Friday, March 07, 2014

St Thomas Aquinas

The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
March 7 is the Feast Day of Dearest Saint Thomas Aquinas! Patron Saint of Students, the Angelic Doctor

The patron of all scientists, St Albertus Magnus (St Albert the Great) once said this of St Thomas Aquinas, 

"We call Br. Thomas the Dumb Ox! But I tell you that one day he will make his bellowing (loud voice), heard through the whole world!"

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
Here's a little more about St. Thomas Aquinas:
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
St. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225, in the Castle of Rocca Secca, high up in the mountains near the town of Aquinas, in Italy. His Father was Count of Aquinas and his Mother was Countess.
Before St. Thomas was born, a holy hermit known as Buono, went to the Castle of Rocca Secca and made a great prophecy to his Mother. While speaking to the Countess he pointed to a picture of St. Dominic, saying, "Lady be glad, for you are about to have a son whom you will call Thomas. You and your husband will think of making him a monk in the Abbey of Mount Cassino (Benedictines), where lies the founder, St. Benedict, in the hopes that your son will attain to its honours and wealth. But God has disposed otherwise, because he will become a Friar of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). And so great will be his learning and sanctity, that there will not be found in the whole world, another person like him!"

Countess Theodora was amazed at the prophecy and falling on her knees exclaimed, "I am most unworthy of bearing such a son, but God's will be done according to His good pleasure!"

A few miles to the south of Rocca Secca, stands the Abbey of Mount Cassino. From the age of five to about the age of thirteen, Thomas went to school there. The Benedictine Monks liked his modest, sweet and gentle nature. They realized that Thomas had special talents and virtues, and encouraged his Father to send him to University.
Thomas was brought home from Mount Cassino for a short vacation, before going to University. At home Thomas did not become spoiled, because the Monks had trained him well. He remained the same gentle boy: serious, studious, and prayerful. His greatest delight was to give alms to the poor. He even gave his own food to the poor! The Countess feared that Thomas might loose his innocence at University but his Father thought differently, and sent him to the University of Naples. His only joy was study and prayer. He really wanted to become a saint and longed to give himself more completely to God. Gradually the desire grew in his heart, to join the Dominicans. As soon the Count heard about his son's plans, he commanded Thomas to put the idea out of his head. But Thomas had his mind made up to do the Holy Will of God, so one day when he was seventeen, he took the habit in the Dominican Monastery of Naples.

His Mother used tears, promises and threats, to make her son leave the Dominicans but Thomas had made up his mind to remain in the Order. He was then imprisoned in one of the castle towers, where he had to suffer cold and hunger, and had to do without many things. Thomas was kept a prisoner for over one year, and during this time, he memorized the whole Bible as well as the four books of the "Sentences", (Theological textbook of the time).

When Thomas' two brothers came home from the army, they decided to teach their brother a lesson. They sent an evil woman into the tower to tempt him towards sin! But Thomas grabbed a piece of burning wood from the fireplace, and drove the wicked woman from the tower. He then traced a cross upon the wall with the burning wood and kneeling down, begged God to grant him the gift of Purity until his death. Suddenly, Thomas went into ecstasy! Two Angels appeared and tied a cord tightly around his waist saying, "We have come from God to give you this cord of Chastity and God has heard your prayer. God has granted you the gift of Purity until your death!" This cord, which was worn by St. Thomas until his death, is now kept as a relic, in the Monastery of Chieri in Piedmont, Italy.

After a year or two passed, the Pope and Emperor learned about Thomas. They were very displeased at the way he had been treated. At last the Countess became more merciful. The Dominicans came to rescue Thomas, and one of his sisters helped him to escape by letting him down in a basket, from the tower. In 1244, the General of the Dominican Order took Thomas to Cologne, Germany, where St. Albert Magnus was teaching. Thomas gave full attention to his studies, seeking to learn all he could for the greater honour and glory of God. He even went without sleep, in order to have more time to study his books. Because of his humility, St. Thomas hid his learning from others. But one day St. Albert found a paper that Thomas had written, explaining the answer to a very difficult question. The next day, Albert asked Thomas some questions in public and then exclaimed, "We call Br. Thomas the Dumb Ox! But I tell you that one day he will make his bellowing (loud voice), heard through the whole world!" In 1245, St. Albert went to the University of Paris, to obtain the Degree of Doctor, taking St. Thomas along as his companion. They set out on foot and in time reached the Dominican Monastery of St. James, in Paris. Here, St. Thomas became the model of the whole Monastery because of his deep Humility, his Spirit of Prayer, his perfect Obedience, and his great Charity. Heavenly grace glowed from St. Thomas, and some said they only had to look at him to become more fervent!

