In declaring Fra Angelico the Patron of Catholic Artists in 1982, Pope John Paul II said: “Angelico was reported to say “He who does Christ’s work must stay with Christ always”. This motto earned him the epithet “Blessed Angelico”, because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Fra Angelico’s grave stone in the Dominican Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (
When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles. Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor. The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven. I, Giovanni, am the flower of
It has been said that “Jordan who, more than any one man after Saint Dominic himself, created the spirit of the Order, gave to it a joy and an informality in its daily life which are amongst its greatest treasures, for they enshrine and express a whole theology of religious life.”
May Blessed Jordan of Saxony pray for the Order of Preachers today and always, and grant an increase of vocations to the Dominican Family. May he stir up the hearts of young men and women, as once he did on this earth, with a fervour for Truth, to give themselves in its service in the Order of Preachers. May he clothe us, his brothers and sisters, with his zeal and passion for Christ the Word, and may he give us cause joyfully to laugh in his company for ever. Amen.
The Lord led the just in the right paths. And showed him the kingdom of God.
O God, Who does enlighten Thy Church by the wonderful learning of blessed Thomas, Thy Confessor, and makes it fruitful by his holy works; we beseech Thee, grant us both to understand what he taught and to follow his example in what he practiced.
It is evident that not all are able to labor at learning and for that reason Christ has given a short law. Everyone can know this law and no one may be excused from observing it because of ignorance. This is the law of divine love. As scripture says, The Lord will quickly execute sentence upon the earth.
This law should be the standard for all human actions. In the case of products of human manufacture, each product is considered right and good when it conforms to a standard. So also each human act is considered right and virtuous when it conforms to the standard of divine love. But when a human act does not conform to the standard of love, then it is not right, nor good, nor perfect.
This law of divine love accomplishes in a person four things that are much to be desired. First, it is the cause of one’s spiritual life. For it is evident that by the very nature of the action what is loved is in the one who loves. Therefore whoever loves God possesses God in himself; for scripture says, Whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. It is the nature of love to transform the lover into the object loved. And so if we love God, we ourselves become divinized; for again, Whoever is joined to God becomes one spirit with him. Augustine adds, “As the soul is the life of the body, so God is the life of the soul.” Thus the soul acts virtuously and perfectly when she acts through charity, and through charity God lives in her; indeed, without charity she cannot act; for scripture says, Whoever does not love, remains in death. If a person possesses all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but lacks charity, that person has no life. For it matters not whether one has the grace of tongues, or the gift of faith, or any other gift such as prophecy; these do not bring life without charity. Even if a dead body should be adorned with gold and precious jewels, it nevertheless remains dead.
The second point about charity is that it leads to the observance of the divine commandments. Gregory the Great says that charity is not idle. For charity is present if one is occupied about great things; but if one is not so occupied, charity is not present. We see a lover do great and difficult things because of the one loved, and that is why the Lord says, Whoever loves me will keep my word. Whoever keeps this command and the law of divine love fulfills the whole law. A third point about charity is that it provides protection against adversity. For misfortune cannot harm one who has charity; rather it becomes useful to that person; as scripture says, All things work for good for those who love God. Furthermore, misfortune and difficulties seem pleasant to the lover, and our own experience verifies this.
A fourth point about charity is that it truly leads to happiness, since eternal blessedness is promised only to those who have charity. For all other things are insufficient without charity. You must note that it is only the different degrees of charity, and not those of any other virtues, which constitute the different degrees of blessedness. Many of the saints were more abstemious than the apostles, but the apostles excel all the other saints in blessedness because of their higher degree of charity.
From a conference by “St. Thomas Aquinas” (Opuscula, In duo praecenta… Ed. J.P. Torrel, in Revue des Sc. Phil. Et Théol., 69, 1985, pp. 26-29.
Saint Thomas Aquinas by Joseph Pieper
Saint Thomas Aquinas by Father Bernhard Thomas Blankenhorn, OP
Various stimulating resources on Aquinas
Blessed Pope John XXIII said of Saint Martin de Porres:
Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers and with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men and because he honestly looked on them as God’s children and as his own brothers and sisters. Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself, and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was.
He did not blame others for their shortcomings. Certain that he deserved more severe punishment for his sins than others did, he would overlook their worst offenses. He was tireless in his efforts to reform the criminal, and he would sit up with the sick to bring them comfort. For the poor he would provide food, clothing and medicine. He did all he could to care for poor farmhands, blacks, and mulattoes who were looked down upon as slaves, the dregs of society in their time. Common people responded by calling him, “Martin the charitable.”
He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm laborers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: ‘Martin of Charity.’
A good overview of Saint Martin’s life can be read here.
O God, the rewarder of the humble, you raised up the blessed confessor Martin to the kingdom of heaven. May his merits and prayers help us to imitate his humility on earth that we may be exalted with him in heaven.