Today we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The date of death is usually the day we celebrate a saints feast day. St Thomas died on 7th March. Some say the reason his feast is on this day is because this is the day his great theological work “Summa Theologiae” was published. It could also be that it was on this date that his relics were transferred.
His “Summary of Theology” took him nine years to write. It is the main compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church which was intended to be used by those training for the priest and ordinary laity. It was never quite finished. It is said that he stopped working on it after celebrating Mass on 6th December 1273. When he was asked why he had stopped writing he said. “I cannot go on …All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” St Thomas was asked by Pope Urban VI to compose the texts for the Mass and the Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
We still sing the Pange Lingua and especially the last two verses Tantum Ergo Sacramentum. Here is a morning offering adapted from a prayer attributed to St Thomas.
Grant us this day a vigilant heart that no alien thought can lure away from you;
a pure heart that no unworthy love can soil;
An upright heart that no crooked intention can lead astray;
An unconquered heart that no distress can overcome.
And give us, Lord, understanding to know you,
Zeal to seek you,
Wisdom to find you,
And a hope that will one day take hold of you.
Through Christ our Lord.