Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't Bother Me

January 28 is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). The breviary states that he "subjected himself to hard discipline." In this painting by Velasquez, we can see how Thomas barely made it through an episode of temptation, concocted by his father. Here's the story:

St. Thomas wanted to be a Dominican, but his father, who was a nobleman from southern Italy, opposed his decision. He ordered his son to be imprisoned in a tower to see if isolating the youth from everyone would make him leave aside his vocation.

Instead of abandoning it, he took advantage of the solitude to pray and study. Seeing this, his father did another bad thing. He arranged for a "public woman" to visit St. Thomas and invite him to sin against purity. It was a chilly day, and a fire was burning in the fireplace of the room where St. Thomas was locked. Talk about symbolism!

When the woman approached to tempt him, he took a stick of burning wood from the fire and threatened to burn the woman should she come any closer. She fled in panic. If you click this photo and enlarge it, you can see the woman leaving in a huff.

Having thus conquered the temptation of impurity, he received the visit of angels who rewarded him with a kind of mystical girdle, that is, an invisible protection against the temptations of impurity. So the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas of Aquinas, was free of the temptations of the flesh that could disturb the progress of his mind or damage his studies and the great work he did for the Catholic Church.

These comments are taken from Prof. Plinio CorrĂȘa de Oliveira and can be found at this web link.

From the Collect for the Feast:

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

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark...

1. Don't miss the boat.
2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
3. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
4. Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
5. Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6. Build your future on high ground.
7. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
8. Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
9. When you're stressed, float awhile.
10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

Oh, and no matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.