Wednesday, January 26, 2011

St. Thomas Aquinas - sometimes Feast Days are best celebrated by stillness

I am not tired, although I have rarely been as busy as I am right now. But I find myself needing quiet. Too much in my head is me-talk. So, I plan to mark the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas by stillness & silence. I will return in a few days. (I will check my email - but the blog will be silent for now.) -Denise

"The last word of St. Thomas is not communication but silence. And it is not death which takes the pen out of his hand. His tongue is stilled by the super-abundance of life in the mystery of God. He is silent, not because he has nothing further to say; he is silent because he has been allowed to glimpse into the inexpressible depths of that mystery which is not reached by any human thought or speech.
The acts of the canonization process record: On the feast of St. Nicholas, in the year 1273, as Thomas turned back to his work after Holy Mass, he was strangely altered. He remained steadily silent; he did not write; he dictated nothing. He laid aside the Summa Theologica on which he had been working. Abruptly, in the middle of the treatise on the Sacrament of Penance, he stopped writing. Reginald, his friend, asks him, troubled: "Father, how can you want to stop such a great work?" Thomas answers only, "I can write no more." Reginald of Piperno seriously believed that his master and friend might have become mentally ill through his overwhelming burden of work. After a long while, he asks and urges once again. Thomas gives the answer: "Reginald, I can write no more. All that I have hitherto written seems to me nothing but straw. Reginald is stunned by his reply".

- Josef Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas

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