St. Thomas knew that all truth finds its source - and its fulfillment - in the One who is Truth Incarnate, Jesus the Christ. In this way, he was a pioneer of a New Evangelization of his own second millennium and a model for our efforts to do the same in the Third.
St. Thomas Aquinas
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - During this Year of Faith and in this time when the Catholic Church is calling upon all of the faithful to engage in a New Evangelization, the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas presents us with a model to emulate.
His story should inspire each of us to find - and then to live - our own specific vocation, in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. We should also expect that such a task will not be easy. Jesus never promised easy. It will take saints. God is in the business of making saints. All he asks of us is our willing ness to say yes to his invitations and then to persevere in our specific vocation.
Thomas Aquinas is an example of that pattern of life.He lived his life in the Lord by living it in the heart of His Church.
Born of a wealthy family and educated with the finest the Benedictines had to offer, Thomas was seemingly set on a "career path' of sorts with a foregone concusion. All, including his family, recognized his extraordinary intellectual gifts.
So, when this young man with so much promise decided to take up with mendicants, the Latin word means beggars, those Dominicans who lived on the resources of gifts given by others, he was not greeted with the support of his family.
In fact, they actually kidnapped their son away from this new band of friars who were so suspect among the established Catholics of their age. After a year of trying to dissuade him, they were no match for the young mans resolve to follow the voice of the Lord and pursue his vocation to the Dominican life.
He studied in Paris and Cologne under St. Albert the Great, a philosopher of great reputation. The entirety of Europe was caught up in a major time of intellectual ferment and change. The writings of the ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle had been reintroduced to contemporary Western thought by,, of all sources, the intellectual community of the Islamic world.
Already suspect in most circles - and accused of being "Anti-Christian" - the re-presentation of Aristotle by the Muslim intellectuals made this body of philosophical work even more of a threat to many within the Catholic Church in Thomas' day.
As he had done in choosing the way of the Dominicans, when so many thought he was to walk a different road, Thomas rejected the contemporary suspicions surrounding the allegedly contradictory nature of Aristotelian thought and orthodox Christianity. Instead he pursued it with all of his natural and supernatural gifts.
He did so because he loved, above all and everyone else, the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He loved him so much that he had a deep and intimate relationship with him. Thomas became such a great theologian because he prayed. One of the early monks of the Church, Evagrius of pontus, once wrote, "A theologian is one who prays and one who prays is a theologian."
Thomas knew that all truth finds its source - and its fulfillment - in the One who is Truth Incarnate, Jesus the Christ. In this way, he was a pioneer of a New Evangelization of his own second millennium and a model for our efforts to do the same in the Third. He was not afraid.
Thomas set about re-presenting the fullness of the Truth which is found within the Catholic faith right within the framework of Aristotelian philosophy. In other words, he used a philosophical framework from his own age to present the eternal truths of the ancient but ever new Catholic faith. That is our task as well as we embark upon what is a new missionary age for the Church!
Using his formidable intellect, sincere and profound faith and solid grounding in the Patristic sources, Thomas produced a body of work which is still the theological and philosophical equivalent of the "gold standard" in the West. His 'Summa Theologiae' became the primary theological textbook for seminarians, theologians and ordinands for centuries.
However, Thomas produced more than theology. His poetry and prose inspired some of the greatest liturgical music and piety in the Latin Rite. His holiness has been - and continues to be - the source of countless religious and lay vocations.Holiness is a fruit of an intimate and sustained relationship with the Lord.
What is needed in our own age are men and women who can, as did Thomas, take the thought of this, the Third Millennium, and use it as the framework for the essential task of building an apologetic for the New Evangelization of this age. These men and women, like Thomas, will live their lives in communion with the Lord because they pray.
On this Feast of the Great St. Thomas Aquinas, let us reflect on these words which he wrote:
"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."
By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Her canonization is an important event for Catholics and all people around the world. Here's 3 reasons why. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Mother Teresa is ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he went for the next generation with all his efforts, preaching the ... continue reading
By Catholic Online
Saint Patrick - remembered with parades, the wearing of green and feasts throughout the world wherever there are people of Irish descent, or wish to be -- was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country. ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
On Thursday Pope Francis celebrated St. Agnes' feast day in the Vatican by continuing the centuries-old tradition of blessing two lambs in her honor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Traditionally, the lambs blessed on January 21 are under a year old and their first ... continue reading
By Jennifer Hartline
St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
I was an Anglican priest the summer I met St Therese of Lisieux. I was living in England and had three months free between jobs, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was going to hitch hike and stay in monasteries and religious houses on the way. ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a ... continue reading
By Youngsun Jun
Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us! Saint Junipero Serra, your missionary zeal brought the light of Christ to millions. You endured so many hardships, and labored so much that your work resonates today in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics. Saint Serra, I ... continue reading