My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

From Medieval Saints on Yahoo and the Experience Project

This great doctor of the church was born the son of the count of Aquino in 1225. The little boy studied at a Benedictine Abbey. Even as a small child his mind pondered great theological questions. He was later sent to the University of Naples where he studied under Peter of Ireland

As he became older, Thomas grew in his love for God and the apostolic life. He petitioned the Dominicans for acceptance but was told to wait until he was 18 years old. 

His family was less than thrilled with the prospect of their brother becoming a religious. He was literally kidnapped by his brothers and locked away in a tower for a year. His brothers sent a prostitute to tempt him, but it is said that he drove her out of his room with a burning brand. Legend says that angels came down to gird him with the cincture of perpetual chastity. 

The Chastity of St Thomas
The chastity of St. Thomas by Father Lawrence  Lew, OP via Flickr  licensed by cc.

His sisters came to plead with him to find another life, but Thomas was able to convince them that his vocation was real. They eventually helped him to escape his tower prison and return to the Dominicans. 

Thomas studied in Cologne and Paris. His great mind made him an intellectual prodigy. Maybe his gifts, as well as his size, made him the target of bullying and mocking. Because he was so large and silent his classmates thought he was stupid and called him a Dumb Ox. 

His teacher, lifelong friend, and loyal defender,  St Albert Magnus

said of him, “We call this man a dumb ox, but his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world."

Thomas was a great teacher and preacher. He did a remarkable amount of writing and traveling. He died while on the road to the Council of Lyons in obedience to the Pope's command. 

And from the Catholic Herold:
“He confessed his sins and he received his God; and we may be sure that the great philosopher had entirely forgotten philosophy. The confessor ran forth as if in fear, and whispered that his confession had been that of a child of five.”

St Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas by Dr. Lawrence Lew  OP  via Flickr licensed by cc. 

St. Thomas's greatest work is the Summa Theologica - available on Kindle for 99 cents!

Two of my favorite stories about the saint!

1.  St. Thomas Aquinas was walking outside and two nuns rushed up to him with a great big bound tablet. They asked St. Thomas if he would be so kind, in his spare time, to write out all that was necessary for the nuns to do so that they could make it into heaven.

St. Thomas graciously agreed and took the volume from the sisters. They were very grateful and left with high hopes that perhaps he could finish this big task within a decade or so.

To their great surprise, St. Thomas showed up the next day, with the tablet, and told them that he had finished the work! The nuns were stunned, but they thanked the saint and took the volume, rushing back to the convent to see all of the words that he had written.

They opened the first page and this was all that was written:

How to Get to Heaven - Will It!!!

In other words (quite a few more "other words!") we all have the ability to make it to heaven, but we have to want to do so, and we have to will ourselves above and out of our own way to get there!

It took place in the monastery where certain persons enjoyed making fun of the saint's weight problem.  "Quick, Brother Thomas", they called from upstairs, "There's a pig flying around outside.  Come to the window and see.  Hurry!"

As the saint puffed and panted to the window snickers were barely stifled.

"Come, now, Thomas, surely you didn't really think there was a pig flying outside?" they teased.

The saint replied, "I would sooner believe that pigs can fly than that my own brothers in religion could be uncharitable."
Other words of wisdom from the saint:
"Nor has the Church failed before the assaults of demons: for she is like a tower of refuge to all who fight against the Devil."
"The things that we love tell us what we are."  
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without faith, no explanation is possible." 
       "Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason."
"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."
       "Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of         wine." 

  Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas - Missionary of Truth