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The Cross Exemplifies Every Virtue [St. Thomas Aquinas]
Catholic Radio ^ | n/a | St. Thomas Aquinas

Posted on 01/27/2009 8:33:48 PM PST by Salvation

 From a conference by  


 SaintThomas Aquinas, priest 
(c. 1225-1274)

The cross exemplifies every virtue

    Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.
   It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.
   If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.
   If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ's patience on the cross was great. In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.
If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.
   If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous.
   If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in who are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Upon the cross he was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink.
   Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because they divided my garments among themselves. Nor to honors, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings. Nor to greatness of rank, for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head. Nor to anything delightful, for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Source:  The Liturgy of the Hours - Office of Readings

Saint Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) was born in 1225 in the family castle of Rocca Secca near Aquino, Italy. He was the son of Count Landulf of Aquino, a knight and relative of the Emperor and of the King of France, and Theodora. At 5, he was sent to the nearby Benedictine monastery,  Monte Cassino for his early education. The abbot there was a kinsman of the Aquino family. At 14 he went to the University of Naples to finish his education studying the arts and sciences. At 19, he joined the Dominicans (Order of Preachers) there in 1244. This move was strongly opposed by his family, whose  objection was not that he joined a religious order, but rather because he joined the Dominicans. His mother, Theodora,  was quite content that he become a Benedictine and probably saw him destined as the future abbot at Monte Cassino. Theodora herself set out for Naples to persuade her son to return home. The friars, however hurried him off to their convent of Santa Sabina in Rome. When the angry lady followed in pursuit, Thomas was no longer to be found there. The master general of the Dominicans, who was on his way to Bologna, had decided to take Thomas with him, and a little party of friars set out on foot. Theodora sent word to the saint's elder brothers, who were serving with the emperor's army in Tuscany, to waylay and capture the fugitive. As Thomas was resting by the roadside near Siena, he was overtaken by his brothers at the head of a troop of soldiers, and after a vain attempt to take his habit from him by force, was brought back and held in confinement at the family castle for two years. During his captivity he studied the Sentences of Peter Lombard, learned a great part of the Bible by heart, and is said to have written a treatise on the fallacies of Aristotle. 
     Thomas prevailed and rejoined the Order of Preachers in 1245.  He studied at Paris for three years, and then, accompanied by Albertus Magnus,  attended the new Dominican college at Cologne. Thomas was ordained there 1250-51 and returned to Paris in 1252. Then, as a master of theology,  he taught for the next nine years at Naples, Anagni, Orvieto, Rome and Viterbo. During those years he completed his work, Summa contra Gentiles and began his famous work Summa theologiae. He returned to university at Paris in 1269 and three years later was sent as regent to head a new Dominican house of studies at Naples.
     Thomas was appointed to attend the General Church Council of Lyons, called to discuss the reunion of the Greek and Latin churches by Pope Gregory X in 1274, but he died on the way to Lyons at the Cistercian abbey of Fossa Nuova near Terracina, Italy on March 7, 1274. He was 49, Thomas was canonized by Pope John XXII in 1323, was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope St. Pius V in 1567, and was named patron of all universities, colleges, and schools in 1880 by Pope Leo XIII, who required all theological students to study his thought. The substance of his work became the accepted basis for modern Catholic theology.
     Saint. Thomas Aquinas was probably the greatest theological master of all time.  His writings were voluminous, characterized by his in-depth analysis of faith, reason, and revealed truth. He demonstrated that truths such as the existence of God, his eternity, his creative power and his attributes and divine providence can be discovered by natural reason alone. His greatest work, the unfinished Summa theologiae, is seen as the greatest exposition of theological thought ever written.   
     While a man of towering intellect, Aquinas was also a man of great humility and holiness. He experienced visions, ecstasies, and revelations. He left Summa theologiae unfinished because of a revelation he experienced while saying Mass in 1273. He composed the office for the feast of Corpus Christi and wrote hymns still used in Church services, notably Pange lingua, Adoro te devote and others.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: aquinas; catholic; catholiclist
Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas is January 28.
1 posted on 01/27/2009 8:33:49 PM PST by Salvation
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To: All
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2 posted on 01/27/2009 8:36:37 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
Saint of the Day Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Saint of the Day Ping List.

3 posted on 01/28/2009 10:12:26 AM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Yeah. I enjoyed the reading.

4 posted on 01/28/2009 11:20:54 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: Mad Dawg

Thanks for reading it.

5 posted on 01/28/2009 9:34:01 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Maybe you should repost it for Lent — it’s a great Lenten meditation!

6 posted on 01/29/2009 8:05:07 AM PST by maryz
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To: Salvation

Hey. It was in the Office of Readings, which IMHO is the coolest office in the Breviary.

7 posted on 01/29/2009 8:07:39 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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