ALL through the years of fighting academic and ecclesiastical foes, tireless research and teaching, Thomas Aquinas still managed to write brilliant works: Summa Theologica, On Truth, Summa contra Gentiles, On Being and Essences, and many commentaries.
Truly, as Albert the Great had predicted, Thomas -- the Dumb Ox -- had the whole world wake up listening to his roar.
Thomas could have rested on his laurels, or gloated with the thought that his foes had to concede that his bold defense and amazing integration of the once despised Aristotelian philosophy to Christian theology were right after all.
But towards the waning years of his life, Thomas threw away his brilliant writings saying, “All these are nothing but hay compared to the wisdom of the cross!” In the crucified Lord St. Thomas saw the unsurpassable wisdom of the Son of God completely accepting the Will of the Father in order to vanquish sin and death once and for all.
Invited by Pope Gregory X to the Council of Lyons, Thomas on his way to the Council died in a Cistercian (a stricter Benedictine order) monastery in Fossanova on March 7, 1274, at 47. Thomas, early in life started out as a Benedictine; his life ended in a home for Benedictines.
At the sight of his rather enormous body, caretakers reportedly, as a professor from Louvain claimed, boiled down his corpse to make their burden light.* As to his soul, it soared to heaven where he is acknowledged and welcomed as “the Angelic Doctor” (Doctor Angelicus).
* The anecdote, to be historically verified, was reported by Fr. Ninoy Canlas and Fr. Mamerto Alfeche OSA as told to their class by Prof. Frank de Graeve, SJ.