Coincidental to my post on Thomas Aquinas and charity in debate, I discovered this delightful post from Christ and Pop Culture about my second favorite Thomas story: "How to Practice Virtue (by Chasing Hookers Away with Red-Hot Pokers)." It's a fun introduction to some of the basics of virtue ethics as demonstrated early in the monastic career of the Angelic Doctor. Thomas, who came from a noble family in southern Italy, joined the new and controversial Order of Preachers or "Dominicans" against his family's wishes, so his brothers abducted him, locked him in a tower, and threw a prostitute into the room with him to test his commitment to his vow of chastity. Read the piece to learn how that ended.
I say this is my "second favorite Thomas story"; it used to be my favorite, but the reality of lecturing a classroom of sleepy students on Western Civ at 8:00 AM moved the one I recounted earlier this week—about his startling interruption of a banquet with the king of France—to the top. I usually hold students' interest even if I'm not exactly a flamboyant lecturer, so this story, the one time I pound on the lectern and shout during the semester, always gets hilarious and entertaining reactions. For me, anyway.