In Paris, St. Thomas met another holy monk known now as St. Bonaventure, who was a Franciscan. They studied together for three years and became the closest of friends. They both obtained the Degree of Bachelor of Theology in 1248.In November 1248, Albert went back to Cologne and took St. Thomas with him.

Thomas became a teacher under the direction of St. Albert, and the new school in Cologne soon overflowed with students. Thomas always used these five basic ideals, when he was teaching; (1) Clearness (2) Brevity {Short} (3) Utility {Useful} (4) Sweetness (5) Maturity {Complete}.

Soon after his return to Cologne, Thomas became a priest. He became yet closer to the good God, and spent many hours of the day and night, praying in Church. He loved God so much, that he would shed many tears while saying Holy Mass. In 1252, St. Thomas was ordered by the General Chapter (special meeting) to go to Paris to obtain his degree as a Doctor. In those days, one had to be at least thirty-five to teach Theology, but his learning was so extraordinary, that he was allowed to be a Professor at twenty-five. When he was in Paris, his success in teaching was so great, that crowds of people came to the Monastery of St. James to hear him. Later on St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were asked to defend the truths of the Faith in the Papal Courts, because someone had written a heretical book. They were victorious and on October 23, 1257, both monks received their Doctor's degree.St. Thomas taught in Rome for a while and in 1269, he went to Paris to teach. 

At the time, here was a disagreement among the Doctors at the University, about the Holy Eucharist. They presented their questions to Thomas. After praying for a long time about the question, he wrote his opinion on paper. In great Humility he brought it to the Church and laid it on the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament. Thomas then prayed, "Lord Jesus, Who art truly present and who works wonders in the adorable Sacrament, I beg Thee, if I have written the truth, please enable me to teach it. But if some of the things I have written are not true, then please do not allow me to talk about it."Then the Monks who were watching, saw Our Lord Himself come down and stand upon the written paper, They heard Jesus say these words: "Thomas, thou hast written well concerning the Sacrament of My Body." St. Thomas suddenly went into ecstasy! His soul was filled with joy and he floated in the air, eighteen inches above the ground! 

In 1271, St. Thomas returned to Italy and began to teach in Rome. During the following Holy Week he preached in St. Peter's on the Passion of Our Lord, and those who heard him were moved to tears, and cried until Easter Sunday. And at Easter, a miracle took place when a sick woman kissed the hem of his mantle, and was immediately cured! The whole soul of St. Thomas was filled with love for the Holy Eucharist. He only wanted God, and one day as he was praying at Naples after he had finished writing the first part of the Summa, Jesus spoke from the Crucifix: "Thou hast written well of me, what recompense dost thou desire?" Thomas humbly answered, "None other than Thyself, O Lord." He wished to continue having Our Lord, as his greatest love forever! One of his fellow Dominican's once asked him, what he considered to be the greatest gift that God had given him after Sanctifying grace itself. After a few moments St. Thomas replied: "I think that of having understood whatever I have read." He had an ability to remember all that he heard, so that his mind was like a well stocked library. On December 6, 1273, St. Thomas stopped writing. That day while saying Mass, he went into ecstasy and received a revelation. Fr. Reginald urged Thomas to continue to write, but he replied, "The end of my labours is come. All that I have written appears to me as so much straw, after the secrets that have been revealed to me! I hope in the Mercy of God that the end of my life may soon follow the end of my labours." He wanted to give himself entirely to God and prayer. St. Thomas was suffering from some illness, when he was ordered by Pope Gregory X to attend the General Council at Lyons, France. The purpose of the Council was to unite the Greek and Latin Churches. So on January 28, 1274, Thomas set out with some of his Dominican Brothers. On the way his condition became much worse, and he was taken to the home of his niece. However, the Cistercian Monks of Fossa Nuova urged Thomas to come to their Monastery. Upon arrival at the Monastery, St. Thomas went straight to the Church, to adore Jesus. Thomas was very ill for a month. During this time, the monks were very kind to him. There was no hope for the holy monk to get better, so he made his General Confession. He then received the Last Rites and when Holy Communion was brought to him, tears came to his eyes as he made this Profession of Faith. "I firmly believe Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament. I receive Thee the price of my Redemption, for whose love I have watched, studied and laboured, preached and taught." He died a little after midnight March 7, 1274.

