Passages from the book:” Feau et lumiere” by Odile Haumontè
An incredible intelligence at the service of love.
He is the saint patron of university students, high school students and Catholic schools from 1880. He comes to us from the far off thirteenth century, to reconcile faith and reason in us. He invites us to put our intelligence at the service of an increase of love. He says “It needs to Know to love”.
On the shelves of a library there are four aligned books: The “Summa Teologica”. The famous writing of Saint Thomas of Aquino. Still, this extraordinary work remains a sketch at the question of all life “Who is God?” “What is God?” The author stopped to write three months before dying , with his heart and spirit full of God – who was the object of all his wishes. “What I wrote seems all straw compared with what I saw and that was revealed to me”. He answered that to whom asked him why he decided not to write anymore.
The school boy from Montecassino
the small town of
Since his childhood, Thomas distinguished for his goodness of heart and for his intelligence. If he wept, they gave him a book and he soothed and showed pleasure to leaf through it. When he was five years old, as most nobles of his time, he was invited at Montecassino’s school. He was accompanied by his wet-nurse because his parents stayed at castle’s to weep his separation.
He progressed quickly and showed virtues above-average his age. He was calm and thoughtful. He spent long moments in the chapel. He avoided futile and noisy amusements. He studied with care so people could see him always with a book in his hands. When he was six years old, one day, while he was sitting on his desk all absorbed in his silence – the teacher approached him and rising his eyes towards him Thomas asked: “Tell me, who is God?”
The student from Naples
some years, Abbot Sinibab noticed Thomas’s precocious sanctity and his ardour
for studying, so recommended Count Landolfo to send Thomas to the
The Rocca-Secca’s prisoner
fact threw down Aquino’s family and their relatives in consternation: the son
of a so eminent family was becoming s simple religious beggar! John – the
Teutonic – the master of the religious Order, having to go to
more than one year T. suffered a long imprisonment and had to suffer the
attacks by maternal persuasion: promises, tender, reproaches, threats, abuses.
Nothing scratched the conviction and the faithfulness of the young novice. He
gain his sisters for his cause who were instructed to convince him. His brother
tried to undress him from his frock but he clasped, with Knuckle duster, the
edges of his clothing. They let a prostitute come in his room and Thomas
grasped a brand from the fireplace and rolled it in front of her face. That
wretched frightened and flee away. T. kneeled down with the brand, which made
go away the prostitute, drew a big cross and asked The Lord the grace of the
purity of the soul and the body. He fell down and saw two angels going down
whose hips were surrounded by a white belt which was interwoven with extreme
artistic refinement. He will put on that for all his life, taking care of
hiding it to others eyes. This wonderful belt is kept still today in the
inflexible resistance, which had never lost mildness, respect, sweetness, won
at last countess Teodora. One night, some preachers, who were called from
The student of Saint Albert the Great.
began theological studies at
The teacher of theology
T began to teach when he was 30 years old. Ordained priest he always distinguished for his devoutness and love for Saint Eucharist. All his life was consecrated to urge, stimulate, explain, and fight heresies. He took ahead his courses, the sermons, wrote books. When he composed a mass to the Holy Sacrament, as well as the magnificent “Pange Lingua” he sang the sublime mystery of the Eucharist. He worked dictating to two or three secretaries in the same time. He spent most of the night in church and came back before dawn so that nobody could see him not to have slept. He was never absent at recital of the office of hours, even if he had had the dispensation of it, because of masses of work and numerous visit
she had to receive. His thought never went away from thinking of God. He said “The true happiness consists in the contemplation of God. One of his prayers says “Jesus, it is only with you that I attend the knowledge of truth that I have to teach to others”. When he was not able to grasp a concept or to clarify some difficult points of the doctrine, he left everything, went down to the chapel, opened the tabernacle, he slipped his head in it and stayed so till when he received light.
he celebrated the Eucharist, tears went on to get down along the cheeks. A few
times, people saw him lifted off the ground and sometimes he went into ecstasies.
