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Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

January 28

St. Thomas Aquinas

St Thomas Aquinas

Tempera on wood
Collezione Vittorio Cini, Venice


Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor of the Church

Saint Thomas Aquinas,
Priest & Doctor of the Church
January 28th

Benozzo Gozzoli
Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas
1471 — Tempera on panel
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Adoremus Hymnal

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was educated at the Abbey of Monte Cassino and at the University of Naples. In 1244 he joined the Dominican Order. Considered one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of all time, St. Thoms gained the title of “Angelic Doctor”. He had an undisputed mastery of scholastic theology and a profound holiness oflife. Pope Leo XIII declared him Patron of Catholic Schools. His monumental work, the Summa Theologica, wasstill unfinished when he died.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003


O God, who made Saint Thomas Aquinas
outstanding in his zeal for holiness
and his study of sacred doctrine,
grant us, we pray,
that we may understand what he taught
and imitate what he accomplished.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Wisdom 7:7-10,15-16
Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepters and thrones,
and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
I loved her more than health and beauty,
and I chose to have her rather than light,
because her radiance never ceases.

May God grant that I speak with judgment
and have thought worthy of what I have received,
for He is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise.
For both we and our words are in His hand,
as are all understanding and skill in crafts.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:8-12
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


Sweetest Jesus,
Body and Blood most Holy,
be the delight and pleasure of my soul,
my strength and salvation in all temptations,
my joy and peace in every trial,
my light and guide in every word and deed,
and my final protection in death. Amen

St. Thomas Aquinas
The Aquinas Prayer Book, Sophia Institute Press,

Prayer of Saint Thomas Aquinas:
“Ad Sacrosanctum Sacramentum”

O sacred banquet at which
Christ is consumed,
The memory of His Passion recalled,
our soul filled with grace,
and our pledge of future glory received:

How delightful, Lord, is Your spirit,
which shows Your sweetness to men,
offers the precious bread of heaven,
fills the hungry with good things,
and sends away empty the scornful rich.

V. You have given them bread from heaven.
R. A bread having all sweetness within it.

Let us pray:

God, Who left for us a memorial of Your Passion in this miraculous sacrament, Grant we implore You, that we may venerate the holy mystery of Your Body and Blood, so that we may ever experience in ourselves the fruitfulness of Your redemption.
You who life and reign, world without end. Amen.

(Translation from The Aquinas Prayer Book, Sophia Institute Press)

Whether Christ Changed the Role of Woman by Elizabeth Ruth Cheffers –The assignment required following the format of the great 13th century Dominican scholastic theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas. In his Summa theologica, this form included the question (Utrum… – whether…), the objections, the body of the argument (Sed contra – on the contrary), answering the objections (Respondeo dicendum), and conclusion – the form followed in this essay. Pentecost 2002, winning young writer’s essay.

Link to The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas – http://www.newadvent.org/summa/

Related Links of the Vatican Website: 1) Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, June 2, 2010 on Saint Thomas Aquinas http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100602_en.html

2) Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, June 16, 2010 on Saint Thomas Aquinas http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100616_en.html

3) Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, June 23, 2010 on Saint Thomas Aquinas http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100623_en.html


Information: St. Thomas Aquinas

Feast Day: January 28

Born: 1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy

Died: 7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy

Canonized: July 18, 1323, Avignon, France

Major Shrine: Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France

Patron of: Catholic universities, colleges, and schools

memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor

St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Camas, WA



Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Thomas Aquinas

Feast Day: January 28
Born:1225 :: Died:1274

Thomas was the son of the Count of Aquino and was born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples, Italy. . Thomas was one of nine children and was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.

His parents hoped that he would become a Benedictine abbot some day. The family castle was in Rocca Secca, just north of Monte Cassino where the monks lived. Thomas was sent to the abbey for schooling when he was five and he was educated by the Benedictine monks there. When he was eighteen, he went to the University of Naples to finish his studies.

There he met a new group of religious men called the Order of Preachers. Their founder, St. Dominic, was still living. Thomas knew he wanted to become a priest and felt that he was called to join these men. So he secretly joined the Dominican order in 1244.

