JMC : Saint Thomas Aquinas / by Raïssa Maritain

XXV The Feast of March 7TH

CANONIZED in 1323, Saint Thomas Aquinas received, on April 11th, 1567, the rare title of Doctor of the Church. And on August 4th, 1880, Pope Leo XIII gave him as patron to all Catholic schools.

Important dates, which a Christian scholar should remember, even if he isn't very strong in history. Once a year at least it is well to remember them, by celebrating with love and piety the feast of the Saint, March 7th.

Let us love the Angel of the Schools as the Church loves him. What she thinks of the Saints she honours she tells us in the Office of the Mass, which she composes in their honour.

Then let us read the Mass of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

You will find it in your Missal, if it is not very small and abridged.

I hope that your Missal is complete, for I do not wish to copy here this entire Mass.

But here is the beginning:

The priest mounts the steps of the altar after the Confiteor, goes to the Epistle side, and thinking of Saint Thomas, he says:

"In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth (to teach and to preach) and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding. He clothed him with a robe of glory."

Then he reads, as if the Saint were speaking, these verses taken from Scripture:

"I wished, and understanding was given to me.

"And I called, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me. -- 124 -

"And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison with her . . . .

"I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light, for her light cannot be put out . . . .

"Her riches I hide not; for she is an infinite treasure to men.

"By which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts of discipline."

Then the priest, standing on the Gospel side and this time speaking in the name of God Himself, reads in Saint Matthew:

"You are the salt of the earth . . . .

"You are the light of the world . . . .

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, Who is in heaven."


Since in the eyes of the Church herself the Angel of the Schools is so great; since the Church was delivered by his message of knowledge, wisdom and holiness, let us say together, children, those of us who have read this little book to the end, let us say together with all our heart the prayer of the Mass of Saint Thomas: "O God, Who dost enlighten Thy Church with the wonderful erudition of Blessed Thomas, Thy confessor, and dost render it fruitful by his holy works, grant us, we beseech Thee, to behold with our understanding what he taught, and to accomplish by imitation what he did."

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