The things that we love tell us what we are.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
The teaching in philosophy and theology as developed by St. Thomas Aquinas is called Thomism. His philosophy is known as Scholastic philosophy. St. Thomas had a special talent for bringing together human knowledge from the best of sources that had gone before him. Using human reason, this saint helped the Church come to profound conclusions as to understanding in greater depth the true faith of the Church. He teaches us all this necessity to love the truth, to seek it and to put it into practices. Holiness in the mind of St. Thomas was nothing other than the love of God put into practice. In other words, the living out of the reality or truth that we have to come to learn. While faith is a free gift of God, nevertheless faith and reason are two different ways of realizing the knowledge of truth. By using reasoning correctly, we can arrive at a greater understanding of the true faith given us by God. St. Without a correct use of reason, such as shown us by St. Thomas Aquinas, members of the Church can become confused as to what is true faith. Thomas Aquinas did much for the Church, and his work is still of great value today. The authority of the Church exercised by Popes and Church Councils has repeatedly stated that the clear principles of St. Thomas, which give us a solid grasp of both faith and reality, should be what guides us in the education and formation of students.

A short video: of a beautiful plan (which is on it's way to fruition), a beautiful Seminary.

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.

-Saint Thomas Aquinas

A Prayer to Obtain the Grace of a Devout Life by Sancte Thomas Aquinas

A Prayer to Obtain the Grace of A Devout Life

Grant me, O merciful God, to desire eagerly, to investigate prudently, to acknowledge sincerely, and to fulfil perfectly those things that are pleasing to Thee, to the praise and glory of Thy holy Name.

Do Thou, my God, order my life; and grant that I may know what Thou wilt have me to do; and give me to fulfil it as is fitting and profitable to my soul.

Grant me, O Lord, my God, the grace not to faint either in prosperity or adversity, that I be not unduly lifted up by the one, nor unduly cast down by the other. Let me neither rejoice nor grieve at anything, save what either leads to Thee or leads away from Thee. Let me not desire to please anyone, nor fear to displease anyone save only Thee.

Let all things that pass away seem vile in my eyes, and let all things that are eternal be dear to me. Let me tire of that joy which is without Thee, neither permit me to desire anything that is outside Thee. Let me find joy in labour that is for Thee; and let all repose that is without Thee be tiresome to me.

Give me, my God, the grace to direct my heart towards Thee, and to grieve contiually at my failures, together with a firm purpose of amendment.

O Lord, my God, make me obedient without gainsaying, poor without despondency, chaste without stain, patient without murmuring, humble without pretense, cheerful without dissipation, serious without undue heaviness, active without instability, fearful of Thee without abjectness, truthgul without double-dealing, devoted to good works without presumption, ready to correct my neighbour without arrogance, and to edify him by word and example, without hypocrisy.

Give me, Lord God, a watchful heart which shall be distracted from Thee by no vain thoughts; give me a generous heart which shall not be drawn downward by any unworthy affection; give me an upright heart which shall not be led astray by any perverse intention; give me a stout heart which shall not be crushed by any hardship; give me a free heart which shall not be claimed as its own by any unregulated affection.

Bestow upon me, O Lord my God, an understanding that knows Thee, diligence in seeking Thee, wisdom in finding Thee, a way of life that is pleasing to Thee, perseverance that faithfully waits for Thee, and confidence that I shall embrace Thee at the last. Grant that I may be chastised here by penance, that I may make good use of Thy gifts in this life by Thy grace, and that I may partake of Thy joys in the glory of heaven: Who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

(St. Thomas Aquinas)

An indulgence of 3 years once a day.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, provided that the daily recitation of this prayer be continued for a month (S.C. Ind., Jan.17, 1888; S.P.Ap., July 31,1936).

Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, Commentary, I Metaphysics, lect. 3
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls;
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)
Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home