Sunday, January 28, 2007

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Today marks the feast of one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Saint Thomas is a favorite in our home, not only because he is the patron of our alma mater, but also because his comprehensive Summa Theologica (of which we have three copies in the home), is our primary source for answers to pretty much every question we have pertaining to matters of faith, morality, Church doctrine and much more.

Today just before mass, my husband and Gianna were blessed with a relic of Saint Thomas. So glorious! (Our sick Madeleine and I were held up in the car, but I intend to ask for the blessing on Friday, the Feast of Candlemas!)

Saint Thomas wrote a reverent prayer included in this book to be said before one receives Holy Communion. It is ingrained in my memory from college, and one of the most beautiful ante-communion prayers I've come across:

Almighty and everlasting God, behold,
I approach the sacrament of your only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.

As one infirm, I approach the balm of life,
as one begrimed, the fountain of mercy,
as one blind, the light of eternal splendor,
as one poor and needy, the Lord of heaven and earth.

Therefore, I ask that from the abundance of Your immense generosity,
You may bestow that which is needed
to cure my illness,
to wash away my defilement,
to illuminate my blindness,
to enrich my poverty,
and clothe my nakedness.

I ask all of this that I might receive
the Bread of Angels,
the King of Kings
and Lord of Lords,
with that reverence and humility,
with that contrition and devotion,
with that purity and faith,
with that resolve and intention
which is expedient for the salvation of my soul.

Allow me, I plead,
to receive not only the sacrament of Your Body and Blood,
but also the reality and power of this sacrament.

O most gentle God,
allow me to receive the body of your only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who was born of the Virgin Mary,
so that I might be worthy
to be united to His Mystical Body
and counted among His members.

O most loving Father,
give to me Your beloved Son,
Whom now I intend to receive in this hidden form,
but hope to contemplate face to face for all eternity.

Who with You lives and reigns,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
world without end.



E Caughron said...

Kristen, I love this prayer too. Thanks for the reminder about the feast day.

Michelle said...

This is a nice prayer. I just wish the choir weren't so distracting that praying before or after communion is very difficult.

Erika said...

What a beautiful prayer. It is too bad that at most Masses it is difficult to meditate before and after communion.

J.C. said...

Hands down my favorite Saint, as well! A semester-long taste of the Summa in college was largely responsible for sending me to TAC later. I have also been praying that prayer before communion since college (before TAC). I first encountered it in a Novus Ordo Missal by Scepter, the Opus Dei publishers. Beautiful!! Recently I rediscovered it in my new Traditional Latin Mass missal (my others did not have it in English).
Does your church always have relics of St. Thomas?
P.S. for Michelle & Erika: Try the Tridentine Mass for more reverence, before and after communion, as well as throughout the Mass. St. Thomas' feastday is March 7th in the Traditional liturgical calendar.