St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest minds of the middle ages and he would become one of the greatest saints of our Church. He lived in Italy in the 13th century in the area now known as Lazio. Thomas was born into a wealthy family. He could be considered brilliant, quiet, resolute, devout, and extremely prayerful.
Thomas studied at the University of Naples and it was there that he was exposed to the Dominicans. Thomas decided to join the Dominican order, an order of begging friars, against the wishes of his family. His family persecuted Thomas and had him imprisoned in a tower in a castle for about a year. His brothers also tried to have poor Thomas seduced by a prostitute. Thomas drove the prostitute away with a fire iron. He fell to his knees, praying and thanking God for preserving him from that temptation. He also asked God to preserve him in chastity for the rest of his life.
The story goes that after this trial, Thomas fell asleep and had a vision. Two angels from heaven came to him and gird him with a cord, saying that God had sent them and that the cord would preserve him in chastity throughout his life. Many spoke of Thomas’ wonderful chastity. He now shares this gift of the miraculous cord for the virtue of chastity with all of us as he is in heaven interceding for us all.
After the imprisonment ordeal, the Angelic Doctor finally was able to follow the Lord’s will and join the Dominicans. He studied at the University of Paris under St. Albert the Great and obtained his doctorate there. Following his studies there, he became a professor at the University of Paris.
Thomas was of a shyer disposition, he was quieter and chose his words carefully. As so often happens in our world, people think those who do not speak are not intelligent. I can vouch for this as someone who is a bit more on the introverted side. St. Albert the Great once prophesied about St. Thomas Aquinas, “You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world.”
Thomas Aquinas is a Doctor of the Church. Philosopher and theologian, Thomas was also a prolific writer. His greatest work is called the Summa Theologica and was not completed. Thomas wrote many pieces on arguments for the existence of God. Thomas was able to reconcile some of the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers with medieval theology. His teachings centered around the relationship between faith and reason.
What are the ways singles can imitate St. Thomas Aquinas?
1. HAVE GREAT REVERENCE FOR THE EUCHARIST
Thomas also wrote hymns. Some of the most beautiful hymns he wrote are hymns composed about the Eucharist. Listen to Adore Te Devote some time and give thanks to God for St. Thomas Aquinas.
2. DEFEND THE CATHOLIC FAITH
Our beautiful Catholic faith is constantly being attacked. Learn to defend our faith, with your words, with your actions. Study the faith. Understand the arguments that others use against the faith. Arm yourself with counterarguments based on the truth. Study the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, especially his proofs for the existence of God. Another good resource is Bishop Robert Barron and his Youtube videos. All of us must become apologists!
3. LOVE THE VIRTUE OF CHASTITY
Thomas Aquinas received a gift from God in a special cord which preserved him in chastity. We too can wear the blessed cord (or medal), say the special prayers for chastity, and join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, a group of people joined by love and dedicated to living a life of chastity (married people are called to live conjugal chastity) with the powerful help of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many other saints belonged to this fraternity, such as Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. As singles in today’s world, we are literally assailed by temptations against the virtue of chastity. Give yourself the gift of happiness and joy by living a chaste lifestyle. It is possible. With God, all things are possible! Pursue chastity and consider wearing this cord or medal of St. Thomas or the Brown Scapular of Carmel, another powerful sacramental helpful in preserving chastity, or both!
St. Thomas obviously had a lot to forgive his family for and he faced trauma from his family. He had to forgive them for their selfish actions, for trying to seduce him with a prostitute, for imprisoning him for over a year. During your single years, you have more time than married people. Use this time well to prepare for a good marriage. Resolve your family of origin issues (and we all have them) by seeking out a good Christian or Catholic counselor and taking all of this to God in prayer. Ask God to heal your heart. Learn the strengths and weaknesses that you received from each of your parents. Go forward having been able to forgive and to love your parents. Many people who do not do this work before marriage, often project a great deal of unresolved anger onto their spouse because of their unresolved family of origin issues. This can lead to divorce if not dealt with properly. God wants you to have a happy marriage. Work through your issues before your marriage.
I close with some beautiful quotations from St. Thomas Aquinas.
“Happiness is secured through virtue, it is a good attained by man’s own will.”
“Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.”
“If, then you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.”
St Thomas of Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, pray for us singles!
For more information on the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, write to:
[email protected] or to the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, Dominican House of Studies, 487 Michigan Ave., NE, Washington DC 20017.
Or visit www.angelicwarfare.org. To join the Confraternity, you must receive a short blessing by a Dominican priest.