HomeQuotes150 Thomas Aquinas Quotes on Life & Enlightenment

150 Thomas Aquinas Quotes on Life & Enlightenment

1. “Love follows knowledge.”

2. “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of wine.”

3. “Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.”

4. “Wonder is the desire of knowledge.”

5. “I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it. I would hope to act with compassion without thinking of personal gain.”

6. “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.”

7. “Better to illuminate than merely to shine to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.”

8. “The things that we love tell us what we are.”

9. “The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.”

10. “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.”

11. “Beware the man of a single book.”

12. “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

13. “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

14. “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.”

15. “The study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.”

16. “Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends, even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.”

17. “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?”

18. “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.”

19. “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.”

20. “Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.”

21. “The study of truth requires a considerable effort—which is why few are willing to undertake it out of love of knowledge—despite the fact that God has implanted a natural appetite for such knowledge in the minds of men.”

22. “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.”

23. “God is never angry for His sake, only for ours.”

24. “Nothing which implies contradiction falls under the omnipotence of God.”

25. “Nothing can move itself; there must be a first mover. The first mover is called God.”

26. “God Himself is the rule and mode of virtue.”

27. “We can certainly never believe, , or love God more than or even as much as we should. Extravagance is impossible.”

28. “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.”

29. “There would not be a perfect likeness of God in the universe if all things were of one grade of being.”

30. “To make peace either in oneself or among others, shows a man to be a follower of God.”

31. “Yet through virtuous living man is further ordained to a higher end, which consists in the enjoyment of God, as we have said above.”

32. “Since society must have the same end as the individual man, it is not the ultimate end of an assembled multitude to live virtuously, but through virtuous living to attain to the possession of God.”

33. “One or the other would have to be false, and since we have both of them from God, He would be the cause of our error, which is impossible.”

34. “God loves His creatures, and He loves each one more, the more it shares His own goodness, which is the first and primary object of His love.”

35. “He wants the desires of his rational creatures to be fulfilled because they share most perfectly of all creatures the goodness of God.”

36. “In the old law, God was praised both with musical instruments and human voices. But the church does not use musical instruments to praise God, lest she should seem to judaize.”

37. “Reason in man is rather like God in the world.”

38. “ is due to God and to persons of great excellence as a sign of attestation of excellence already existing; not that honor makes them excellent.”

39. “God is not, like creatures, made up of parts.”

40. “God is spirit, without bodily dimensions.”

41. “When the scriptures ascribe dimensions to God they are using spatial extension to symbolize the extent of God’s power; just as they ascribe bodily organs to God as metaphors for their functions, and postures like sitting or standing to symbolize authority or strength.”

42. “I answer that it was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason.”

43. “Man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason.”

44. “There must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.”

45. “Man’s whole salvation, which is in God, depends upon the knowledge of this truth.”

46. “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.”

47. “Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand.”

48. “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.”

49. “Our faith is measured by divine truth; our hope by the greatness of His power and faithful affection; our charity by His goodness.”

50. “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.”

51. “Even though the natural light of the human mind is inadequate to make known what is revealed by faith, nevertheless what is divinely taught to us by faith cannot be contrary to what we are endowed with by nature.”

52. “The world tempts us either by attaching us to it in prosperity, or by filling us with fear of adversity. But faith overcomes this in that we believe in a life to come better than this one, and hence we despise the riches of this world and we are not terrified in the face of adversity.”

53. “For it is essential to opinion that we assent to one of two opposite assertions with fear of the other, so that our adhesion is not firm. To science, it is essential to have firm adhesion with intellectual vision, for science possesses certitude which results from the understanding of principles; while faith holds a middle place, for it surpasses opinion in so far as its adhesion is firm, but falls short of science in so far as it lacks vision.”

54. “The light of faith makes us see what we believe.”

55. “Faith presupposes natural knowledge, even as grace presupposes nature, and perfection supposes something that can be perfected.”

56. “If you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because he himself is the way.”

