A steadfast heart – 28 January 2019
A Dominican friar sits and reads, thinking deeply and carefully. There is contentment in the reading; this is a preferred activity. What does he read? The Bible maybe, or a work of scholarship from a university library, for this friar is very learned indeed. His name is Thomas, from Aquino, one of the greatest philosophers of the western world, and a doctor of the church.
This image of Thomas was painted by another Dominican friar (Fra Angelico), two centuries after his death. The Dominicans were founded as a preaching order, their learning intended to be shared. The purpose of this image is to inspire others to reading and study, that Thomas’ life might be used as a pattern and model.
Thomas Aquinas is commemorated on 28 January, a day to give thanks for theologians and places of learning, for all who find delight (and God) through thinking.
Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to sceptres and thrones,
and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
I loved her more than health and beauty,
and I chose to have her rather than light,
because her radiance never ceases.
All good things came to me along with her,
and in her hands uncounted wealth.
I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them;
but I did not know that she was their mother.
I learned without guile and I impart without grudging;
I do not hide her wealth,
for it is an unfailing treasure for mortals;
those who get it obtain friendship with God,
commended for the gifts that come from instruction.
“Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy affection may drag downwards;
give us an unconquered heart,
which no tribulation can wear out;
give us an upright heart,
which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God,
understanding to know you,
diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”