I remember the day I walked out of class. It was 12 years ago. Grad school. My favorite teacher was facilitating. The course: The Theology of Thomas Aquinas. I was excited. The teacher began to walk us through the syllabus and I started thumbing through the books. I got to page 33 of “Summa of the Summa” and just happen to catch a small note in the Footnotes: “I can write no more; compared with what I have seen, all I have written seems to me as straw.” What?!
I’m about to take a masters-level-class on the writings from one of history’s most brilliant men and he himself didn’t finish his work and considered it “straw”? What did Aquinas see? I read a little further in the Footnote: Aquinas had a mystical experience (an infused contemplation) while taking communion. He had an encounter. He never finished his Systematic Theology because of one experience in contemplative prayer and considered everything previous to that moment as “straw.”
Upon learning this I dropped the course and signed up for a class on Contemplative Prayer. Religion always puts encounters in the “Footnotes” instead of in the “Heading.” Devotion wins every time.