57. “If you want to be saved, look at the face of your Christ.”

58. “His truth, power, and goodness outreach any measure of reason.”

59. “The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned, in order that their bliss be more delightful for them.”

60. “An angel can illuminate 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.”

61. “It is absurd and a detestable shame that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old.”

62. “A capacity as such is directed to an act. Wherefore we seek to know the nature of a capacity from the act to which it is directed, and consequently the nature of a capacity is diversified as the nature of the act is diversified.”

63. “The argument from authority is the weakest.”

64. “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.”

65. “To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them.”

66. “The evangelical doctrine has sublimity of strength.”

67. “The judgment uttered by everyone concerning truth cannot be erroneous.”

68. “Prayer is addressed to man, first, to lay bare the desire and the need of the petitioner; and secondly, to incline the mind of him to whom the prayer is addressed to grant the petition.”

69. “Man needs to be guarded by the angels.”

70. “Angels need an assumed body, not for themselves, but on our account.”

71. “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.”

72. “God and his nature are identical: to be God is to be this individual God.”

73. “In God, there is another perfection, which inclines Him to forgive immediately the gravest and most numerous offenses, if we make a firm resolution to turn from them and truly to amend.”

74. “To love is to will the good of the other.”

75. “I receive Your ransom of my soul. For the love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil, toiled, preached, and taught.”

76. “The person who truly understands love could love anyone.”

77. “The emotion of love is an affective emotion—directly reacting to goodness, rather than an aggressive one reacting to challenge.”

78. “The first change the object produces in our appetite is a feeling of its agreeableness; we call this love. Then, desire moves us to seek the object and pleasure comes to rest in it. Clearly then, as a change induced in us by an agent, love is a passion—the affective emotion strictly so, the will to love by stretching of the term.”

79. “Love unites by making what is loved as agreeable to the lover as if it were himself or a part of himself.”

80. “Though love is not itself a movement of the appetite towards an object, it is a change the appetite undergoes rendering an object agreeable.”

81. “Favor is a freely chosen and willing love, open only to reasoning creatures; and charity―literally, holding dear―is a perfect form of love in which what is loved is highly prized.”

82. “To love, as says, is to want someone’s good; so its object is twofold—the good we want, loved with a love of desire, and the someone we want it for, loved with a love of friendship.”

83. “Friendship based on convenience or pleasure is friendship inasmuch as we want our friend’s good; but because this is subordinated to our own profit or pleasure, such friendship is subordinated to love of desire and falls short of true friendship.”

84. “In accepting or rejecting opinions, a man must not be influenced by love or hatred of him who offers the opinions, but only by the certainty of the truth.”

85. “Love is a binding force, by which another is joined to me and cherished by myself.”

86. “Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.”

87. “The happy man in this life needs friends.”

88. “Friendship makes you feel as one with your friend.”

89. “Mercy, without justice, is the of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.”

90. “While injustice is the worst of sins, despair is the most dangerous; because when you are in despair, you care neither about yourself nor about others.”

91. “Here is no virtuous moderation, no measurable mean; the more extreme our activity, the better we are.”

92. “Knowledge depends on the mode of the knower; for what is known is in the knower according to the measure of his mode.”

93. “The slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things.”

94. “And His will is an accomplisher of things because He is the cause of things by His will. So it belongs to the divine goodness to fulfill the desires of rational creatures which are put to him in prayer.”

95. “The splendor of a soul in grace is so seductive that it surpasses the beauty of all created things.”

96. “Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.”

97. “In deliberation, we may hesitate; but a deliberate act must be performed swiftly.”

98. “The science of mathematics treats its object as though it were something abstracted mentally, whereas it is not abstract in reality.”

99. “Anger looks to the good of justice.”

100. “Nothing can be known, save what is true.”

101. “War is contrary to peace.”

102. “War is always a sin.”

103. “The stone is one, the medicine is one, to which we add nothing, only in the preparation removing superfluities.”

