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Practical Theology - Spiritual Direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas

Item Number: 7165

Catalog Code: PRT-P

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Practical Theology

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From a lifetime of studying the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, popular author Peter Kreeft says that his amazement has continually increased not only at Aquinas’ theoretical, philosophical brilliance and sanity, but also at his personal, practical wisdom, his “existential bite.” Yet this second dimension of St. Thomas has usually been eclipsed by the other. Kreeft wrote this book to help bring that sun out from its eclipse. He provides easily digestible samples of the religious wisdom of Aquinas.

Here are 359 pieces of wisdom from St. Thomas’s masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae , which Kreeft says “are literally more valuable than all the kingdoms of this world because they will help you to attain ‘the one thing needful,’ or ‘the greatest good’ ”, the ultimate end and purpose and meaning of life. Three of its names are “being a saint,” “beatitude” (“supreme happiness”) and “union with God.” That was the principle for Kreeft in choosing which passages to use: do they help you to attain your ultimate end - sanctity, happiness, union with God? St. Thomas would have agreed with writer Leon Bloy, who often wrote that in the end “there is only one tragedy in life: not to have been a saint”.

These 359 gold nuggets have helped Kreeft in the struggles of real life, to live in the real world, to grow closer to the Lord, and he hopes they will do the same for his readers. After each passage directly from Aquinas, Kreeft provides brief spiritual commentary to help explain it and apply it - practical, personal, existential, “livable” thoughts.

He has framed these readings as answers to questions that people actually ask their spiritual directors. Each answer is taken word for word from Aquinas.

Among the many topics Aquinas and Kreeft cover here include:

The problem of evil
Interpreting the Bible
Love vs. knowledge
Reconciling justice and mercy
Human freedom and divine grace
Angels and demons
The need for theology
Predestination and free will
Three kinds of goods
Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., a Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, is one of the most widely read Christian authors of our time. His many bestselling books include Back to Virtue, Because God Is Real, Jacob’s Ladder, You Can Understand the Bible, Angels and Demons, Heaven: The Heart's Deepest Longing, and A Summa of the Summa.



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St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 01/28

Patron Of: Catholic Universities, Clear Weather, Pencil Makers, Schools, Students, Theologians, Scholars, Philosophers, Publishers, Booksellers, Apologists, Chastity, Against Storms, Against Lightning, Universities

Also known as
Angelic Doctor; Doctor Angelicus; Doctor Communis; Great Synthesizer; The Dumb Ox; The Universal Teacher

    Son of the Count of Aquino, born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples. Educated by Benedictine monks at Monte Cassino, and at the University of Naples. He secretly joined the mendicant Dominican friars in 1244. His noble family kidnapped and imprisoned him for a year to keep him out of sight, and deprogram him, but he rejoined his order in 1245.

    He studied in Paris from 1245-1248 under Saint Albert the Great, then accompanied Albertus to Cologne. Ordained in 1250, then returned to Paris to teach. Taught theology at University of Paris. He wrote defenses of the mendicant orders, commentaries on Aristotle and Lombard's Sentences, and some bible-related works, usually by dictating to secretaries. He won his doctorate, and taught in several Italian cities. Recalled by king and university to Paris in 1269, then recalled to Naples in 1272 where he was appointed regent of studies while working on the Summa Theologica.

    On 6 December 1273 he experienced a divine revelation which so enraptured him that he abandoned the Summa, saying that it and his other writing were so much straw in the wind compared to the reality of the divine glory. He died four months later while en route to the Council of Lyons, overweight and with his health broken by overwork.

    His works have been seminal to the thinking of the Church ever since. They systematized her great thoughts and teaching, and combined Greek wisdom and scholarship methods with the truth of Christianity. Pope Leo VIII commanded that his teachings be studied by all theology students. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1567.

    c.1225 at Roccasecca, Aquino, Naples, Italy

    7 March 1274 at Fossanuova near Terracina of apparent natural causes; relics interred at Saint-Servin, Toulouse, France; relics translated to the Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse on 22 October 1974


All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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