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KRAKÓW – Miracle of the Cross of St. Thomas Aquinas
Image by Fergal of Claddagh
Miracle of the Cross of St. Thomas Aquinas
Later on, when St. Thomas was in Salerno, finishing the third part of his Summa, which deals with the Passion and the Resurrection, he was kneeling before the Altar in ecstasy.
He could feel the overpowering presence of the Lord in the room. He looked up at the Crucifix.
It began to glow brightly. Jesus came alive and spoke to Thomas.
There is a very special conversation St. Thomas Aquinas had with the Lord, which we have used as a motto for our ministry.
He was told “You have written well of Me, Thomas. What would you desire as a reward?”
Thomas broke into tears, as he replied, “Nothing, Lord. I’m doing it all for you.”
At this point, St. Thomas Aquinas went into ecstasy, and levitated. His entire body floated into the air and hovered over the chapel. All the brothers in the convent came into the chapel where he was praying, and beheld him suspended in the air.
Toward the end of his life, he ceased working on the Summa Theologiae, one of the most famous treatises on the existence of God ever written.
When the brother who was working with him asked why, he replied "The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to be as much as straw after the things that have been revealed to me."
He had been celebrating the Mass; and went into ecstasy.
Thomas Aquinas never divulged what the Lord had revealed to him, but it was enough for this great man to cease working on a treatise he had spent five years developing.
As he lay dying, after he made his last confession and received viaticum, he said,
"I am receiving Thee, Price of my soul’s redemption; all my studies, my vigil and my labors have been for love of Thee. I have taught much and written much of the Most Sacred Body of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Roman Church, to whose judgment I offer and submit everything."
Two days later our Angelic Doctor, as he was called, passed to his reward with Jesus His Love.
That day, St. Albert, who was in Cologne, cried out, "Brother Thomas Aquinas, my son in Christ, the light of the Church, is dead. God has revealed it to me."
SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS
Feast: January 28
The Italian family of Aquino traced its ancestry back to the Lombard kings and was linked with several of the royal houses of Europe. Landulph, father of Thomas Aquinas, held the titles of Count of Aquino and Lord of Loreto, Acerro, and Belcastro; he was nephew of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and also connected to the family of King Louis IX of France, whose life precedes this; his wife, Theodora, Countess of Teano, was descended from the Norman barons who had conquered Sicily some two centuries earlier. Thomas himself, at maturity, was a man of imposing stature, massive build, and fair complexion, and appeared more of a Norseman than a south Italian. The place and date of his birth are not definitely known, but it is assumed that he was born in 1226 at his father’s castle of Roccasecca, whose craggy ruins are still visible on a mountain which rises above the plain lying between Rome and Naples. He was the sixth son in the family. While Thomas was still a child, his little sister, who slept in the same room with him and their nurse, was instantly killed one night by a bolt of lightning. This shocking experience caused Thomas to be extremely nervous during thunderstorms all his life long, and while a storm raged he often took refuge in a church. After his death, there arose a popular devotion to him as a protector from thunderstorms and sudden death.
A few miles to the south of Roccasecca, on a high plateau, stands the most famous of Italian monasteries, Monte Cassino, the abbot of which, at the time, was Thomas’ uncle. When he was about nine years old the boy was sent to Cassino, in care of a tutor, to be educated in the Benedictine school which adjoined the cloister. In later years, when Thomas had achieved renown, the aged monks liked to recall the grave and studious child who had pored over their manuscripts, and who would ask them questions that revealed his lively intelligence and his deeply religious bent. Thomas was popular too with his companions, though he seldom took part in their games. He spent five happy years in the school at Cassino, returning home now and again to see his parents.
On the advice of the abbot, when Thomas had reached the age of fourteen, he went to the University of Naples to begin the seven years’ undergraduate course prescribed in all European universities. He lived with his tutor, who continued to supervise his life.
