It is appropriate that this week as New Zealand and Australian students prepare to return to school for a new year, the feast of the patron saint of students and Catholic schools is celebrated. Today, January 28, is the feast of the 13th century Dominican Thomas Aquinas.

I was moved months ago first hearing Fr. Robert Barron speak about the 13th century Dominican Thomas Aquinas. If you have eight minutes to spare you might appreciate  this Robert Barron video clip.

You might think that you know nothing of Aquinas or his teaching, but there are few Catholics aged over 55 who cannot sing by heart the hymn “Down in Adoration Falling,” the Benediction hymn written by Thomas for the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). This hymn (better known by most Catholics aged over 60 as Tantum Ergo Sacramentum) is a section of Thomas’ larger hymn Pange Lingua.

Today, let’s pray for students who are returning to school for the new year, especially those who might be worried by a lack of academic ability.  Here is Thomas’ students’ prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator,
true source of light and fountain of wisdom,
Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect,
dissipate the darkness which covers me,
that of sin and of ignorance.
Grant me a penetrating mind to understand,
a retentive memory,
method and ease in learning,
the lucidity to comprehend,
and abundant grace in expressing myself.
Guide the beginning of my work,
direct its progress,
and bring it to successful completion.
This I ask through Jesus Christ,
true God and true man,
living and reigning with You and the Father,
forever and ever.

And if you are still wanting more about Thomas here is a three our (free) audio book on St Thomas Aquinas from The Giants of Philosophy series.

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