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Why Thomas Aquinas Stopped Writing

Thomas Aquinas, a medieval theologian, created one of the greatest intellectual achievements of Western civilization in his Summa Theologica. It's a massive work: thirty-eight treatises, three thousand articles, ten thousand objections. Thomas tried to gather into one coherent whole all of truth. What a great undertaking: anthropology, science, ethics, psychology, political theory and theology, all under God.

On December 6, 1273, Thomas abruptly stopped his work. While celebrating Mass in the chapel of St. Thomas, he caught a glimpse of eternity, and suddenly he knew that all his efforts to describe God fell so far short that he decided never to write again.

When his secretary, Reginald, tried to encourage him to do more writing, he said, "Reginald, I can do no more. Such things have been revealed to me that all I have written seems as so much straw."

Firm in his resolve, he wrote not another word and died a year later.

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