St. Thomas and the Things We Love

The things we love tell us what we are. — Attr. St. Thomas Aquinas

This one is easy. It comes from Peter Kreeft’s Socrates Meets Kant, p. 183, which cites the Summa Theologica I-II, 34, a4. The portion of that passage which Dr. Kreeft seems to have in mind is this:

And therefore man is reckoned to be good or bad chiefly according to the pleasure of the human will; since that man is good and virtuous, who takes pleasure in the works of virtue; and that man evil, who takes pleasure in evil works.

As you can see, Dr. Kreeft paraphrased St. Thomas, which is perfectly acceptable. It’s just that people picked up his paraphrase as if it were a quotation, which it is not.


Update 2/15/16: A commenter below notes that the exact quotation can be found on p. 22 of Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude. I don’t own a copy and the previews on Google Books don’t show this page, but I am confident that the comment is correct. Dr. Kreeft must have confused his Thomases.

St. Augustine: Take Care of Your Body

Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow. — Attr. St. Augustine

  1. It doesn’t sound like him. It sounds like something created by someone of the “healthiness is next to godliness” mindset.
  2. A Google search turns up a smaller-than-usual collection of the usual suspect sites, none giving citations. The “smaller than usual” part is significant because …
  3. Google Books doesn’t return anything for it before 2009 and …
  4. The alleged quotation doesn’t even appear in the disputed portion of the St. Augustine page on Wikiquote, nor is it on the discussion page.
  5. I tried searching for references to “corpus tuum” in the works of Augustine. My eyes started to glaze over, but I didn’t find anything that could be this quotation.

Points 2-4 make me think it’s a fairly recent invention. Nothing makes me think it’s authentic. But if you know where it is in his works, let me know.