a good, faithful woman in the hard times, and I can still raise my children to be good, faithful men and women. Yes, they may find the world a difficult place to live and that maintaining faith a challenge. But it’s not impossible.
The splendor of a soul in grace is so seductive that it surpasses the beauty of all created things.
This quote reminds me of another favorite of mine, from Pope Paul VI, “the world needs witnesses more than it does teachers.” Both are making the same point (though St. Thomas’s is more eloquent) and both challenge me as a parent. If I want my children to see faith as integral to their lives, I have to make it obvious that it is in my own. And if I live my own faith with a grumpy face and a pessimistic attitude, why would they want to follow? But, if I am living in grace in all of its splendor, then my children (and others) will find that so engaging, so enthralling, they won’t help but be drawn to Christ.
I hope that these glimpses of St. Thomas Aquinas will inspire you to learn more about this giant of the faith!
Colleen Pressprich is a homeschooling mom of five and the author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children, The Women Doctors of the Church, and The Jesse Tree For Families. You can learn more about her, order her books, and read more of her writing at elevatortoheaven.com.