I'm not sure why it is that people become so upset when we mention that saints weren't perfect. It's not necessary to be perfect to be a saint. It's a good thing, too, or there wouldn't be any.
Thomas Aquinas walked half the earth (or something equally ridiculous). Dominicans of that day and age couldn't possibly be as big as a house...Good for him! I walk all over the place, too. However, I did not make it up that St. Thomas Aquinas was as big as a house. This fact first came to my attention because a priest I used to know always used St. Thomas Aquinas as his one and only similie for fatness. If Father Bill wanted to say something was fat, he would say, "as fat as Thomas Aquinas..."
It was only after that I noticed Thomas Aquinas looked rather portly in his pictures. These aren't necessarily pictures that were drawn many years after his death. It's only in recent years that St. Thomas has slimmed down on his holy card.
If I may digress for a moment, most saints are prettied up for their holy cards. I understand the reason is to show that everyone is beautiful in heaven. I wish this practice would be discontinued. It's bad enough that everyone has to be pretty on TV where no one is particularly fat even on a Pizza Hut commercial. Saints aren't saints here on earth. You have to be dead to be a saint. But you have to have lived a life of heroic virtue here on earth to be a saint. We call people who are living lives of heroic virtue 'living saints'. But to be an actual canonized saint you have to be dead. The holy card is usually a depiction of the saint while he was alive. I would appreciate seeing someone's homely mug on a holy card. That type of thing gives everyone hope.
I love seeing St. Therese's potatoey little face much more than her prettied up holy card. I think her real face is all the more beautiful.
I love the idea that Our Lady appeared to this unfortunate looking nun, as opposed to the beautiful young girl we always see.
Leave the models for Palmolive dish soap and show me the everyday faces of the people who are the real models for living.
My soap box is breaking under the weight of the New Orleans bread pudding with rum sauce someone fed me during the Christmas break.
What was I talking about?
Oh, yes, St. Thomas Aquinas, the tubby. They didn't call St. Thomas Aquinas "The Dumb Ox" when he was a school boy for nothing. The 'dumb' part came from the fact that he was a quiet boy. But, let's fact it, they didn't call him the dumb mouse, or the dumb beanpole, or the dumb greyhound. "This dumb ox will fill the earth with his bellowing." (Albert the Great, Aquinas' Parisian professor)
You don't have to take my word for it. Here's G.K. Chesterton (a 'takes one to know one' example in the weight department, Chesterton's coffin was too big to be carried down the stairs and had to be lowered from the window like a piano) on St. Thomas Aquinas:
"St. Thomas was a huge heavy bull of a man, fat and slow and quiet; very mild and magnanimous but not very sociable; shy, even apart from the humility of holiness; and abstracted, even apart from his occasional and carefully concealed experiences of trance or ecstasy."
Myron Shibley of the Franciscan University writes:
"St. Thomas Aquinas was a compulsive over-eater who was not just fat but morbidly obese and physically grotesque."
I have read, but not been able to verify, that St. Thomas Aquinas had to cut a semi-circle in the table for his stomach so he could fit himself in there. Now, this may not be true, but no one would have made up a story like that if Aquinas was skinny, because no one would have believed it. They would have said, "Posh! Aquinas is a beanpole! What are you talking about?"
Instead, they said, "Reeeaaally?"
So all the walking didn't work for St. Thomas. I doubt he could walk that much anyhow. It takes a lot of sitting to write as much as St. Thomas Aquinas wrote. He didn't even have a typewriter.
It's okay with me. I like him that way. A peron can't have heroic virtue if they have no problems to try to overcome. You're not brave if you're not afraid. Bravery means you are afraid, but you still do the deed. If you're not afraid, maybe you're just fool hardy. Or stupid.
There can be no strength of character without temptation, no virtue without the existence of vice. Being a fatso doesn't make Thomas Aquinas a hypocrite. It makes him human, which allows him to become a saint.
I want the fattest holy card I can find of him.