The Way He Might Have Wanted It

…the powerful Aquino family obtained from Pope Innocent IV permission to have Thomas appointed abbot of Monte Cassino without resigning his Dominican habit. When Thomas declined this honor, the Pope expressed a willingness to promote him to the archiepiscopal see of Naples, but the young man made clear his determination to refuse all offices.

. . .

“All that I have written seems to me so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.”



Each year on this feast day I’m taken aback by the fact that one of the Church’s most illustrious saints, who wrote entire liturgical offices himself that we still use today, only gets a Collect (an opening prayer) on his feast day – no proper antiphons, no offertory prayer, no post-communion prayer. Something doesn’t seem right about that!

He’s the only saint whose writings are specifically recommended for the study program of seminarians in the Code of Canon Law; he’s one of the most quoted saints in the Catechism. We still sing some of his hymns on a regular basis – for example, wherever Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is celebrated. But only an opening prayer – that’s it.

Yet I think this is precisely what St. Thomas would have wanted. For even if we mostly tend to think about his great learning and the wonderful legacy of philosophy and theology that he gave to the Church, one of his greatest attributes was precisely his humility. The above quotations, one about him and one by him, help to illustrate this.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

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