Saturday, January 28, 2017


Cf. Ps 96 (95): 1, 6

O sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
In his presence are majesty and splendor,
strength and honor in his holy place.


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, forever and ever.


Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas
Priest and Doctor of the Church

HEB 11:1-2, 8-19

Brothers and sisters:

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
Band Sarah herself was sterileB
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Responsorial Psalm
LUKE 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; 

he has come to his people.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.

R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; 

he has come to his people.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old.
that he would save us from our sins
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.

R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; 

he has come to his people.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the bonds of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.

R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; 

he has come to his people.

JN 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

MK 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:

"Let us cross to the other side."

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
"Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea,

"Quiet! Be still!"

The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them,

"Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?"

They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
"Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"

January 28

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1226 - 1274)

Thomas is believed to have been born in the castle of Roccasecca in the old county of the Kingdom of Sicily, which is now known as the Lazio region of Italy, in 1225. His parents were well-off, 
but as the youngest son Thomas was expected to enter the monastery.

At 5-years-old, Thomas began his education at Monte Cassino, where he remained until the military conflict between Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX reached the abbey. 
He was then transferred and enrolled at the studium generale in Naples.

It is believed that Thomas was introduced to his philosophical influences - Aristotle, Averroes, and Maimonides - at the university, where he also met John of St. Julian, a Dominican preacher, 
who influenced him to join the recently founded Dominican Order.

When Thomas' family learned of his decision, his mother Theodora arranged for him to be moved to Paris. When Thomas was travelling to Rome, his brothers captured him and returned him to their parents at the castle of Monte San Giovanni Campano.

Thomas was held captive in the castle for one year as his family tried to keep him from joining the Dominican Order. In the year he was held, Thomas tutored his sisters and communicated with members of the Dominican Order.

In an effort to change Thomas' mind, two of his brothers hired a prostitute to seduce him, 
but legends claim Thomas drove her off with a fire iron. That night, 
two angels appeared to him in a dream and strengthened his resolve to remain celibate.

When Theodora realized she could not sway her son, 
she tried to preserve the family name by arranging for his escape through a window. 
She believed a secret escape was better than appearing to accept his decision.

Following his escape in 1244, Thomas turned to Naples, then to Rome and met the Master General of the Dominical Order, Johannes von Wildeshausen.

The next year, Thomas went to study at the Faculty of the Arts at the University of Paris, where he is believed to have met Dominican scholar Albertus Mangus, 
the Chair of Theology at the College of St. James.

In 1248, Thomas chose to follow Mangus to the new studium generale at Cologne rather than accepting Pope Innocent IV's offer to appoint him abbot of Monte Cassino as a Dominican. Though Thomas hesitated, when they reached the university, Mangus appointed him magister studentium.

Thomas was quiet and seldom spoke at the university, leading other students to believe he was mentally delayed, but Mangus prophetically said, "You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world."

Following the conclusion of his education, Thomas taught in Cologne as an apprentice professor and instructed students on the books of the Old Testament. It was during this time he wrote Expositio super Isaiam ad litteram, Postilla super Ieremiam, and Postilla super Threnos.

In 1252, Thomas returned to Paris to earn his master's degree in theology. As an apprentice professor, he lectured on the Bible and devoted his final three years of his education to Peter Lombard's Sentences.

Thomas composed a commentary on Sentences, titled Scriptum super libros Sententiarium and also wrote De ente et essentia.

The spring of 1256 saw Thomas appointed regent master in theology at Paris, and one of his first works after assuming the office was Contra impugnantes Dei cultum et religionem, 
in defense of mendicant orders, which William of Saint-Amour had been attacking.

Between 1256 to 1259, Thomas spent his tenure writing several books, such as Questiones disputatae de veritate, Quaestiones quodlibetales, Expositio super librum Boethii De trinitate, and Expositio super librum Boethii De hebdomadibus. At the conclusion of his regency, 
Thomas was in the process of writing one of his most famous works, Summa contra Gentiles.

In 1259, Thomas completed his first regency and returned to Naples, where he was appointed general preacher. In September 1261, he was asked to lecture in Orvieto, and during his stay he finished Summa contra Gentiles, as well as Catena aurea, and Contra errores graecorum.

In 1265, Thomas was summoned to Rome to serve as the papal theologian and was later ordered by the Dominican Chapter of Agnani to teach at the studium conventuale, which was the first school to teach the full range of philosophical subjects of both moral and natural natures.

While teaching, Thomas wrote his most famous work, Summa theologiae, which he believed was particularly useful to beginning students "because a doctor of Catholic truth ought not only to teach the progicient, but to him pertains also to instruct beginners."

He continued to write and released several more books until 1268, when he was called to Paris for a second teaching regency. He was named regent master again, and stayed until 1272. During this time, he wrote De virtutibus and De aeternitate mundi.

At the conclusion of his regency, the Dominicans called Thomas to establish a university wherever he wanted with a staff of whomever he wished. He established the university in Naples and took the regent master post. In 1273 Thomas was seen by the sacristan Domenic of Caserta to be crying and levitating in prayer before an icon of the crucified Christ at the Dominican convent of Naples, 
in the Chapel of Saint Nicholas.

During this prayer, Christ is said to have told him, "You have written well of me, Thomas. 
What reward would you have for your labor?"

Thomas replied, "Nothing but you, Lord."

Following this exchange, something happened but Thomas never wrote or spoke of it. He abandoned his routine and, when begged to return to work, replied,
"I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me."

In May of 1274, Thomas was called to the Second Council of Lyon, where his works for Pope Urban IV would be presented. While journeying to the meeting, Thomas hit his head on the branch of a fallen tree and fell ill. He was escorted to Monte Cassino to recover, then he set out again.