His parents were angry with him. When he was on his way to Paris to study, his brothers kidnapped him and kept him a prisoner in one of their castles for over a year. During that time, they did all they could to make him change his mind.

One of his sisters, too, came to convince him to give up his vocation. But Thomas spoke so beautifully about the joy of serving God that she changed her mind. She decided to give her life to God as a nun. After fifteen months, Thomas was finally allowed to follow his call.

St. Thomas wrote so well about God that people all over the world have used his books for hundreds of years. His explanations about God and the faith came from Thomas’ great love for God. He writings touched the hearts of people because he was not trying to impress anyone. He just wanted with all his heart to offer the gift of his life to Jesus and the Church.

St. Thomas is one of the greatest Doctors of the Church and is considered the universal patron of universities, colleges, and schools.

Around the end of 1273, Pope Gregory X asked Thomas to be part of an important Church meeting called the Council of Lyons. While traveling to the meeting, Thomas became ill. He had to stop at a monastery at Fossanova, Italy, where he died. It was March 7, 1274. He was only forty-nine.


The Apotheosis of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Francisco de Zurbarán


The Last Judgment

Master of the Bambino Vispo

Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany



Wednesday, January 28

Liturgical Color: White

On this day in 1547, Henry VIII, King of
England died. His refusal to accept the
Church’s teaching on divorce led him to
break England away from the Church. Those
who remained faithful to the Catholic
Church, such as St. Thomas More, were


Catholic Spiritual Direction.com

Christ and the Confidence that Comes From the Holy Spirit

January 28, 2015 by Anthony Lilles

Christ and the Confidence that Comes from the Holy Spirit

Christ baptizes in the power of the Holy Spirit and his fire animates the Christian life with hope.  The Holy Spirit who moved over the waters of creation, who overshadowed the Virgin Mary, who descended on Christ at his Baptism, who carried the Crucified’s last wordless cry for our sake from the depths of His heart and into the Heart of the Father, who animates the Risen Body of Christ and who burns in the hearts of the apostles and the martyrs; He is the source of a hope so great no power in the heavens above or on the earth below can overcome it.

This hope conceived by the Holy Spirit makes sense of all the questions that riddle the effort to really live. It spouts in the face that restless longing which can find no lasting peace in this world.  It rises against the burden of guilt that weighs down in shackles of all kinds of self preoccupation and escapism.  It stands firm before the doom of death which hangs over all that is good, noble and true in frail humanity.  This hope is rooted in the truth about the mystery of man because it is rooted in the mystery of the Son of God become the son of Mary.  He who freely gave Himself for our sake reveals the truth about human dignity and the greatness of the calling with which it is entrusted.

The primordial riddles running through this present moment are all of them answered anew by the risen presence of Word made Flesh who is the source of the Holy Spirit.  The Fire of God, who is the Light that shines in our darkness communicates and produces a superhuman confidence which does not fear conversion. The soil of our humanity is cultivated with supernatural power and our mortal existence made to flower with the fruit of divine life.

Christ was born in the flesh so that we might born in the Holy Spirit to live life to the full.   The Fountain of Life from whom the Lord and Giver of Life flows, He longs for the Father’s work of love begun in us to be brought to completion.  His Spirit-baptizing presence–born into our lowliness, crucified by our misery, and raising our humanity on high by the power of God–mysteriously opens up the freedom needed to fully give one’s life as a gift to God, to fill every moment of it with as much love as possible.

Trials, hardship, persecutions, renunciations, temptations, and sacrifices only extend and deepen the unfolding frontiers of this holy freedom, this fullness of life, this life lived by love.  Such is the invincible God-given confidence of the baptized.  They who have received the Gift of the Holy Spirit are continually invited to manifest this supernatural trust in God in ever more profound ways even in the face of death itself. When they welcome the Holy Spirit and obediently avail themselves to the work He accomplishes in them, they become living signs of what total trust in the Lord’s presence can do and they bear witness that not even death can steal the life that is given for the sake of God.


