Posted by: fvbcdm | January 28, 2014

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas (28 January 2014)

Now we come to a red-letter day in our Dominican calendar, because the Church celebrates today the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of our Dominican brothers who was the greatest of our Catholic theologians.  He was an Italian, born near the main road from Rome to Naples.  A brilliant man who gave his name to the entire system of philosophy and theology that is called “Thomism”; a teacher, a writer, a mystic, a saint, and one of the greatest Doctors of the Church.

I can remember particularly my visit to our Dominican priory of Saint Dominic in Naples.  All during my seminary period, the greatness of Saint Thomas had been emphasized to us again and again.  Now, I was literally walking in his footsteps.  I was assigned to a room in that ancient building which was four doors down the hall from the one which had been Saint Thomas during his time there.  It is now a chapel dedicated to him.  You can’t imagine how I felt, living for those few days on the same hall where that giant of a mind and of a heart lived, when I could, whenever I wanted, just walk down the hall to pray where he had prayed, to look out the same window, to see the same Neapolitan sky.  Downstairs, in a side chapel to our Dominican church, there hangs the crucifix which spoke to Thomas. According to the story, one day a lay brother was praying there when Thomas came in to pray.  The brother saw the large crucifix over the altar seem to come alive and to speak to Saint Thomas, saying to him, “You have written well of me, Thomas. What would you like in return?” And Aquinas did not hesitate to answer, “Nothing, Lord, but yourself!”

More recently, with friends I visited the Cistercian abbey of Fossa Nuova where Saint Thomas died, within an easy walk from his birthplace. While traveling on foot from Naples to an ecumenical council in Lyons, France, he took sick there and was taken to the nearby Cistercian abbey. He lingered there for some days, and then quietly surrendered his soul to our God. In the room where he died, a beautiful marble plaque carved by the famous Bernini has been hung to mark the historic place. His body now rests with our Dominican brothers in the city of Toulouse in southern France. His holiness and wisdom brighten the entire world.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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