The Summa Contra Gentiles comes to us in a manuscript penned and revised by St. Thomas himself. It is thought that St. Thomas began writing this work around the year 1259 when he had returned to Italy for a stay of several years. This work is written for those who need to understand their faith in order to explain it to others. For this reason, as well as the depth of St. Thomas’s thought contained in this work, the Summa Contra Gentiles is a relevant work for the modern age. Reading the Summa Contra Gentiles we are guided by the clarity of St. Thomas’s thought as he explores providence, creation, and other relevant topics. The portion of this work which St. Thomas devotes to considering the sacraments is particularly helpful, as the Summa Theologiae is incomplete, leaving off before St. Thomas treated of all of the sacraments.
As Rene-Antoine Gauthier affirms, “The Summa Contra Gentiles is an essay in personal reflection.” This is St. Thomas at his best.