St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day was yesterday, will be our Famous Catholic this week, but, in honor of his actual feast (which I missed), I'm just going to present you with a few of my favorite St. Thomas stories. Now, for those who are unaware, St. Thomas was adorably nerdy most of the time, and obnoxiously pious the rest. Observe:
1. When Thomas was in school, he was a very quiet student, so much so that his teachers and most of his classmates thought he was simply dense. While most of his fellows contented themselves with laughing at him, one decent sort took pity on the fat, slow Thomas and offered to tutor him. Thomas went along with it, allowing the good-natured boy to instruct him, until one day when his tutor encountered a particuarly difficult subject. As he struggled to explain it, Thomas helpfully chimmed in with a staggeringly brilliant dissertation to get his friend passed the rough bit before encouraging him to resume his instruction.
2. After he had joined the Dominicans, they soon realized how brilliant he was and exempted him from manual labor to give him more time to study and write. The result of this sedentary lifestyle was that the already-large Thomas grew even larger, until (so legend has it), they had to cut a section of the table out for him to reach his food.
3. One day, when he and some of his brother monks were visiting King Louis IX of France (St. Louis), one of the brothers gazed around Louis's palace and exclaimed "how wonderful it must be to own all of this!" To which Thomas replied "I would rather have that Chrysostom Manuscript: I can't find it."
4. During that same visit, while the King of France was entertaining his distinguished guests with a lavish feast, Aquinas sat in silence while the conversation waxed and waned about him, until he suddenly struck the table and cried "and that will finish the Manichees!" An awkward silence ensued, except for the king, who ordered his scribes to quickly take down Thomas's thoughts before he forgot about them.
5. In a nearby convent lived a pious nun who would levitate while eraptured in mysical prayer (like St. Joseph of Cupertino). All the friars rushed to see the miracle, dragging Thomas along. As they watched the sister floating in the air, Thomas commented "I didn't know nuns wore such large boots."
Vive Christus Rex!