Tag Archives: St Thomas Aquinas

St Thomas Aquinas

Today, 28 January, on the Novus Ordo calendar, is the liturgical memorial of Saint Thomas of Aquino, priest of the Order of Preachers and Doctor of the Church. The young Thomas was educated as a Benedictine Oblate by the monks at the venerable abbey at Monte Cassino. Despite his family’s opposition, he joined the newly founded Dominicans and studied under St Albert the Great. He is known to have been gifted by God with significant gifts of intellect. Aquinas was known as the Doctor Communis and the Doctor Angelicus.

The Doctor Communis is recalled by many for his Summa Theologiae. This work is prefaced as an “instruction for beginners,” written not for the smartest of the students at Paris, but for the average Dominican friar. I am trying to imagine what a work for the smartest would look like. Among his other accomplishments he was invited by Blessed Pope Gregory X to participate in the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyon; Aquinas died on 7 March 1274 while making the journey in the Cistercian Abbey Fossanova in Lazio, while giving a commentary on the Song of Songs. On this day his body was translated to Toulouse.

You may be interested in reading GK Chesterton’s 1932 essay, “St. Thomas Aquinas,” in The Spectator, which led to his book on the friar saint.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Second Reading from Office of St. Thomas Aquinas
From a conference by Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest
The Cross exemplifies every virtue

AquinasWhy did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.
It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.
If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.

If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great. In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.

If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.

If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous.

If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Upon the cross he was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink.
Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because they divided my garments among themselves. Nor to honours, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings. Nor to greatness of rank, for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head. Nor to anything delightful, for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Is anger sinful?

St. John Chrysostom

“Only the person who becomes irate without reason, sins. Whoever becomes irate for a just reason is not guilty. Because, if ire were lacking, the science of God would not progress, judgments would not be sound, and crimes would not be repressed.

Further, the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices: it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily XI super Matheum, 1c, nt.7)

St. Thomas Aquinas

“Ire may be understood in two ways.

In one way, as a simple movement of the will that inflicts punishment not through passion, but by virtue of a judgment of the reason: and in this case, without a doubt, lack of ire is a sin. This is how Chrysostom understands ire when he says: ‘Ire, when it has a cause, is not ire but judgment. For properly speaking, ire is a movement of passion. And when a man is irate with just cause, his ire does not derive from passion. Rather, it is an act of judgment, not of ire.”

In another way, ire can be understood as a movement of the sensitive appetite agitated by passion with bodily excitation. This movement is a necessary sequel in man to the previous movement of his will, since the lower appetite naturally follows the movement of the higher appetite unless some obstacle prevents it. Hence the movement of ire in the sensitive appetite cannot be lacking altogether, unless the movement of the will is altogether lacking or weak. Consequently, the lack of the passion of ire is also a vice, as it is the lack of movement in the will to punish according to the judgment of reason.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II, II, q. 158, art. 8)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Peter Paul Rubens 'Defenders of the Eucharist'The Church in the Ordinary Form gives us for today the feast of the great Dominican saint and theologian Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. He stands head and shoulders over all of our thinkers.

Saint Thomas’ great love passed down to us is the Holy Eucharist. Aquinas wrote many Eucharistic hymns especially for the Feast of Corpus Christi, whose observance had been urged by the Premonstratensian canoness Saint Juliana of Liege.

In this image by Peter Paul Rubens, the ‘Defenders of the Eucharist’ we have Saint Thomas with Saints Augustine and Norbert.

 

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Blessed feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas!

Aquinas prayer

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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