Under a famous teacher, Peter Martin, Thomas went through the Trivium, the three-year preliminary training in logic, rhetoric, and grammar, which also included the study of Latin literature and Aristotle’s logic. This was followed by four years of the Quadrivium, which comprised advanced work in mathematics, music, geometry, and astronomy or astrology. In addition to these subjects, there was also some study of physics under a celebrated scholar, Peter of Ireland, and extensive reading in philosophy. It was then the custom for pupils to recapitulate to the class a lecture they had just heard. Thomas’ fellow students observed that, when his turn came, the summary he gave was usually clearer and better reasoned than the original discourse had been.
All this time Thomas was becoming more and more attracted to the youthful Dominican Order, with its stress on intellectual training. He attended its church and became friendly with some of the friars. To the prior of the Benedictine house in Naples Thomas confided his desire to become a Dominican. In view, however, of the almost certain opposition of his family, the prior advised him to foster his vocation, and wait for three years before taking any decisive step. The passage of time only strengthened Thomas’ determination and early in 1244, at the age of nineteen, he was received as a novice and clothed in the habit of the Brothers Preachers.
News of the ceremony, which took place before a large assemblage, was soon carried to Roccasecca. The members of his family were indignant, not that Thomas had joined a religious community, but that he, scion of a noble family, had chosen one of the humble, socially scorned, mendicant orders. His mother, especially, had expected that he would become a great churchman, possibly abbot of Monte Cassino. Appeals were sent to the Pope and to the archbishop of Naples; the Countess Theodora herself set out for Naples to persuade her son to return home. The friars hurried Thomas off to their convent in Rome, then sent him on to join the Father General of the Dominicans, who was leaving for Paris. The countess now sent word to her other sons, who were serving with the army in Tuscany, to waylay the fugitive. Thomas was overtaken as he was resting at the roadside, and was forcibly brought back. He was kept in confinement in the castle of San Giovanni. His sisters were allowed to visit him, and although they tried to undermine his resolution, before long they were won over to his side, and secretly got books for him from the friars at Naples. During his captivity Thomas studied Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Peter Lombard’s Sentences, and learned by heart long passages of the Bible. His brothers tried to break his resistance by introducing into his room a woman of loose character. Thomas seized a burning brand from the hearth and drove her out, then knelt and implored God to grant him the gift of perpetual chastity. His early biographers write that he at once fell into a deep sleep, during which he was visited by two angels, who girded him around the waist with a cord so tight that it waked him. Thomas himself did not reveal this vision, until, on his deathbed, he described it to his old friend and confessor, Brother Reginald, adding that from this time on he was never again troubled by temptations of the flesh.
At last, influenced by the remonstrances that came from both the Pope and the Emperor, his family began to yield. A band of Dominicans hurried in disguise to the prison, where, we are told, with the help of his sisters, Thomas was let down by a cord into their arms, and they took him joyfully to Naples. The following year he made his full profession there, before the prior who had first clothed him with the habit of St. Dominic. Somewhat later, the powerful Aquino family obtained from Pope Innocent IV permission to have Thomas appointed abbot of Monte Cassino without resigning his Dominican habit. When Thomas declined this honor, the Pope expressed a willingness to promote him to the archiepiscopal see of Naples, but the young man made clear his determination to refuse all offices.
The Dominicans now decided to send Thomas to Paris to complete his studies under their great teacher, Albertus Magnus, and he set out on foot with the Father General, who was again on his way northward. Carrying only their breviaries and their satchels, they made their way over the Alps in midwinter, and trudged first to Paris, and then, it is thought, on to Cologne, where Albertus was lecturing. The schools there were full of young clerics from all corners of Europe, eager to learn and discuss. The humble, reserved newcomer was not immediately appreciated by students or professors. In fact, his silence at disputations and his bulky figure won him the name of "the dumb Sicilian ox." A fellow student, out of pity for his apparent dullness, offered to explain the daily lessons, and Thomas thankfully accepted. But when they came to a difficult passage which baffled the would-be teacher, he was amazed when his pupil explained it clearly. Albertus once asked his pupils for their views on an obscure passage in the mystical treatise, The Book of Divine Names, by the ancient author known as Dionysius the Areopagite. Albertus was struck by the brilliance of Thomas’ explanation. The next day he questioned Thomas in public and at the close exclaimed, "We have called Thomas ‘dumb ox,’ but I tell you his bellowing will yet be heard to the uttermost parts of the earth." He forthwith had the young man moved to a cell beside his own, took him on walks, and invited him to draw on his own stores of knowledge.