Catholic Culture


Daily Readings for:January 28, 2015
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who made Saint Thomas Aquinas outstanding in his zeal for holiness and his study of sacred doctrine, grant us, we pray, that we may understand what he taught and imitate what he accomplished. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


o    Risotto alla Milanese

o    Brodo Apostolorum

o    Cappelletti all’uso di Romagna

o    Crown Cake

o    Genoise Book Cake

o    German Cinnamon Stars

o    Lamb Cake

o    Little Hats Cappelletti

o    Mostarda di Cremona

o    Nameday Sugar Cookies

o    Overnight Basic Italian

o    Panettone

o    Pasticcio di Polenta

o    Polenta

o    Ship Cake

o    Star-Studded Chiffon Pie

o    Symbolic Pastries

o    Vegetable Soup with Rice


o    Eucharist Hymn: Adoro Te Devote – Hidden God

o    Eucharist Hymn: Pange Lingua

o    Eucharist Hymn: Sacris Solemniis – At This Our Solemn Feast

o    Eucharist Hymn: Tantum Ergo – Down in Adoration Falling

o    Eucharist Hymn: Verbum Supernum – The Word of God

o    Nameday Celebration Prayers and Ideas for Saint Thomas

o    Practical Suggestions for Christian Living (Matrimony)


o    Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas for Schools

o    Prayer to the Angel of Schools

o    Litany of St. Thomas Aquinas

o    Novena for Purification


o    Saint Thomas Aquinas (2) | Pope Benedict XVI

o    Saint Thomas Aquinas (3) | Pope Benedict XVI

o    Saint Thomas Aquinas | Pope Benedict XVI

o    Studiorum Ducem (On St. Thomas Aquinas) | Pope Pius XI

o    The Meaning of Virtue in St. Thomas Aquinas | Fr. John A. Hardon S.J.

o    The Philosophy of Woman of St. Thomas Aquinas | Kristin M. Popik

o    The Teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas in Regard To the Apostles | Nicholas Halligan O.P.

o    Thomas and the Experience of God | Fr. Inos Biffi

o    Thomas Aquinas: a Doctor for the Ages | Romanus Cessario

o    Thomas Aquinas: the Angelic Doctor | Sal Ciresi

  • Ordinary Time: January 28th
  • Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor

Old Calendar: St. Peter Nolasco, confessor

St. Thomas Aquinas is the Dominican order’s greatest glory. He taught philosophy and theology with such genius that he is considered one of the leading Christian thinkers. His innocence, on a par with his genius, earned for him the title of “Angelic Doctor.”

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, St. Thomas’ feast was celebrated on March 7.

Today is the feast of St. Peter Nolasco, who was born in southern France. After the death of his wealthy parents, he spent his inheritance in Barcelona to rescue Christians enslaved by the Moors. He formed a lay confraternity, which later developed into the religious order of the Mercedarians, and led his fellow workers into Moorish territory to purchase the freedom of Christian captives, and to make numerous conversions among the non-Christians. Later Peter’s Mercedarians labored among the Indians of the far-flung Spanish American Empire.

St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. At the Council of Trent it was consulted after the Bible.

To a deeply speculative mind, he joined a remarkable life of prayer, a precious memento of which has been left to us in the Office of Corpus Christi. Reputed as great already in life, he nevertheless remained modest, a perfect model of childlike simplicity and goodness. He was mild in word and kind in deed. He believed everyone was as innocent as he himself was. When someone sinned through weakness, Thomas bemoaned the sin as if it were his own. The goodness of his heart shone in his face, no one could look upon him and remain disconsolate. How he suffered with the poor and the needy was most inspiring. Whatever clothing or other items he could give away, he gladly did. He kept nothing superfluous in his efforts to alleviate the needs of others.

After he died his lifelong companion and confessor testified, “I have always known him to be as innocent as a five-year-old child. Never did a carnal temptation soil his soul, never did he consent to a mortal sin.” He cherished a most tender devotion to St. Agnes, constantly carrying relics of this virgin martyr on his person. He died in 1274, at the age of fifty, in the abbey of Fossa Nuova. He is the patron saint of schools and of sacred theology.

— Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo.

Symbols: Chalice; monstrance; ox; star; sun; teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet; teaching.

