28 January: St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor


The Angelic Doctor (+1274)
by Carlo Crivelli

COLLECT:
Deus, qui beatum Thomam
sanctitatis zelo ac sacrae doctrinae studio
conspicuum effecisti,
da nobis, quaesumus,
et quae docuit intellectu conspicere,
et quae gessit imitatione complere.

LITERAL TRANSLATION:
O God, who made blessed Thomas
outstanding in zeal for holiness and diligent in application to sacred doctrine,
grant to us, we beg You,
both to fix our eyes by our intellect carefully on the things which he taught,
and also to fulfill by our imitation the things which he accomplished in action.

The verb gero has in it the idea of activity or exertion, “to sustain the charge of any undertaking or business, to administer, manage, regulate, rule, govern, conduct, carry on, wage, transact, accomplish, perform (cf.: facio, ago). Think of res gesta, “a deed” and res gestae, the “events, occurrences, acts, exploits” of a person’s life, as in the case of the famous Res gestae divi Augusti.

As an aside, I mentioned divus, which is classical usage is “of or belonging to a deity, divine”. In later classicising Christian language, it can be used for sanctus, as the title of a saint. Very often you will find in Renaissance writings, when authors were particularly interesting in classical forms of Latin, St. Thomas refered to as “Divus, as in the Summa Theologica divi Thomae Aquinatis, etc.

When I was studying philosophy at the then “College” of St. Thomas in St. Paul, (MN, USA) – which I did concurrently with grad school at the University of Minnesota – don’t ask me how – at the beginning of all the classes, we would always recite a prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas:

Concede mihi, miséricors
Deus, quae tibi sunt plácita,
ardenter concupíscere,
prudenter investigáre,
veráciter agnóscere,
et perfecte adimplére
ad laudem et gloriam Nominis tui. Amen.

Grant me, O merciful God,
to desire ardently,
to investigate prudently,
to acknowledge honestly,
and perfectly to fulfill
those things that are pleasing to Thee,
to the praise and glory of Thy Name. Amen.

The translation in English was different at the school, but… there it is. Here we have total submission of the higher faculties of man to God, who created them and gave them to us as gifts. That is to say, “have authority over me so that I can be more who I am supposed to be.”

In this time when Catholic Education is so very much of in need of care and correction in so vary many places, do not forget to ask St. Thomas for his intercession so that those who oversee these matters, will have the courage and knowledge of how to do those things which are pleasing to God, without the softening fear of human respect.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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2 Responses to 28 January: St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor

  1. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z’s literal translation:
    O God, who made blessed Thomas
    outstanding in zeal for holiness and diligent in application to sacred doctrine,
    grant to us, we beg You,
    both to fix our eyes by our intellect carefully on the things which he taught,
    and also to fulfill by our imitation the things which he accomplished in action.

    ICEL version
    God our Father, you made Thomas Acquinas
    known for his holiness and learning.
    Help us
    to grow in wisdom by his teaching,
    and in holiness by imitating his faith.

    The dumbing-down here, while preserving the sequence of ideas, is a vintage example of ICEL at its best. Noting the automatic replacement of “grant us, we beg You” by “help us” wherever it occurs in any prayer, I’ve come to the conclusion that these ICEL prayers are produced by a babelfish-like machine program.

  2. Henry, your comments are sound and welcome!