Saturday, January 28, 2012

A True "Prodigy of Science"

Ary Scheffer,  Saint 
Thomas Aquinas preaching
trust in God during 
a Tempest, 1824
In his book Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox, Chesterton contrasts writing a biography of St. Francis of Assisi with the task of chronicling the life of Aquinas. "You can make a sketch of St. Francis; you could only make a plan of St. Thomas, like the plan of a labyrinthine city." Perhaps this is because, to continue to quote Chesterton, "St. Thomas takes the view that the souls of all the ordinary hard-working and simple-minded people are quite as important as the souls of thinkers and truth-seekers, and he asks how all these people are possibly to find time for the amount of reasoning that is needed to find truth." Although he may be known for his high-minded theological treatises, Saint Thomas also left a rich legacy of letters, sermons, prayers and hymns directed to the "ordinary" souls that are just as profound in their simplicity...a legacy of "labyrinthine" proportions indeed.

Educators, students and parents of students can invoke the patronage of this great Saint with the following litany from Catholic Culture, as can pencil makers and victims of lightning strike (his sister died of lightning strike while he was sleeping in the same room), who also fall under his patronage:


Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. 
God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us. God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us. 
Holy Mary, Pray for us. Glorious Mother of the King of kings, Pray for us. Saint Thomas of Aquin, Pray for us. Worthy child of the Queen of Virgins, Pray for us. St. Thomas most chaste, Pray for us. St. Thomas most patient, Pray for us. Prodigy of science, Pray for us. Silently eloquent, Pray for us. Reproach of the ambitious, Pray for us. Lover of that life which is hidden with Christ in God, Pray for us. Fragrant flower in the parterre of Saint Dominic, Pray for us. Glory of the Friars Preachers, Pray for us. Illumined from on high, Pray for us. Angel of the Schools, Pray for us. Oracle of the Church, Pray for us. Incomparable scribe of the Man-God, Pray for us. Satiated with the odor of His perfumes, Pray for us. Perfect in the school of His Cross, Pray for us. Intoxicated with the strong wine of His charity, Pray for us. Glittering gem in the cabinet of the Lord, Pray for us. Model of perfect obedience, Pray for us. Endowed with the true spirit of holy poverty, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.
Antiphon: Oh, how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory, for the memory thereof is immortal, because it is known with God and man, and it triumpheth crowned forever. 

V. What have I in heaven, or what do I desire on earth! R. That art the God of my heart, and my portion forever.
Let us pray. O God, Who past ordained that blessed Thomas should enlighten Thy Church, grant that through his prayers we may practice what he taught. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.


And let us not forget the beautiful hymns and prayers written by St. Thomas, which include Sacris solemniis, Verbum supernum prodiens, Pangue lingua gloriosi and Adoro te devote, which, to our mind, stand alongside the Angelic Doctor's theological writings as some of the most precious treasures of the Church. The prayers before and after Communion are especially beautiful:

Prayer before Communion

Almighty and ever-living God, I approach the sacrament of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  I come sick to the doctor of life, unclean to the fountain of mercy, blind to the radiance of eternal light, and poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.  Lord, in your great generosity, heal my sickness, wash away my defilement, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness.

May I receive the bread of angels, the King of kings and Lord of lords, with humble reverence, with the purity and faith, the repentance and love, and the determined purpose that will help to bring me to salvation.  May I receive the sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, and its reality and power.
Kind God, may I receive the Body of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born from the womb of the Virgin Mary, and so be received into His mystical Body and numbered among his members.  Loving Father, as on my earthly pilgrimage I now receive your beloved Son, under the veil of a sacrament, may I one day see Him Face to face in glory, who lives and reigns with You for ever.


Prayer after Communion

Lord, Father all-powerful and ever-living God, I thank You, for even though I am a sinner, your unprofitable servant, not because of my worth but in the kindness of your mercy, You have fed me with the precious Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation.
May It be a helmet of faith and a shield of good will.  May It purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions.
May It bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in the power to do good.
May It be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual.
May It unite me more closely to You, the one true God, and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with You.
And I pray that You will lead me, a sinner, to the banquet where You, with your Son and Holy Spirit, are true and perfect light, total fulfillment,
everlasting joy, gladness without end, and perfect happiness to your saints.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, Pray For Us!

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