40 of the Most Influential Thomas Aquinas Quotes

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Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was an Italian Dominican Friar and philosopher. His commentaries Artistotle form a large part of his work, in which he attempted to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy and the Catholic religion. His most influential work was unfinished, a massive work called Summa Theologiae, or Summa Theologica. This work was meant to be a complete summary of Catholic teachings for use by theology students.

He believed in natural theology, or a theology that proves the existence of God in reason and the ordinary existence of man. He wrote works on ethics, metaphysics, political theory, and natural law. His work is highly influential in the teaching of Catholic doctrine and religious philosophy.

Thomas Aquinas Quotes


Here are 40 of the most influential Thomas Aquinas quotes.

  1. “Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man’s own will.”
  2. “The things that we love tell us what we are.”
  3. “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
  4. ” 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.”
  5. “Eternity is called whole, not because it has parts, but because it is lacking in nothing.”
  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. “Man is closer to God according to his existence in grace than he is according to his existence in nature.”
  8. “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”
  9. “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.”
  10. “The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.”
  11. “Better to illuminate than merely to shine; to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.”
  12. “Wonder is the desire of knowledge.”
  13. “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?”
  14. “Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.”
  15. “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.”
  16. “Music is the exaltation of the mind derived from things eternal, bursting forth in sound.”
  17. “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.”
  18. “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.”
  19. “Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.”
  20. “Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.”
  21. “There must be must be a first mover existing above all – and this we call God.”
  22. “The study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.”
  23. “The highest perfection of human life consists in the mind of man being detached from care, for the sake of God.”
  24. “Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand.”
  25. “A thing is lovable according as it is good. But God is infinite good. Therefore He is infinitely lovable.”
  26. “Man has free choice, or otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.”
  27. “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine”
  28. “Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
  29. “It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.”
  30. “Beware of the person of one book.”
  31. “Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.”
  32. “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.”
  33. “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.”
  34. “God is never angry for His sake, only for ours.”
  35. “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.”
  36. “Man cannot live without joy. That is why one deprived of spiritual joys goes over to carnal pleasures.”
  37. “Many cry to the Lord that they may win riches, that they may avoid losses; they cry that their family may be established, they ask for temporal happiness, for worldly dignities; and, lastly, they cry for bodily health, which is the patrimony of the poor. For these and suchlike things many cry to the Lord; hardly one cries for the Lord Himself! How easy it is for a man to desire all manner of things from the Lord and yet not desire the Lord Himself! As though the gift could be sweeter than the Giver!”
  38. “Miracles are signs not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.”
  39. “The principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly rather than to attack them.”
  40. “It must be said that charity can, in no way, exist along with mortal sin.”
  41. “The image of God always abides in the soul, whether this image be obsolete and clouded over as to amount to almost nothing; or whether it be obscured or disfigured, as is the case with sinners; or whether it be clear and beautiful as is the case with the just.”
  42. “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.”
  43. “The greatness of the human being consists in this: that it is capable of the universe.”
  44. “See to whom Jesus is drawing near, three kinds of people: to those who make peace with him, to those who are devoted to God, and to those who are kind to their neighbors.
  45. “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.”
  46. “Reason in man is rather like God in the world.”
  47. Now just vengeance is taken only for that which is done unjustly; hence that which provokes anger is always something considered in the light of an injustice.”
  48. “By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.”
  49. “The slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things.”
  50. “Natural inclinations are present in things from God, who moves all things. So it is impossible for the natural inclinations of a species to be toward evil in itself. But there is in all perfect animals a natural inclination toward carnal union. Therefore it is impossible for carnal union to be evil in itself.”
  51. “Law: an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community.”
  52. “It would seem that zeal is not an effect of love. For zeal is a beginning of contention.”
  53. “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.”
  54. “The perfection of“The light of faith makes us see what we believe.” the effect demonstrates the perfection of the cause, for a greater power brings about a more perfect effect. But God is the most perfect agent. Therefore, things created by Him obtain perfection from Him. So, to detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of divine power.”
  55. “The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them.”
  56. “Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”
  57. “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.”
  58. “In deliberation we may hesitate; but a deliberated act must be performed swiftly.”
  59. “The light of faith makes us see what we believe.”

Known as both an influential philosopher and a teacher of Church doctrine, Thomas Aquinas is celebrated as a Saint in the Catholic church. He is widely viewed as one of the most important philophers in Western thought. These 40 Thomas Aquinas quotes offer us much food for thought, and inspire us all to live justly and thoughtfully. Use these quotes to remember the importance of the sacred and the natural.


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