Things to do:

  • Read G.K. Chesterton’s biography, St. Thomas Aquinas, The Dumb Ox, which is full of Chestertonian profundity and wit online or purchase it from Amazon.
  • Dive into the intellectual depth and beauty of St. Thomas’ thought in his Summa Theologiae. Familiarize yourself with his method of inquiry by reading his section on God’s attributes, especially the goodness of God. Here is a Bibliography in English.
  • Nearly everyone, especially young people, knows and appreciates the story of St. Thomas chasing the prostitute from his room with a burning log. (She was sent by his wealthy family to tempt him away from the religious life.) After he drove away the temptress, two angels came to him and fastened a mystical chastity cord around his waist. Buy or fashion your own chastity belt, easy to make from braided yarn or thin, soft rope. (St. Joseph chastity belts are available at some Catholic shops.) This would be a beautiful alternative or addition to the “True Love Waits” chastity pledge and ring. It is a wonderful low-key symbol for self-conscious teens. It also serves as an excellent reminder to pray daily for the virtue of chastity.
  • Meditate upon the profound humility of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose intellectual capacity far surpasses any since his time. He stopped writing at the end of his life after having a vision of the glory of God, claiming that ‘All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.’ How often do we take pride in our own intellectual achievements, fully crediting them to ourselves?
  • If you are a student or teacher, or at all concerned about the crisis of Catholic education, make ample use of the Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas for Schools and the Prayer to the Angel of Schools.
  • Read Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Aeterni Patris, strangely relevant to our time in its exhortation towards a renewal in philosophical study with a focus on the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas.
  • Finally, read Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Fides et Ratio, especially the section on The enduring originality of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. He expresses a similar intent to that of Pope Leo XIII’s in the following words, “If it has been necessary from time to time to intervene on this question, to reiterate the value of the Angelic Doctor’s insights and insist on the study of his thought, this has been because the Magisterium’s directives have not always been followed with the readiness one would wish.”
  • From the Catholic Culture library: Light from Aquinas , The Meaning of Virtue in St. Thomas Aquinas and The Philosophy of Woman of St. Thomas Aquinas. For many more documents search the library for “aquinas”.

St. Peter Nolasco
One night while Peter Nolasco was praying, the Blessed Virgin appeared (1228) and told him how greatly pleased she and her divine Son would be if a religious order were established in her honor for the express purpose of delivering Christians held in bondage by the infidels. In compliance with her wish, Peter, together with St. Raymond of Penafort and James I, King of Aragon, founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the ransom of captives. Besides the usual vows, all members were required to take a fourth, one by which they bound themselves to become captives of the pagans, if necessary, to effect the emancipation of Christians.

On one occasion Peter Nolasco ransomed 400 at Valencia and Granada; twice he traveled to Africa as “the Ransomer,” not without peril to his own life; and records show that through his personal efforts a total of 890 Christians regained their liberty. He died with these words from Psalm 110 on his lips: The Lord has sent redemption to His people.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Things to Do:


The Word Among Us

Meditation: Mark 4:1-20

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

The sower sows the word. (Mark 4:14)

Perhaps when you read or hear this parable, you focus on the different kinds of soils, or the environments on which the seeds fall. Maybe you even wonder which one of these soils best fits you, and you hope that you are like the good soil that produces abundantly. But how about seeing yourself as the sower instead? Maybe it’s worth considering how much God may want you to sow the seed of his word.

If there is one word that characterizes the sower in this parable, it is generous. This fellow spreads his seeds everywhere. He doesn’t seem all that concerned about where the seed will fall. He simply casts it to and fro.

Isn’t this a great image for how we should view evangelization? Shouldn’t we be generous, almost indiscriminate, in the way we share God’s word and his promises? We really shouldn’t worry about where the seeds may fall or the “soil quality” of those with whom we share the word. Whether, in our judgment, the ground is hard, weedy, thorny, or fertile shouldn’t matter. After all, it is the Lord who gives the growth, not us (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). All we have to worry about is sowing as generously as we can.

