800 years ago Thomas Aquinas wrote the Summa Theologica – which basically means the ‘summary of Theology’. Imagine that! The sum of all the knowledge of God, the answers to all our questions, conveniently contained within the pages of a book, albeit a very large book, of more than one volume.
Thomas Aquinas had a wonderful mind and a great drive to know God and communicate that knowledge. He also had a way with words, which he used, together with his scribe Reginald, to produce a great masterpiece for people to learn how to be Christians and lead others.
Fortunately it is unfinished!
How could the knowledge of God ever be summed up in a book?
There are three main parts to the Summa Theologica. The first two, about God, nature and creation, and the morality of mankind, are considered to be finished, but it’s the third part, about Jesus, that isn’t.
It turns out that while he was writing part III, and levitating in prayer, Christ said to Thomas: "You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labour?"
And Thomas replied, "Nothing but you, Lord."
Then he stopped writing.
Some time later Reginald begged him to get back to work but Thomas replied: "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me".
This is truly amazing. A man who was most famous for his ability to write and philosophise, a man who, even today is considered one of the greatest theologians to have lived, was brought to realise that all the words in the world are not enough, whichever order you put them in, to explain or describe the wonder of knowing God through Jesus Christ.
Thomas must have experienced the remarkable warmth of the living love of God.
Today let’s ask for the touch of God that words cannot describe. And be glad that the Summa Theoligica will never be finished.
Not within a book.