Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (4: 35-41) in which Jesus calms a fierce storm which threatens to swamp the boat he and the disciples are in as they travel to the other side of the lake. After reading the Gospel Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Thomas Aquinas whose memorial we celebrate today.Fr Paul says Thomas was born of a noble family in southern Italy and was educated by the Benedictines. In the normal course of events he would have joined that order, but he decided to become a Dominican instead. His family were so scandalised by this plan they kidnapped him and kept him prisoner for over a year; but he was more obstinate than they were, and he ultimately had his way. Thomas studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. It was a time in our history of great philosophical ferment. Fr Paul explains this was when the writings of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of the ancient world, had been newly rediscovered, and they were becoming available to people in the West for the first time in a thousand years. There was much debate going on. At this time Thomas brought simple, straightforward sense. Thomas studied, and taught, and argued and, eventually, the simple, common-sense philosophy that he worked out brought an end to the debates that were taking place. Out of his work came many writings on philosophy and theology, including the Summa Theologiae, a standard textbook for many centuries and still an irreplaceable resource today. So today, Fr Paul invites to pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire us, like St Thomas, to love God with our minds as well as our hearts; and if we come across a fact or a teaching that seems to us to contradict our faith, let us not reject it but investigate it: for the truth that it contains can never contradict the truth that is God. St Thomas Aquinas…Pray for us!
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