It was at this period that Thomas began his commentary on the Ethics of Aristotle.
The general chapter, which decreed that Albertus should go to Paris to take the degree of Doctor and occupy a chair in the university, arranged that Thomas should accompany him. They set out, on foot, as always; they ate by the roadside the food given them in charity, and slept wherever they found shelter, or even under the stars.
At the Dominican convent in Paris Thomas proved himself an exemplary friar, excelling in humility as he did in learning. Albertus drew such crowds to his lectures that he had to deliver them in a public square. It is likely that Thomas was always present. He made one intimate friend in Paris, a Franciscan student, later to be known to the world as St. Bonaventura, the "Seraphic Doctor," as Thomas was to be the "Angelic Doctor." The two seemed to complement each other perfectly. Bonaventura was the elder by four years, but they were at the same stage in their studies, and both received the degree of Bachelor of Theology in 1248.
That same year Albertus went back to Cologne, accompanied by Thomas, who lectured under him, and, as a Bachelor, supervised the students’ work, corrected their essays, and read with them. Thomas exhibited a marvelous talent for imparting knowledge.
After he had received Holy Orders from the archbishop of Cologne, his religious fervour became more marked. One of his biographers writes, "When consecrating at Mass, he would be overcome by such intensity of devotion as to be dissolved in tears, utterly absorbed in its mysteries and nourished with its fruits." It was at this period that he became celebrated as a preacher, and his sermons in the German vernacular attracted enormous congregations. He was also occupied writing Aristotelian treatises and commentaries on the Scriptures. In the autumn of 1252, Thomas returned to Paris to study for his doctorate. On the way he preached at the court of the Duchess of Brabant, who had requested his advice on how to treat the Jews in her dominion. He wrote for her a dissertation urging humanity and tolerance.
Academic degrees were then conferred for the most part only on men actually intending to teach. To become a Bachelor a man must have studied at least six years and attained the age of twenty-one; to be a Master or a Doctor, he must have studied eight more years and be thirty-five years of age. But when Thomas in 1252 began lecturing publicly in Paris, he was not yet twenty-eight.
The popularity of the lectures of the young Dominican inflamed a situation which was already acute. The secular or non-monastic clergy, who from the early years of the universities had furnished the bulk of the teaching staffs, saw dangerous rivals in the eloquent and popular young friar preachers, who were often less conventional in their methods and approach. They appealed to Rome to forbid the intrusion of either Franciscans or Dominicans into what they regarded as their particular preserve, and Innocent IV in 1254 withdrew all favor from the two orders. However, he died at about this time and his successor, Alexander IV, was to prove friendly to the friars. The opposition to their admission to teaching posts in the universities grew even more bitter with the publication of a libellous tract, On the Dangers of These Last Times, by William de Saint-Armour, in which both the ideas and the organization of the mendicant orders were denounced. Representatives of the two orders were now summoned to Rome, Thomas being chosen as one of the Dominican delegates. He pleaded with such success that the decision was given in their favour. The Pope now compelled the university authorities to admit Thomas and Bonaventura to positions as teachers and to the degree of Doctor of Theology. This was in October, 1257, when Thomas was thirty-two years old.
From 1259 to 1269 Thomas was in Italy teaching in the school for select students attached to the papal court, which accompanied the Pope through all his changes of residence. As a consequence, he lectured and preached in many Italian towns. In 1263 he probably visited London as representative from the Roman province at the general chapter of the Dominican Order. In 1269 he was back again for a year or two in Paris.