Think for a moment how many other seeds the world, the flesh, and the devil are sowing all around us. There’s nothing stingy in their tactics. How much more, then, should we counter all these poisonous seeds with the seeds of the gospel! The need is great, so don’t be intimidated! And by all means, don’t feel defeated or outnumbered! God has promised to be with you always as you spread his word.

So how are you going to sow today? What opportunities will you seize to spread the seeds of the gospel? They’re all around, after all. Keep your eyes open, as you ask the Lord to help you see ways you can creatively witness to his love. Who knows? He may even give you brothers and sisters in Christ who are just as zealous as you to proclaim the word, in season and out!

“Lord Jesus, make me a generous evangelizer and sower of your word in all kinds of soil. Fill me with zeal and courage to go forth and spread your seeds all over the world!”

Hebrews 10:11-18
Psalm 110:1-4


Marriage=One Man and One Woman ‘Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for January 28, 2015:

Perhaps your children are grown and it’s just the two of you again. Has your attention to each other grown stale or routine? Take up a new hobby, sport, or volunteer effort together.


Regnum Christi

Fertile Ground for the Harvest
January 28, 2015. Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Mark 4:1-20

On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that ´they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.´” Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Introductory Prayer:  Lord, I want to spend these moments close to you. I believe that you are here with me. Take over my life more and more and make it what it was meant to be. Lord, I put my trust in you.

Petition: Jesus, make the soil of my heart open to your word, so that it will bear fruit for eternal life.

1.A Sabotaged Plan:What the Father has planted in our lives is good. Goodness can bear fruit. But Christ has shown us that there is someone who does not want us to bear fruit. The devil tries to take goodness from our lives through enticing us with evil, filling our hearts with selfishness, and making us insensitive to the movements of grace in our soul. We need to renounce Satan every day by fixing our will on the goodness of Christ. This is done through sincere prayer and generosity of spirit.

2.Make Your Furrows Deep: The strength of our resolve is tested by the difficulties we face. If we go deeper in our prayer each day and build up the habit of letting go of our own ego, we can face the bad times with peace and trust. When our spiritual roots are not deep, we find ourselves disoriented, even defeated by the tribulations that are part of an authentic Christian life. Christ teaches us to dig deep. With him as our friend, difficulties become a way to show our love and to do something that has eternal value. If I don’t fight, how can I merit a crown of victory?

3.Docility, Not Passivity: In order to bear fruit we must be docile to God’s word. But being docile does not mean being passive. For a Christian, docility to Christ and the Holy Spirit means willingness to work and serve. We are followers of the One who came to serve. The Spirit that is self-surrender moves us. To hear the Word of God and accept it means to make our lives an imitation of Christ’s total self-giving—day in and day out. God will grant fruit to our lives if we are willing to be other Christs in the here and now.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for showing me how to bear fruit in my life. I want to imitate your self-surrender to the Father and to souls. I know that this requires a constant effort to go deep in my life and be docile to the Holy Spirit. Help me to live as a giver, not a taker. Your love will always be there to accompany me.

Resolution: Today I will offer up a small sacrifice to ask God for the grace of acquiring the virtue that I need the most.


Homily of the Day

January 28, 2015

Today’s Gospel helps us to examine what kind of “soil” we are. Some of the seeds will fall into rich trenches in the ploughed fields, take root, grow and produce a hundred times its own weight in harvest. That’s what the Kingdom of heaven is like. It’s a life-giving seed that everyone desires and receives it. The sacred seed in some people is crushed to death by others. But many people have an open and receptive heart. Their sacred seed will grow and produce abundant fruit.

Take time, in prayer, to remember your sacred seed. Where do you feel there has been stony ground, rocks, or thorniness in your life? Where are the rich fruitful trenches? Does the word of God have a fighting chance to take root in your life? Pray to our loving God who sows his seed so generously.


One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 31, Issue 1

<< Wednesday, January 28, 2015 >> St. Thomas Aquinas
Hebrews 10:11-18
View Readings
Psalm 110:1-4 Mark 4:1-20
Similar Reflections


“You do not understand this parable? How then are you going to understand other figures like it?” —Mark 4:13
Jesus wants us to take ownership of our understanding of our faith. He wants us to ask questions as did the apostles (see Mk 4:10), to study, to probe deeply and persistently until we understand the meaning. Jesus tells parables so we might have the chance to ponder the Word, nourish it, and make it grow.