Unfortunately, he became ill once again and stopped at the Cistercian Fossanova Abbey, 
where the monks cared for him for several days.

He received his last rites and prayed, "I receive Thee, ransom of my sou. 
For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil, toiled, preached and taught..."

Thomas died on March 7, 1274 during a commentary on the Song of Songs. Thomas' remains were placed in the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse on January 28, 1369.

It is not known who beatified Thomas, but on July 18, 1323, Pope John XXII canonized him.

His original feast day was March 7, the day of his death, but because the date often falls within Lent, in 1969, a revision of the Roman Calendar changed his feast day to January 28, the date his relics were moved to Toulouse. Pope Pius V declared Saint Thomas a doctor of the church, 
saying Thomas was "the most brilliant light of the Church."

Saint Thomas' remains were moved to the Basilique de Sant-Sernin, Toulouse between 1789 and 1974. They were then returned to the Church of the Jacobins.

In the 16th century, the university in Paris Thomas often taught at was renamed the College of Saint Thomas, and in the 20th century it was relocated to the convent of Saints Dominic and Sixtus before being transformed into the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Saint Thomas' comments and philosophical writings are still debated today, and his aesthetic theories, such as the concept of claritas, deeply influenced the literary writings of James Joyce and Italian semiotician Umberto Eco.

Saint Thomas is often depicted with an open book or writing with a quill.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.


Eternal Father, through your Word
You gave new life to Adam’s race,
And call us now to live in light,
New creatures by your saving grace.
To you who stooped to all who sin
We render homage and give praise:
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
Whose loving gift is endless days.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 88 (89)
A lament at the ruin of the house of David

Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

But you have spurned and rejected him;
you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
he is a mockery among his neighbors.
You have strengthened the arm of those who oppress him,
you have gladdened the hearts of his enemies.
You have turned back the sharp edge of his sword;
you have deprived him of your help in battle.
You have put an end to his splendor,
and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him from head to foot in shame.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

Psalm 88 (89)

I am the root and stock of David;
I am the splendid morning star.

How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself? For ever?
Will your anger always burn like fire?
Remember how short is my time.
Was it truly so pointless, your creation of man?
Who is the man who can live and not die,
who can save his life from the grasp of the underworld?
Where are the kindnesses you showed us of old?
Where is the truth of your oath to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servants are taunted,
the taunts I bear in my bosom, the taunts of the nations –
the insults of your enemies, Lord,
the insults that follow the steps of your anointed!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

I am the root and stock of David;
I am the splendid morning star.

Psalm 89 (90)
Let the Lord's glory shine upon us

Our years pass like grass;
but you, God, are without beginning or end.

Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
before earth and heaven were conceived,
from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
you say to them “go back, children of men.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday, that has passed;
like a short watch in the night.
When you take them away, they will be nothing but a dream;
like the grass that sprouts in the morning:
in the morning it grows and flowers,
in the evening it withers and dries.
For we are made weak by your anger,
thrown into confusion by your wrath.
You have gazed upon our transgressions;
the light of your face illuminates our secrets.
All our days vanish in your anger,
we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
quickly they pass, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your wrath?
Who can behold the violence of your anger?
Teach us to reckon our days like this,
so that our hearts may be led at last to wisdom.
Turn to us, Lord, how long must we wait?
Let your servants call on you and be answered.
Fill us with your kindness in the morning,
and we shall rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Give us joy for as long as you afflicted us,
for all the years when we suffered.
Let your servants see your great works,
and let their children see your glory.
Let the glory of the Lord God be upon us:
make firm the work of your hands.
Make firm the work of your hands.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our years pass like grass;
but you, God, are without beginning or end.

Lord, from you springs life;
– in your light we shall see light.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 30:1-20

Pardon after exile

And when all these words come true for you, the blessing and the curse I have set before you, if you meditate on them in your heart wherever among the nations the Lord your God drives you, if you return to the Lord your God, if you obey his voice with all your heart and soul in everything I enjoin on you today, you and your children, then the Lord your God will bring back your captives, he will have pity on you and gather you once again out of all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Had you wandered to the ends of the heavens, the Lord your God would gather you even from there, would come there to reclaim you and bring you back to the land your fathers possessed, so that you in your turn might make it your own, prospering there and increasing even more than your fathers.

The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, until you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and so have life. The Lord your God will make all these curses recoil on your foes and on your enemies who have persecuted you. And once again you will obey the voice of the Lord your God and keep all those commandments of his that I enjoin on you today. The Lord your God will give you great prosperity in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, the fruit of your cattle and in the produce of your soil. For once again the Lord will take delight in your prosperity as he took delight in the prosperity of your fathers, if only you obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping those commandments and laws of his that are written in the Book of this Law,
and if you return to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, “Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, “Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” No, the Word is very near to you,
it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.

See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin on you today, if you love the Lord your God and follow his ways, if you keep his commandments, his laws, his customs, you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own. But if your heart strays, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today, you will most certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of the Lord your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends your long stay in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he would give them.


You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,
says the Lord,
and I will restore your fortunes.

Seek and you will find;
knock and it will be opened to you.
I will be found by you,
says the Lord,
and I will restore your fortunes.

Second Reading
From a conference
by Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest

The Cross exemplifies every virtue

Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.

It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.

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. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. 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. Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great. In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.

If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one,
for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.

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.


I prayed, and understanding was given to me;
I entreated, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;
compared with her, I held riches as nothing.

Your purpose none may know,
unless you grant your gift of wisdom,
sending us from heaven your own Holy Spirit.
I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;
compared with her, I held riches as nothing.

Let us pray.

Lord, our God,
since it was by your gift that Saint Thomas became so great a saint and theologian,
give us grace to understand his teaching and follow his way of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.