Monday, March 7, 2011

St Thomas Aquinas

March 7 is the feast of St Thomas Aquinas in the traditional calendar (it's January 28 in the new calendar). 

Let's be blunt.  St Thomas can appear a bit off-putting at first sight.  The man who produced the monumental Summa Theologica.  A man raised above earthly passions, always calm and logical.  Admirable, of course, but not attractive. 

Perhaps we can seek to humanize him.  Born of an aristocratic family of knights in the middle of the middle ages, he was a classic absent minded professor.  Invited to a feast by the king, he sat unmoved through the glittering occasion, the exquisite food, beautiful music, breathtaking jugglers, magnificent robes … Ignoring these delights, he meditated on a knotty philosophical problem until he had worked it out. 

(The pattern persists, of course.  A scientist sat silent all through a dinner with distinguished foreign guests.  Afterwards, washing the dishes with his wife, he announced the secret.  “I have solved the heat transfer problem!” And went on to win a Nobel Prize.) 

All this is true but it’s not the whole truth.  The central truth about today's saint is that he was also a passionate man of prayer.  Yes, during the day he used his left brain to meditate on the Faith.  And in the evening, he would pray passionately about these truths into the early morning.  A great saint, his sole desire was to know and follow Christ.  

St Thomas, pray for us. 

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