28 January – Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was the son of the Count of Aquino. He was born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples, Italy. He was 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 1245-1248 under St. Albert the Great, then accompanied Albertus to Cologne, Germany. He was ordained in 1250, then returned to Paris to teach. He taught theology at the 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 at several Italian cities. He was recalled by the king and the University of 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.
-Patron Saint Index
2 Samuel 6:12-15,17-19
David went and brought the ark of God up from Obed-edom’s house to the Citadel of David with great rejoicing. When the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fat sheep. And David danced whirling round before the Lord with all his might, wearing a linen loincloth round him. Thus David and all the House of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with acclaim and the sound of the horn. They brought the ark of the Lord in and put it in position inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered holocausts before the Lord, and communion sacrifices. And when David had finished offering holocausts and communion sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Hosts. He then distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israelites, men and women, a roll of bread to each, a portion of dates, and a raisin cake. Then they all went away, each to his own house.
The mother and brothers of Jesus arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’
Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’
Discerning the will of God is a very difficult task to do. I do not think it is because God is not calling but rather I am not listening. I believe it is because I am too distracted by the daily noise of the world which prevents me from discovering what God’s plan is for me. The use of mobile phones, the daily struggles at home and at work and also the challenges in trying to make ends meet means there is often very little time for God. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of today that it is in the doing of the will of God that we are considered his sibling.
Why is it difficult for us to listen to the will of God? I have found that it is because it requires me to continue in a route which is not what I desire for myself. It is something which tugs me in the opposite direction and which forces me to renounce the ways of the world. It certainly is difficult to give up my own challenges but with daily prayer, it helps me to be focused on the crucified Christ. It is in the emptying of myself where I discover what it means to listen to God’s word.
As we continue with our journey in life, we will always face different challenges. What we can choose to do is to allow God to work within us to enable us to accept our own failings and trust in Him to use these weaknesses within us to glorify his name.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I surrender my will to you. Let me trust in you.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who have given up their possessions in life for God’s service.