When he was at table, he didn’t often see what he saw eating: one day they give
him some olives so salty that nobody was able to eat them. Thomas, collected in
God, ended his portion without realizing that. Another day, he was invited to
eat at Saint King Louis with his prior. Suddenly, Thomas shouted and beat his
fist on the table: “Ah, at the end, I have found the subject to confute the
Manicheans.” The prior, so confused tugged him at his sleeve. Thomas excused
himself with humility. But, the King, so admired, made the secretary called so
that he could write as soon as possible the intuition he had had. On
He was fascinated by eternal truth he had contemplated. He stopped writing and prayed. “So that the end of his life could go on after stopping his writing.”
Before concluding this short Saint’s profile we write some episodes to exalt Thomas’s virtues.
The obedience of Thomas
One day, according to custom in use in the monasteries, he was reading at table. The corrector made him noticed a pronunciation mistake in a sentence. Immediately, Thomas corrected himself according the corrector’s suggestion. When the meal was over, a monk went up to him and expressed his discontent.” You got wrong to pronounce that sentence, as he suggested you because the corrector made a mistake – not you. Immediately Thomas replied “the pronunciation is not important, the important is to be humble and obedient.”
A foreign monk who had to go to a town received the permission to be accompanied by the first monk he had met. He saw Thomas and told him to follow him. Thomas suffered from pains in his legs; therefore he walked slowly so he was reproached by the monk.
In the town, people were shocked by seeing that scene and told the monk who was the person near to him who followed him like a little boy. The poor man excused himself of the mistake and received the teaching of the Saint about the perfection of the obedience. “Man is submitted to man for love of God, as God obey to man for love of man”.
Even if he was busy in important things, he was always present in acts of the community. He said that it needed to run immediately at the ring of the bell which called. One day he succeeded in clarifying difficult point of work which was writing (as that time at table with King Louis). The bell rang calling the monks to the prayer. Thomas got immediately up from the desk, without ending the word which he was writing and made his way towards the chapel. When he came back to work he found the word written by golden characters. So God wanted to reward the humble obedience of Thomas.
Humble and mild
Thomas, for his high lineage and for his exceptional abilities by which he was enriched by God, as well as the divine illumination he benefited by, he could had to became proud; but like a young Mosè nobody was humbler and milder than him.
young boy, moved by anger, reproached him with telling he was not so learned as
they believed. Thomas answered sweetly “It is really true, my boy, that’s
because I never stop studying. When he heard to speak of proud and self-esteem,
Thomas made the sign of the cross on his heart. In his prayers he asked only
two things: “God likes his doctrine and to be able to live and die as a simple
religious. One day, he was coming back from the Abbey of St. Denis with his
disciples, Thomas stopped and everybody admired the magnificent landscape of
He was so charitable. He didn’t think never badly of anybody. When he discovered some failings in people, he cried their faults as he had committed himself, them. He never got angry with anybody and never reproached anybody. He disputed only when it was necessary for reasons of zeal or for the truth; if others made a mistake, he groaned secretly, prayed, and cried ahead the cross. He invited the guilty to recognize his mistake with tranquillity and great moderation of language, which soothed the souls - the most worried – and he aroused the admiration by whom hard him.
Nevertheless, a graphologist, studying his hand writing, was surprised to discover Thomas had had a violent character. Instead, with grace of God, he was all tenderness. Bartholomew of Capua said about him: “The soul of Brother Thomas was the radiant tabernacle of Holy Ghost, because on his face you could see always shining joy and sweetness. A contemporaneous expressed so about him “What he taught with his mouth, he made with works; he had never dared to teach what God had not allowed him to practise.
Coming back to history
He was called by Pope Gregorio X to participate in the council of Lione. During the Journey he became ill. When he arrived in Sicily he made himself taken to Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nova. “There is the place of my rest”. He exclaimed. His last confession seemed the child’s one. On 7 March 1274, surrounded by Dominicans and Cistercians, he received the Extreme Unction, preached for his last time about Canticle of Canticles, the voice became a breath.
He whispered the “Creed” than he said murmuring “I entrust everything to church judgment” after these words he was dying.
At down, with serenity, far away from ephemeral honours of this world he reached his God whose he had told “You have only a teacher: Christ.” (Mt. 23,8).