Because of Aquinas
By Patrick McMahon (’21)
Draw near to me, you who are untaught,
and lodge in my school.
Why do you say you are lacking in these things,
and why are your souls very thirsty?
I opened my mouth and said,
Get these things for yourselves without money.
Put your neck under the yoke,
and let your souls receive instruction;
it is to be found close by.
See with your eyes that I have labored little
and found for myself much rest.
Get instruction with a large sum of silver
and you will gain by it much gold.
– Sirach 51:23–28
To say I enrolled at Aquinas in the fall of 2018 is true, though something of an overstatement. A more appropriate description would be that I ended up there, adrift on the sea of circumstance, disillusioned and jaded by reality as I knew it, and confident in the crushing notion that I knew it completely. Despite passing the hard courses in high school, excelling in the activities, participating in the events, indulging all the passions, and all the other things the public high-schooler has set before him as normative and profitable—despite all this, I knew little to nothing about Reality. In fact, there was really only One Anything to be necessarily known, and known about, and loved, but I neither knew, nor knew about, nor loved this One. An alarming realization, indeed. Because of Aquinas College, or rather because of Almighty God’s instrumentation of Aquinas College, and the legacy of the formation I received there, I habitually find myself in that rarest of forms called human flourishing.
At Aquinas I discovered a whole new perspective. Instructors, regardless of their discipline, taught out of tried, true, and illustrious traditions. They guided us to the Truth, helping us to experience the gratuitous nature of Truth, available to us, in our age, and for our flourishing and for our neighbors. We were to plumb its depths for the glory of God and the sanctification of souls, starting with ours. An atmosphere of inquiry and contemplation permeated the classes, but also the luncheons, the chats, the many speculative sessions in the student lounge, and especially the silence and repose found in any of the campus chapels. Throughout all of this was wrought in me that command of Saint Paul, to be transformed by the renewal of the mind, and I will treasure that time as long as I am able.
Patrick McMahon graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 2021. Shortly thereafter, he traveled abroad for a three month period of inquiry in a Benedictine Monastery. He was accepted, and hopes to begin postulancy upon receiving the necessary civil entry permissions.