What did St. Thomas look like? There are many descriptions, most of them focusing on his size! We prefer to think he was a big guy like a football player, not necessarily hugely fat–after all, he walked all over Europe preaching and teaching! One writer tells us that when he was walking the roads people would come out of the fields to stare at him because of his \”beauty and corpulence\”. Well, at least he was considered handsome! Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, let\’s look at a few old and new renditions of this saint.
We\’re not sure who painted these pictures (some look like icons so they were written, not painted), but we are grateful for their work. Each brings out a different aspect of what St. Thomas must have been like. Of course the best way to get to know St. Thomas is by reading his works…but it\’s kind of fun to see what he may have looked like. We are often asked, \”How do I start reading St. Thomas Aquinas?\” One way is to choose a question from the Summa theologiae, perhaps some theological topic you are interested in, and read it over carefully, noting the arguments and the conclusions Thomas comes to. Keep in mind that in the Summa theologiae Thomas begins with objections to what he wants to say first! He then refutes the objections, saying, \”On the contrary…\” and then gives his opinion, saying, \”I answer that…\” St. Thomas also wrote numerous other works–commentaries on Scripture, homilies, answers to questions, and so on and so on. Many are available on the Internet or as e-books as well. Today, consider reading and praying over something by St. Thomas, and then pass on the fruits of your contemplation to others!