28 January: Saint Thomas Aquinas

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I’m getting better at saving snippets that might come in for the blog. I found this a month ago: a Tablet* report on Pius XI responding to a lecture on Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

” The thought rising in our mind in beholding these two great Saints is that in certain things they are capable of imitation. We see the never satisfied, indefatigable, almost infinite care of Saint Augustine in his continual revision of his writings, reading, re-reading the works he had written, reviewing, correcting and perfecting them with a diligence verily heroic, offering in such a way the admirable conjunction of unequalled care in the most minute details, with a study which mounted to the heights of genius. We mark the same thing in Saint Thomas, and we recall with pleasure the days when we were librarian at Milan and at the Vatican, and recall the autograph kept there of Saint Thomas in which we see the most precise care even of the writing itself. We see a scrupulous fidelity to the rules of writing, with the greatest care not to disturb the clearness of the writing. And [we] see the most exquisite asceticism nourished by the most solid theology. That is  how truly these two giants of study may be imitated. Study and piety, diligent fruitful study, true, profound and solid piety. Study demands from piety the divine recompense which it alone can give, piety demands from study the splendours of knowledge.

” Study and piety, these two must never be forgotten by our beloved sons, who … must have in them that which was manifested in these two great souls—the identification of study and piety—of science and charity.”

Cut through the flowery language and Pope Pius is saying something important. Prayer and study  depend on each other, as do science and love. Now there’s a thought. Precise care is a mark of science as it is of theology: what’s the quarrel about?

*10/5/30 The TABLET 10 May, 1930, p623.

Saint Thomas Aquinas by Carlo Crivelli

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