Monday, January 28, 2008

Thomas, the Gentle Ox

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the Church's greatest theologians, known in his day as the "Gentle Ox" because of his large stature but gentle nature. (see for an indepth look at this giant of the Church.)

A member of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) St. Thomas wrote so extensively about the Lord, about faith and reason, and much of his work is contained in the well-known "Summa Theologiae." It is recorded that near the end of his life Thomas was praying before the Crucifix and Jesus spoke to him: "Thomas, you have written well of me, what can I give you?" Thomas answered, "Give me yourself Lord: I want nothing more than you." (See photo) May we too be able to say that to the Lord: "Give me yourself Lord; I want nothing more than you."

When some of our Sisters study they begin their studies with this prayer which St. Thomas frequently recited before he dictated, wrote or preached.

"Ineffable Creator, Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom, has established three hierarchies of angels, has arrayed them in marvelous order above the fiery heavens, and has marshaled the regions of the universe with such artful skill, You are proclaimed the true font of light and wisdom and the primal origin raised high beyond all things.
Pour forth a ray of Your brightness into the darkened places of my mind; disperse from my soul the twofold darkness into which I was born - sin and ignorance.

You make eloquent the tongues of infants. Refine my speech and pour forth upon my lips the goodness of Your blessing. Grant to me keenness of mind, capacity to remember, skill in learning, subtlety to interpret and eloquence in speech. May You guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to completion. You Who are true God and true Man, Who live and reign, world without end. Amen."

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