104. “The philosopher too, says of the wicked that, ‘Their soul is divided against itself. One part pulls this way, another that,’ and afterwards he concludes, saying, ‘If wickedness makes a man so miserable, he should strain every nerve to avoid vice.’”

105. “Human nature inclines us to have recourse to petition for the purpose of obtaining from another, especially from a person of higher rank, what we hope to receive from Him.”

106. “Sciences are differentiated according to the various means through which knowledge is obtained.”

107. “Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists of playful words or deeds. Therefore, it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.”

108. “Human beings are by their nature social and political, living in community even more than every other animal.”

109. “Law, an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community.”

110. “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.”

111. “If the citizens themselves devote their life to matters of trade, the way will be opened to many vices.”

112. “Since the foremost tendency of tradesmen is to make money, is awakened in the hearts of the citizens through the pursuit of trade.”

113. “The perfection of any power is determined by the nature of its object.”

114. “That which is asserted universally by everyone cannot possibly be totally false.”

115. “A false opinion is a kind of infirmity of the understanding, just as a false judgment concerning a proper sensible happens as the result of a weakness of the sense power involved.”

116. “The act that anything evil puts forth is due to the strength of goodness, but a deficient goodness. For if there were nothing of good there, neither would there be any being, nor any action. Again, if the goodness were not deficient, neither would there be any evil.”

117. “It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.”

118. “If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.”

119. “A song is the exaltation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice.”

120. “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.”

121. “Man has free choice, or otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.”

122. “The human mind may perceive truth only through thinking, as is clear from Augustine.”

123. “Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need.”

124. “It must be said that charity can, in no way, exist along with mortal sin.”

125. “Man cannot live without joy. That is why one deprived of spiritual joys goes over to carnal pleasures.”

126. “If, then, the final happiness of man does not consist in those exterior advantages which are called goods of fortune, nor in goods of the body, nor in goods of the soul in its sentient part, nor in the virtues of practical intellect, called art and prudence, it remains that the final happiness of man consists in the contemplation of truth.”

127. “Happiness itself, being a perfection of the soul—is a good inherent in the soul; but that in which happiness consists, or the object that makes one happy, is something outside the soul.”

128. “Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the divine essence.”

129. “Man is not perfectly happy, so long as something remains for him to desire and seek.”

130. “Thus the sun which possesses light perfectly, can shine by itself; whereas the moon which has the nature of light imperfectly, sheds only a borrowed light.”

131. “It has become the fashion to talk about mysticism, even to pose as mystics, and—need it be said—those who talk the most on such subjects are those who know the least.”

132. “By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.”

133. “Our manner of knowing is so weak that no philosopher could perfectly investigate the nature of even one little fly.”

134. “Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which set bounds to the passions.”

135. “Again, it is self-evident that truth exists. For truth exists if anything at all is true, and if anyone denies that truth exists, he concedes that it is true that it does not exist, since if truth does not exist it is then true that it does not exist.”

136. “The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them.”

137. “He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral.”

138. “Whatever is received into something is received according to the condition of the receiver.”

139. “Pipes are not to be used for teaching, nor any artificial instruments, as the harp or the like, but whatsoever will make the hearers good men.”

140. “Nothing, except sin, is contrary to an act of virtue.”

141. “By passion we mean some result of being acted on—either a form induced by the agent or a movement consequent on the form.”

142. “Now, in matters of action, the reason directs all things in view of the end.”

143. “Of all human pursuits, the pursuit of wisdom is the most perfect, the most sublime, the most useful, and the most agreeable.”

144. “Wherefore the intellect attains perfection, in so far as it knows the essence of a thing.”

145. “When man knows an effect and knows that it has a cause, there naturally remains in the man the desire to know about the cause, ‘What it is.’”

146. “When a man wishes to remember a thing, he should take some suitable yet unwonted illustration of it, since the unwonted strikes us more, and so makes a greater and stronger impression on the mind.”

147. “Whatever a man wishes to retain in his memory, he must carefully consider to put in order, so that he may pass easily from one memory to another.”



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