By then King Louis IX held him in such esteem that he consulted him on important matters of state. The university referred to him a question on which the older theologians were themselves divided, namely, whether, in the Sacrament of the altar, the accidents remained in reality in the consecrated Host, or only in appearance. After much fervent prayer, Thomas wrote his answer in the form of a treatise, still preserved, and laid it on the altar before offering it to the public. His decision was accepted by the university and afterwards by the whole Church. On this occasion we first hear of his receiving the Lord’s approval of what he had written. Appearing in a vision, the Saviour said to him, "Thou hast written well of the Sacrament of My body," whereupon, it is reported, Thomas passed into an ecstasy and remained so long raised in the air that there was time to summon many of the brothers to behold the spectacle. Again, towards the end of his life, when at Salerno he was laboring over the third part of his great treatise, Against the Pagans (Summa Contra Gentiles)>, dealing with Christ’s Passion and Resurrection, a sacristan saw him late one night kneeling before the altar and heard a voice, coming, it seemed, from the crucifix, which said, "Thou hast written well of Me, Thomas; what reward wouldst thou have?" To which Thomas replied, "Nothing but Thyself, Lord."
After his second period of teaching in Paris he was recalled to Rome, and from there was sent, in 1272, to lecture at the University of Naples, in his home city. On the feast of St. Nicholas the following year, as he said Mass in the convent, he received a revelation which so overwhelmed him that he never again wrote or dictated. He put aside his chief work, the Summary of Theology (Summa Theologica), still incomplete. To Brother Reginald’s anxious query, he replied, "The end of my labors is come. All that I have written seems to me so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me."
He was already ill when he was commissioned by the Pope to attend the general council at Lyons, which had for its business the discussion of the reunion of the Greek and Latin Churches. He was to bring with him his treatise, Against the Errors of the Greeks. On the way he became so much worse that he was taken to the Cistercian abbey of Fossa Nuova near Terracina. Yielding to the entreaties of the monks, he began to expound the "Song of Songs," but was unable to finish the interpretation. He made his confession to Brother Reginald, received the Viaticum from the abbot, repeated aloud his own beautiful hymn, "With all my soul I worship Thee, Thou hidden Deity," and in the early hours of March 7, 1274, gave up his spirit. He was only forty-eight years of age. On that day his old master, Albertus Magnus, then in Cologne, burst suddenly into tears in the midst of the community, and exclaimed: "Brother Thomas Aquinas, my son in Christ, the light of the Church, is dead! God has revealed it to me."
Thomas was canonized by Pope John XXII at Avignon, in 1323. In 1367 the Dominicans got possession of his body and translated it with great pomp to Toulouse, where it still lies in the Church of St. Sernin. Pope Pius V conferred on Thomas the title of Doctor of the Church, and Leo XIII, in 1880, declared him the patron of all Catholic universities, academies, colleges, and schools. Among his emblems are the following: ox, chalice, dove, and monstrance.
Of his writings, which fill twenty volumes, we cannot here speak at length. As a philosopher, the great contribution of Aquinas was his use of the works of Aristotle to build up a rational and ordered system of Christian doctrine, his method of exposition and proof being scientific and lucid. He would first state the problem or question under consideration, next, one by one, fairly and objectively, the arguments against his own point of view, often citing the authorities on which they rested. Then came a statement of his own position with the arguments to support it, and, finally, one by one, the answers to his opponents. The general tone of his arguments was invariably judicial and serene. To him faith and reason could never be contradictory, for they both came from the one source of all truth, God, the Absolute One. The most important of his books were the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles, which were written between 1265 and 1272. Together they form the fullest and most exact exposition of Catholic dogma yet given to the world. Over the former he laboured for five years, and left it, as we have said, unfinished. Almost at once it was recognized as the greatest intellectual achievement of the period. Three centuries later, at the momentous Council of Trent, this work was one of the three authoritative sources of Catholic faith laid down before the assembly, the other two being the Bible and the Decretals of the Popes. No theologian save Augustine has had so much influence on the Western Church as the "Angelic Doctor."
