Master Thomas Aquinas and the Fullness of Life

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88 pages, 4½" x 7", Foreword, introduction, notes, appendix, bibliographies

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Master Thomas Aquinas and the Fullness of Life

Boyle, John F.

Professor John F. Boyle’s lecture, Master Thomas Aquinas and the Fullness of Life, is a piece that combines a profoundly personal element – the experience of someone who has chosen St. Thomas as his own teacher and master – with the learnedness of one of the most respected contemporary American scholars of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. What we are offered in Professor Boyle’s lecture is not the kind of arid and lifeless speculation that is sometimes – albeit mistakenly – associated with Aquinas’s own style. Boyle emphasizes that Aquinas was far from being a “brain on a stick,” a theologian and thinker so deeply immersed in speculation as to lose sight of the real world, and indeed of what matters in the real world. For what matters in the real world is life, and our ability to conduct this life is a way that is in accordance with the deepest longings of human nature. Boyle demonstrates, with both learning and wit, that it is precisely this life, in its fullness, to which St. Thomas endeavors to lead his students through his teaching. This life has its roots in the humble operations of living that we share with creatures such as plants and animals; it rises to the properly human level in the self-direction of which we are capable through intellect and will, and which enables us to form ourselves morally in habits that become “second natures” for us; and it is perfected in the supernatural life of faith in which Christ becomes our teacher and master, who leads us to eternal life with his Father.

With Master Boyle through Master Thomas to the Master: that could be the motto of this Aquinas Lecture, which was delivered at the University of Dallas on January 28, 2013. Although the University of Dallas has hosted an annual Aquinas Lecture since 1982, Master Thomas Aquinas and the Fullness of Life is the first to be made available in this new series.