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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7 Responses to The Way He Might Have Wanted It

  1. Indeed! However, with all that Jesus revealed to ST. FAUSTINA, this illustrious saint of Divine Mercy still has not received her day on our Catholic calendars! Her feastday in Poland is observed on October 5. My 2016 calendard shows this date AS BLANK! So-o-o, who is responsible to make this happen? Thank you!

    • I don’t have an answer for that; apparently here feast was not inscribed in the Universal Calendar. It’s not listed as an Optional Memorial for October 5. Each bishop could petition for his local diocese to have it celebrated in their diocesan calendar (the petition goes to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome); or the national conference of bishops could petition to have it in the United States calendar. But apparently they have not done that.

  2. Daniel Joseph Laurita says:

    “O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All Praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine”- is a post-communion antiphon we recite we recite after every Mass at St. John’s.
    Regarding St. Faustina, there was a time when her writings were “forbidden” reading. Albeit before the reign of the Polish Pope.

    • You are correct, though it was not uncommon previously for writings and devotions to be forbidden while they were under examination. The prohibition was lifted well before JPII became Pope. I remember fondly reciting that antiphon at St. John’s on the occasions that I filled in there.

  3. Deacon Dan says:

    JP canonized 476 new saints during his long pontificate, Of course, they all cannot have their
    commemorative days universally, So perhaps we should be satisfied that she has been raised to the honors of the altar and depend on her congregation and compatriots to keep her day holy.

    • Yes, but I think there is no question that she is one of the more popular one among the 476 that JPII canonized, and so it’s a legitimate concern to ask why she can’t have her own feast day – especially when there is no obligatory memorial on the Universal Calendar that day. Maybe Pope Francis will want to raise her status during the Year of Mercy.

  4. Kathleen Rickert says:

    Thank you, Fr. Jerabek!

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