St. Thomas Aquinas

Feastday: January 28

Death: 1274

St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of all universities and of students. His feast dayis January 28th. He was born toward the end of the year 1226. He was the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, who, when St. Thomas was five years old, placed him under the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino. His teachers were surprised at the progress he made, for he surpassed all his fellow pupils in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.

When he became of age to choose his state of life, St. Thomas renounced the things of this world and resolved to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family. In 1243, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. Some members of his family resorted to all manner of means over a two year period to break his constancy. They even went so far as to send an impure woman to tempt him. But all their efforts were in vain and St. Thomas persevered in his vocation. As a reward for his fidelity, God conferred upon him the gift of perfect chastity, which has merited for him the title of the “Angelic Doctor”.

After making his profession at Naples, he studied at Cologne under the celebrated St. Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the “dumb ox” because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was really a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.

At Paris he was honored with the friendship of the King, St. Louis, with whom he frequently dined. In 1261,Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach, but he positively declined to accept any ecclesiastical dignity. St. Thomas not only wrote (his writings filled twenty hefty tomes characterized by brilliance of thought and lucidity of language), but he preached often and with greatest fruit. Clement IV offered him the archbishopric of Naples which he also refused. He left the great monument of his learning, the “Summa Theologica”, unfinished, for on his way to the second Council of Lyons, ordered there by Gregory X, he fell sick and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.

St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.

catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2530

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TODAY’S SAINT (Jan 28) ST THOMAS AQUINAS. DOCTOR ANGELICUS. Our saint today is a giant in the world of Catholic theology. Even though his theology was not without some criticism, then and now, perhaps no theologian has received as much endorsement from the highest levels in the past 500 years as St Thomas Aquinas, the great Dominican theologian. Various popes, especially Leo XIII, promoted Thomism (the philosophy and theology of St Thomas Aquinas). His family, being of high rank, was so upset that he had joined the Dominicans that they sequestered him in a tower and tried all ways to persuade him to quit. Someone even brought into his cell a temptress and he chased her out with a fiery rod from the fireplace. He made a cross on the wall with the end of the rod, knelt and fell into ecstasy. An angel gave him a cord and he was given the grace of chastity. During his two year imprisonment, he memorized the Bible and put his mind to work. As family resistance weakened, he escaped and went back to the Dominicans. He was brilliant, but slow in speech, so that others called him a Silent Ox. But a teacher, St. Albert, said that the voice of this silent ox would one day fill the entire world. Besides being a scholar, professor and writer, he was holy. He often cried while saying Mass, inducing others to weep. He then served a 2nd Mass as an act of thanksgiving for saying his own Mass. He preached once on Good Friday and made everyone weep; he then preached on Easter and made everyone rejoice. As he walked down the steps of the pulpit, a sick woman touched his garments and was healed. Towards the end of his life, he felt all he wrote, which was voluminous and much appreciated by the Lord who appeared to tell him so, was worthless straw compared to what he had seen in ecstatic visions. He asked to be laid on a bed of ashes just before he died. He is patron of Catholic schools, universities, students, scholars, apologists, theologians, philosophers, booksellers and pencil makers. Ora pro nobis!

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