Wednesday, January 27, 2010


“St. Thomas Aquinas”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about St. Thomas Aquinas[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas[2]

Readings and Commentary:

Wisdom 7:7-10, 15-16

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her,
Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Now God grant I speak suitably
and value these endowments at their worth:
For he is the guide of Wisdom
and the director of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.

Commentary on
Wis 7:7-10, 15-16

This selection from the Book of Wisdom is part of Solomon’s Speech. Here he recalls that he “prayed” for Wisdom (see also 1 Kings 3:6-9 and 2 Chronicles 1:8-10) and it was given, a great prize valued above his riches. Solomon goes on to pray that he can speak of Wisdom so that he might share what he has learned with others.

CCC: Wis 7:16-17 2501
Psalm 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

R. (12) Lord, teach me your statutes.

How shall a young man be faultless in bis way?
By keeping to your words.

R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.

R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.

R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.

R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.

R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.

R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Commentary on
Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

An acrostic poem; each of the eight verses of the first strophe (aleph) begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each verse of the second strophe (beth) begins with the second letter and so on for all 22 letters of the alphabet.

The entire work is in praise of the Law, and the joys to be found in keeping it. It is not "legalism" but a love and desire for the word of God in Israel's Law, which is the expression of the Lord's revelation of himself and his will for man.

Matthew 23:8-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples:
"Do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father,
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Commentary on
Mt 23:8-12

Jesus has launched an attack on the Jewish Leadership for their authoritarian style; placing burdens on the people and seeking places of honor and titles for themselves. In this selection he describes his example of spiritual leadership. He speaks of the humility he exemplifies, placing God the Father in the place of the one true master with all who follow him as servants. See also
Luke 14:11.

CCC: Mt 23:9 2367; Mt 23:12 526

Perhaps the greatest example St. Thomas Aquinas has left us was one of humility. Those who know the story of St. Thomas Aquinas might exclaim: “How can you say that when he left the Church the wisdom and theological insights that shaped the Church and her teaching Magisterium since he lived (1225-1274)?” It is because he was one of the greatest scholars of his age and many ages since that we look at his example and see his greatest boon to us as the humility he exemplified and taught.

Jesus himself taught that whatever good he accomplished was only done through the gifts given by God. Without the Lord’s support we accomplish nothing. It is the folly of the un-wise that they boast in themselves, in their own strength, their own knowledge. All they have was given to them by Christ and his Father.

St. Thomas Aquinas was truly brilliant, of genius level intellect, and he was aware of this gift from God. Many lesser thinkers pronounced themselves leaders of thought and wisdom, yet the truly great St. Thomas followed the Lord’s example and principle, claiming no special privilege.

The remarkable thought and writings he has left us later caused him to be named Doctor of the Church. He would have blushed to have such honor bestowed upon himself. For our benefit today, he has left us knowledge, not only his insights into the fundamental nature of our faith, but also his written example of love and fidelity to the Lord. For these gifts we thank God, as St. Thomas did in his life. We also ask for his intercession; may God give us wisdom and faith to carry out our service to him with excellence and understanding as did his servant, whose feast we celebrate this day.


[1] The picture is “St. Thomas Aquinas” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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