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Tag Archives: St Thomas

“ROLLING AROUND IN STINGING NETTLES – DO WE REALLY HAVE TO IMITATE THE SAINTS ALL THE WAY?”

“The types of sanctity present within the Church are varied but, howsoever numerous and whatsoever may be their characteristic, the Saints are all heroes. Though it is not always possible to imitate them – points out Cardinal Newman – they all show us the invisible world and reveal to us the way which leads to Heaven.

TEMPTATIONS IN THE WILDERNESS

‘There was St Benedict, who, when a boy, left Rome, and betook himself to the Apennines in the neighbourhood. Three years did he live in prayer, fasting, and solitude, while the evil one assaulted him with temptation. One day, when it grew so fierce that he feared for his perseverance, he suddenly flung himself, in his scanty hermit’s garb, among the thorns and nettles near him, thus turning the current of his thoughts, and chastising the waywardness of the flesh, by sensible stings and smarts.

THE MINISTER OF SATAN PAID HIM A VISIT IN HIS STUDY

There was St Thomas, too, the Angelical Doctor, as he is called, as holy as he was profound, or rather the more profound in theological science, because he was so holy. Even from a youth he had sought wisdom, he had stretched out his hands on high, and directed his soul to her, and possessed his heart with her from the beginning; and so, when the minister of Satan came into his very room, and no other defence was at hand, he seized a burning brand from the hearth, and drove that wicked one, scared and baffled, out of his presence.

BY THE SOVEREIGN GRACE OF GOD

Not all Saints have been such in youth: for there are those on the contrary, who, not till after a youth of sin, have been brought by the sovereign grace of God. Others have been called, not from vice and ungodliness, but from a life of mere ordinary blamelessness, or from a state of lukewarmness, or from thoughtlessness, to heroic greatness; and these have often given up lands, and property, and honours, and station, and repute, for Christ’s sake.

KINGS HAVE DESCENDED FROM THEIR THRONES

Kings have descended from their thrones, bishops have given up their rank and influence, the learned have given up their pride of intellect, to become poor monks, to live on coarse fare, to be clad in rough cloth, to rise and pray while others slept, to mortify the tongue with silence and the limbs with toil, and to awow an unconditional obedience to another. In early times there were the Martyrs, many of them girls and even children, who bore the most cruel, the most prolonged, the most diversified tortures, rather than deny the faith of Christ.

… RATHER THAN DENY THE FAITH OF CHRIST

Then came the Missionaries among the heathen, who, for the love of souls, threw themselves into the midst of strangers, risking or perhaps losing their lives in the attempt to extend the empire of their Lord and Saviour, and who, whether living or dying, have by their lives or by their deaths succeeded in bringing whole nations into the Church. Others have devoted themselves in the time of war or captivity, to the redemption of Christian slaves from pagan or Mahometan masters or conquerors; others to the care of the sick in pestilences, or in hospitals; others to the instruction of the poor; others to the education of children; others to incessant preaching and the duties of the confessional; others to devout study and meditation; others to a life of intercession and prayer.

THEIR VERY VARIETY IS A TOKEN OF GOD’S WORKMANSHIP

Very various are the Saints; their very variety is a token of God’s workmanship; but however various, and whatever was their special line of duty, they have been heroes in it; they have attained such noble self-command, they have so crucified the flesh, they have so renounced the world; they are so meek, so gentle, so tender-hearted, so merciful, so sweet, so cheerful, so full of prayer, so diligent, so forgetful of injuries; they have sustained such great and continued pains, they have persevered in such vast labours, they have made such valiant confessions, they have wrought such abundant miracles, they have been blessed with such strange successes, that they have been the means of setting up a standard before us of truth, of magnanimity, of holiness, of love.

THE SAINTS POINT TO CHRIST

They are not always our examples, we are not always bound to follow them; no more than we are bound to obey literally some of our Lord’s precepts, such as turning the cheek or giving away the coat; no more than we can follow the course of the sun, moon, or stars in the heavens; but, though not always our examples, they are always our standard of right and good; they are raised up to be monuments and lessons, they remind us of God, they introduce us into the unseen world, they teach us what Christ loves, they track out for us the way which leads heavenward. They are to us who see them, what wealth, notoriety, rank, and name are to the multitude of men who live in darkness, – objects of our veneration and of our homage.’”
– Bl. John Henry Newman. This article was published in “De Vita Contemplativa” (Monthly magazine for Monasteries), Year V – Number 7 – July 2011

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PRAYERS TO ST THOMAS, APOSTLE

Almighty and ever-living God, who strengthened your Apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in your Son’s Resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Dear St Thomas, you were once slow in believing that Christ had gloriously risen; but later, because you had seen him, you exclaimed: ‘My Lord and my God!’ According to an ancient story, you rendered most powerful assistance for constructing a church in a place where pagan priests opposed it. Please bless architects, builders and carpenters that through them the Lord may be honoured. Amen.

O glorious St Thomas, your grief for Jesus was such that it would not let you believe he had risen unless you actually saw him and touched his wounds. But your love for Jesus was equally great and led you to give up your life for him. Pray for us that we may grieve for our sins which were the cause of Christ’s sufferings. Help us to spend ourselves in his service and so to earn the title of ‘Blessed’ which Jesus applied to those who would believe in him without seeing him.

 

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INTERCESSIONS ON THE FEAST OF ST THOMAS, APOSTLE

Through the intercession of Saint Thomas, we pray:

R. Strengthen us in faith, O Lord!

Amid doubt, darkness, and despair: (R.)

Amid indifference, hostility, and arrogance: (R.)

Amid questions and fears: (R.)

(Personal intentions)

Our Father…

May God keep us steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (c.f. 1 Co 1:8)

 

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FEAST OF ST THOMAS, APOSTLE; GOSPEL READING (JOHN 20:24-29)

MY LORD AND MY GOD.

Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be an unbeliever! Believe!”
Thomas then said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see me, don’t you? Happy are those who have not seen, but believe.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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FEAST OF ST THOMAS, APOSTLE; PSALM (PSALM 116)

R. Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.

1. Alleluia!
O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples! (R.)

2. Strong is his love for us;
he is faithful for ever. (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
You believe, Thomas, because you can see me, says the Lord.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.
Alleluia!

 

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FEAST OF ST THOMAS, APOSTLE; BIBLE READING (EPHESIANS 2:19-22)

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone.

As every structure is aligned to him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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PRAYER TO ST THOMAS, APOSTLE

Grant us, O Lord, to celebrate with joy the feast of your blessed apostle Thomas; may we ever be supported by his intercession and with fitting devotion, imitate his faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 
 

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