Silently Eloquent

We interrupt the series on “Common Ground” to bring you – the memorial of my patron saint!

St. Thomas Aquinas is a big-name saint. His name is known even to Protestants, who sometimes like to claim him as their own (which, considering what he taught, is a real stretch). Most people who admire St. Thomas admire him as a theologian and a philosopher. I have to admit, though, I took him as my patron nearly 11 years ago not out of admiration for his great writings, but because I had a sneaking suspicion that he might have prayed me into the Church. He was the first Catholic saint I really had anything to do with. As an Evangelical, I wrote a 21-page paper on his rebuttal of the “double-truth” heresy proposed by the adherents of the Muslim philosopher, Averroes, and by the end of the paper, I was in awe. Most Thomas Aquinas fans rave about his theology or his philosophy – not me. I was, and I remain, in awe of Thomas’ saintly life.

I stand in awe of the St. Thomas who, according to one story told about him, looked out the window to catch a glimpse of the “flying cow” his fellow seminarian swore was in the sky. Pulling his head back in the window to the guffaws of the other students, St. Thomas told the prankster, “I am not so simple-minded as to believe that cows can fly. I had rather believe that, however, than that a man of God could tell a lie.

I stand in awe of the St. Thomas who was so in love with holy obedience that he patiently accepted any correction and obeyed any order given him.

I stand in awe of the St. Thomas of whom it was written, “When consecrating at Mass, he would be overcome by such intensity of devotion as to be dissolved in tears, utterly absorbed in its mysteries and nourished with its fruits.”

I stand in awe of the St. Thomas who composed the hymns we know as “Pange Lingua,” “Tantum Ergo,” “O Salutaris Hostia,” “Panis Angelicus” and “Adoro Te Devote” in an attempt to express the depths of his love for Christ Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

I stand in awe of the St. Thomas to whom the Lord Himself is reported to have said, “Thou hast written well of Me, Thomas; what reward wouldst thou have?” To which St. Thomas replied, “Nothing but Thyself, Lord.”

The litany of St. Thomas Aquinas best describes, I think, the traits that I admire with the phrase “silently eloquent.” While St. Thomas seems to be best remembered for his brilliance and his scholarly achievements, it is the silent eloquence of his holy life that draws me to him. I am so proud to call him my patron.

St. Thomas, pray for us!

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 Spirit,

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!

St. Thomas,

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 garden of St. Dominic,

Pray for us!

Glory of the Friars Preachers,

Pray for us!

Illumined from on high,

Pray for us!

Oracle of the Church,

Pray for us!

Incomparable scribe of the God-Man,

Pray for us!

Perfect in the school of His Cross,

Pray for us!

Model of perfect obedience,

Pray for us!

Endowed with the true spirit of holy poverty,

Pray for us!

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

Have mercy on us.

What have I in heaven, or what do I desire on earth?

That you are the God of my heart, and my portion forever.

Let us pray: O God, who ordained that St. Thomas should enlighten your Church, grant that through his prayers we may practice what he taught.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

On the memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas

Deo omnis gloria!

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