January 28, 2016

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor

St. Thomas Aquinas
Saint Thomas Aquinas [1225-1274] was born in 1225 at the castle of Roccasecca, in Italy. He dedicated his life to creating a complete synthesis of Catholic philosophy and theology. Although humble and quiet, Aquinas possessed one of the most intellectually curious minds in history. He is regarded as the Catholic Church's greatest theologian, philosopher and jurist. In 1244, Aquinas joined the nascent Dominican Order. Nick named the "Dumb Ox" by classmates, in undeserved derision, one of his lecturers, St.Albertus Magnus, exclaimed in reply: "You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world."

Aquinas' greatest work, the Summa Theologica is the definitive text for those studying to be priests. It is a work universally revered and consulted by adherents of multiple faiths, as well as those who profess none. Aquinas is the pride of the Dominican Orders. In addition to his intellectual prowess, he is known for his purity and selfless charity. St. Thomas died on March 7, 1274, while writing a commentary on the Song of Songs. Three months prior to his passing, he experienced an epiphany of such magnitude that next to it, his writing, in Aquinas' words: "appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me." Fifty years after his death Pope John XXII pronounced Thomas a saint. Pope Pius V declared Saint Thomas a doctor of the church, saying Thomas was "the most brilliant light of the Church."
The Life of St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. At the Council of Trent it was consulted after the Bible.

To a deeply speculative mind, he joined a remarkable life of prayer, a precious memento of which has been left to us in the Office of Corpus Christi. Reputed as great already in life, he nevertheless remained modest, a perfect model of childlike simplicity and goodness. He was mild in word and kind in deed. He believed everyone was as innocent as he himself was. When someone sinned through weakness, Thomas bemoaned the sin as if it were his own. The goodness of his heart shone in his face, no one could look upon him and remain disconsolate. How he suffered with the poor and the needy was most inspiring. Whatever clothing or other items he could give away, he gladly did. He kept nothing superfluous in his efforts to alleviate the needs of others.

After he died his lifelong companion and confessor testified, "I have always known him to be as innocent as a five-year-old child. Never did a carnal temptation soil his soul, never did he consent to a mortal sin." He cherished a most tender devotion to St. Agnes, constantly carrying relics of this virgin martyr on his person. He died in 1274, at the age of fifty, in the abbey of Fossa Nuova. He is the patron saint of schools and of sacred theology.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo.

Symbols: Chalice; monstrance; ox; star; sun; teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet; teaching.

Collect Prayer

O God, who made Saint Thomas Aquinas outstanding in his zeal for holiness and his study of sacred doctrine, grant us, we pray, that we may understand what he taught and imitate what he accomplished. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas

Thanksgiving After Mass

Lord, Father all-powerful and ever-living God, I thank You, for
even though I am a sinner, your unprofitable servant, not
because of my worth but in the kindness of your mercy,
You have fed me with the Precious Body & Blood of Your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me
condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation.
May it be a helmet of faith and a shield of good will.
 May it purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions.
May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience,
and growth in the power to do good.
May it be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses,
bodily and spiritual.
May it unite me more closely to you, the One true God, and lead me
safely through death to everlasting happiness with You.
And I pray that You will lead me, a sinner, to the banquet where you,
with Your Son and holy Spirit, are true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end, and perfect
happiness to your saints. grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.



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