Monday, January 28, 2008

feast of St Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, "the big fella."

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus, one of the great minds of the Middle Ages and patron of us academics and teachers. As I am a busy academic and teacher, I will just leave you with St. Thomas' great Prayer Before Study (English following the Latin), from the Thesaurus Precum Latinarum.

CREATOR ineffabilis, qui de thesauris sapientiae tuae tres Angelorum hierarchias designasti et eas super caelum empyreum miro ordine collocasti atque universi partes elegantissime distribuisti: Tu, inquam, qui verus fons luminis et sapientiae diceris ac supereminens principium, infundere digneris super intellectus mei tenebras tuae radium claritatis, duplices, in quibus natus sum, a me removens tenebras, peccatum scilicet et ignorantiam. Tu, qui linguas infantium facis disertas, linguam meam erudias atque in labiis meis gratiam tuae benedictionis infundas. Da mihi intelligendi acumen, retinendi capacitatem, addiscendi modum et facilitatem, interpretandi subtilitatem, loquendi gratiam copiosam. Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas. Tu, qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O INFINITE Creator, who in the riches of Thy wisdom didst appoint three hierarchies of Angels and didst set them in wondrous order over the highest heavens, and who didst apportion the elements of the world most wisely: do Thou, who art in truth the fountain of light and wisdom, deign to shed upon the darkness of my understanding the rays of Thine infinite brightness, and remove far from me the twofold darkness in which I was born, namely, sin and ignorance. Do Thou, who givest speech to the tongues of little children, instruct my tongue and pour into my lips the grace of Thy benediction. Give me keenness of apprehension, capacity for remembering, method and ease in learning, insight-in interpretation, and copious eloquence in speech. Instruct my beginning, direct my progress, and set Thy seal upon the finished work, Thou, who art true God and true Man, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


crystal said...

Oh, I missed his day! Maybe I'll post something belatedly. Nice painting.

cowboyangel said...

Interesting, I just read something about Aquinas last night in The New Yorker: "A Better Place," Joan Acocella's review of David Levering Lewis' new book, God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215 (Norton). Have you heard of him or this book? Evidently, he won two Pulitzer's for his 2-volume work on W.E.B. Dubois. How that connects to Muslim Spain, I don't know. It's an interesting review, definitely worth reading when you have time. Here's the part that mentions Acquinas:

"In the twelfth century, Averroës (Ibn Rushd) wrote his commentaries on Aristotle, and Moses Maimonides (Musa ibn Mayum) produced his Aristotle-inflected “Guide to the Perplexed.” Both these Córdoban philosophers took on the task of reconciling reason with faith, of proving that there was a God. For the Christian world, that job would be done by the Scholastics, above all by St. Thomas Aquinas, whose writings were the basis of European philosophy from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. But Aquinas relid heavily on Averroës’s reading of Aristotle."

Liam said...

I saw the review and I haven't read it yet.

Everybody relied on Averroes -- mainly because the Aristotle that people got their hands on in the 12th century came through Spain along with Averroes' commentary. Aquinas wasn't as hardcore an Averroes supporter as some scholastics, who later got in trouble because they were so crazy about Aristotle they espoused a contradictory "double truth" that encompassed both Scriptural truths (i.e., creation of the world by God) and Aristotelian truths (i.e., the world has always existed).

Of course, some of Tommy Aquinas' ideas were condemned by the bishop of Paris -- a good thing to remember when someone quotes Aquinas at you and starts shouting about obedience to the church.

jackjoe FRANK said...

Excellent post, especially the last paragraph. Hope I am still allowed on your blog having been thrown off 5 (2 conservative,3 liberal/moderate)for disagreeing with blog owner or a friend of blog ownerr. Jack

jackjoe FRANK said...

Had to come back. Just read a post deliriously excited that the American bishops have found out that priests are Not more likely to be pedophiles than Alabama Prison guards. I knew that from day one, but had a foolish hope that a priest might be less likely to be a pedophile. Do you know that priests are no more likely to embezzle money than Enron executives. So stop picking on my church, you bigots. Jack