When asked why He only taught the crowds in parables, Jesus quoted Isaiah 6:10 (see Mk 4:12). Jesus knows that the hearts of people in the crowd, while interested in His teaching, are by nature “sluggish,” their ears “dull,” and their eyes closed (see Is 6:10). A parable resembles a riddle. It is designed to make its hearers think, ponder, and reflect until either the meaning of the parable is understood or the hearers dismiss it from their minds. Those who hear the parable will need to ask questions of those more advanced in their faith in order to better understand the meaning.

The hearers of the parable have a choice if they do not understand it. They can be like the rocky ground (Mk 4:16), dismiss the parable, and thus miss out on a chance to grow in faith. In so doing, their hearts become ever more sluggish to the Lord’s message, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 6:10. On the other hand, the hearers can be good soil which receives the Word, studies it, learns it, and bears a rich harvest (Mk 4:20).

Jesus is teaching you in parables. Will you sluggishly dismiss them, or will you seek and find their meaning?

Prayer: Jesus, make me docile to Your teaching and zealous to understand it, live by it, and spread it.
Promise: “Their sins and their transgressions I will remember no more.” —Heb 10:17
Praise: St. Thomas was blessed with a superior intelligence. He spent his entire life in the ministry of the Word of God. “How different the man who devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High!” (Sir 39:1)


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Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Also known as

  • Angelic Doctor
  • Doctor Angelicus
  • Doctor Communis
  • Great Synthesizer
  • The Dumb Ox
  • The Universal Teacher



Son of the Count of Aquino, born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples, Italy. Educated by Benedictine monks at Monte Cassino, and at the University of Naples. He secretly joined the mendicant Dominican friars in 1244. His family kidnapped and imprisoned him for a year to keep him out of sight, and deprogram him, but they failed to sway him, and he rejoined his order in 1245.

He studied in Paris, France from 1245 to 1248 under Saint Albert the Great, then accompanied Albertus to Cologne, Germany. Ordained in 1250, then returned to Paris to teach. Taught theology at University of Paris. He wrote defenses of the mendicant orders, commentaries on Aristotle and Lombard’s Sentences, and some bible-related works, usually by dictating to secretaries. He won his doctorate, and taught in several Italian cities. Recalled by king and university to Paris in 1269, then recalled to Naples in 1272 where he was appointed regent of studies while working on the Summa Theologica.

On 6 December 1273 he experienced a divine revelation which so enraptured him that he abandoned the Summa, saying that it and his other writing were so much straw in the wind compared to the reality of the divine glory. He died four months later while en route to the Council of Lyons, overweight and with his health broken by overwork.

His works have been seminal to the thinking of the Church ever since. They systematized her great thoughts and teaching, and combined Greek wisdom and scholarship methods with the truth of Christianity. Pope Leo VIII commanded that his teachings be studied by all theology students. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1567.








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Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Saint Thomas Aquinas

Charity is the form, mover, mother and root of all the virtues. Saint Thomas Aquinas

We are like children, who stand in need of masters to enlighten us and direct us; and God has provided for this, by appointing his angels to be our teachers and guides. Saint Thomas Aquinas

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. 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.” 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 honors, 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.” – from the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas

The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods. Saint Thomas Aquinas

Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace. Saint Thomas Aquinas

Most loving Lord, grant me a steadfast heart which no unworthy desire may drag downards; an unconquered hear which no hardship may wear out; an upright heart which no worthless purpose may ensnare. Impart to me also, O God, the understanding to know you, the diligence to seek you, a way of life to please you, and a faithfulness that may embrace you, through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen. Saint Thomas Aquinas, from Something Of A Saint

Hence we must say that for the knowledge of any truth whatsoever man needs divine help, that the intellect may be moved by God to its act. But he does not need a new light added to his natural light, in order to know the truth in all things, but only in some that surpasses his natural knowledge. – Saint Thomas Aquinas


January 28
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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
(973) 473-0246


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
10 St. Francis Way
Passaic, NJ 07055 United States
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