Thomas Aquinas and the Formation of the Human Person

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“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.”  ― St. Thomas Aquinas

On Friday night, February 22, Dr. Daniel Offsay presented a talk on the “Fundamentals of Christian Formation According to Saint Thomas Aquinas.”  Drawing on Aquinas’ writings, Dr. Offsay outlined answers to some of the questions Aquinas calls “necessary for the salvation of man”:  What is man’s purpose, what is man’s end or ultimate goal, and how does man achieve said goal. Delving into concepts such as what it means to be made in the image of God, different levels of existence, the aims of the intellect and will, and how man’s knowledge of God is different from man’s knowledge of anything else, Dr. Offsay took his listeners to the depths of philosophy and theology.  This was especially true for the freshmen who are currently studying Aristotle, one of Aquinas’ great influences.

One student, Chance Hebert ’19, remarked that this talk acted as a “concrete connection” between the texts read at the college and the practice of living life well in the contemporary world.

Indeed, the talk was a wonderful addition not only to the academic program, but also to the faith lives of the students. As Madeline Towne ’22 commented, “If we take our faith seriously, we have to inform ourselves about what we believe” referring to Church teaching on the human person.  Through his presentation, Dr. Offsay sounded the depths of philosophy and theology, offering students a rich introduction to the connection between philosophical anthropology and practical growth through an integral human formation.

– Contributed by Adriana Smith ’22

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