Friday, December 27, 2019

St. Thomas Aquinas -- how his mystical experience changed everything for him

St. Thomas Aquinas reportedly had a mystical vision at the end of his life, after which, despite the pleading of his friends, he did not write another word. It was told that on his death bed he waved his hands at shelves filled with his speculative theological, philosophical writings and said, "It is all straw."

On the feast of St. Nicholas in 1273, Aquinas was celebrating Mass when he received a revelation that so affected him that he wrote and dictated no more, leaving his great work the Summa Theologiae unfinished. To Brother Reginald's (his secretary and friend) expostulations he replied, "The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me." When later asked by Reginald to return to writing, Aquinas said, "I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings like straw."