St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, is well known for his voluminous writings, his mind-bending theological and philosophical insights, and the unparalleled beauty of his Eucharistic hymns. And yet, above all else, Aquinas was a man of prayer  – after a mystical experience he had near the end of his life, he declared that all his writings were like “straw” in comparison to this supernatural revelation. I have to admit, that any attempt I have ever made to pick up St. Thomas’ Summa has been met with frustration and bewilderment. I am indebted to those authors who have been able to make Aquinas’ teachings accessible. Some of my favorites are:Dr. Peter Kreeft’s book Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas is organized into 359 topical discussions from the teachings of the Angelic Doctor. What I appreciate most about Dr. Kreeft’s book is that I can pick it up, as needed, and explore a particular topic in the work of St. Thomas. The topics covered are wide-ranging from “Evidence in Our Experience for Original Sin” to “Christ on Other Planets” and more – showing the amazing breath and depth of Aquinas’ teachings. Dr. Taylor Marshall’s book Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages: A Layman’s Quick Guide to Thomism, which  provides a short, easily digested summary of Aquinas. Dr. Marshall covers his major theological and philosophical teachings and provides ample easy-to-understand examples throughout (such as using lasagna to explain the teaching on form and matter – boy did that appeal to this Italian girl!)Raissa Maritain’s book: Saint Thomas Aquinas For Children and the Childlike  is a beautiful biography of this great Saint, written for children, but definitely appreciated by all.  My children and I did this as a read-aloud and learned so much about St. Thomas’s life – one fact that really stuck with