His work was not confined to the fields of dogma, apologetics, and philosophy. When Pope Urban IV decided to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi, he asked Thomas to compose a liturgical office and Mass for the day. These are remarkable both for their doctrinal accuracy and their tenderness of feeling. Two of his hymns, the "Verbum Supernum" ("Word on High") and "Pange Lingua" ("Sing my Tongue") are familiar to all Catholics, because their final verses are regularly sung at Benediction; but there are others, notably the "Lauda Sion" ("Praise Zion") and the "Adoro Te Devote" ("With all my Soul I Worship Thee"), hardly less popular.
About his attainments Thomas was singularly modest. Asked if he were never tempted to pride, he replied, "No." If any such thoughts occurred to him, he said, his common sense immediately dispelled them by showing him their absurdity. He was always apt to think others better than himself, and never was he known to lose his temper in argument, or to say anything unkind. As a young friar in Paris, he was once mistakenly corrected, by the official corrector, while reading aloud the Latin text for the day in the refectory. He accepted the emendation and pronounced what he knew to be a false quantity. On being asked afterwards how he could consent to make so obvious a blunder, he replied, "It matters little whether a syllable be long or short, but it matters much to practice humility and obedience."
During a stay in Bologna, a lay brother who did not know him ordered him to accompany him to the town where he had business to transact. The prior, it seemed, had told him to take as companion any brother he found disengaged. Thomas was lame and although he was aware that the brother was making a mistake, he followed him at once, and took several scoldings for walking so slowly. Later the lay brother discovered his identity, and was overcome with self-reproach. To his abject apologies Thomas replied simply, "Do not worry, dear brother…. I am the one to blame. . . . I am only sorry I could not be more useful." When others asked him why he had not explained who he was, he answered: "Obedience is the perfection of the religious life; for by it a man submits to man for the love of God, even as God made Himself obedient to men for their salvation."
Image by phill.d
If you go down to the woods today!
There are still some very strange and secret places hid away if you know were to look for them!!
One such place is situated deep in the woods near the village of Adel North Leeds. This heavily fortified structure has remained a mystery for many years. Speculation in the village was rife that it was a Second World War air raid shelter. This bunker was actually built by the Leeds Permanent building society to keep there documents safe during world war 2.
Heavy doors and grilles protected the entrances and an armoured steel door guarded the main entrance.
The bunker provided 25,000 cubic feet of storage space on two levels. It was built of reinforced concrete and had a watertight envelope of brick and asphalt.
It was essential to bring electricity to the bunker and a road up to the entrance had to be made so vehicles could take deeds to and from the safe.
Boxes of deeds began to rust because of condensation and several methods of drying were tried before a cure was found.
The bunker was also used by Leeds Corporation to store many of its historic documents there, including the Charter granted to the city in the 17th century by King Charles II.
*Part of the Adel deep level bunker set*
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Dayalbagh Educational Instt, Agra
Image by ‘Camera baba’ aka Udit Kulshrestha
Faculty of Social Sciences, DEI.
Dayalbagh Educational Institute or D.E.I. is an educational institution located at Dayalbagh on the outskirts of the historic city of Agra, approximately 200 kilometers from New Delhi. The institute has been given the deemed university status by the University Grants Commission of India in 1981. (http://www.dei.ac.in)
Initially founded as a primary school in 1917 and then a technical college in 1927 for imparting training in automobile, electrical and mechanical engineering, it later developed into a Deemed University. Dr. M.B. Lal Sahab, a former Vice Chancellor of the Lucknow University, founded the institution was also a director of D.E.I.
The mission statement of the university is “To establish a world renowned Institution and provide a broad-based, integrated, multifaceted, inter-disciplinary, value-based, well-rounded and world class education system with emphasis on: Academic Excellence and Holistic Development”
The Institute has following faculties:
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Commerce
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Education
Faculty of Arts
In the words of Revered Dr. M. B. Lal Sahab, Founder Director, D.E.I.
“It is not a big University or big building or larger number of teachers or larger number of departments which raises the status of a University. It is the quality of the work that makes a University great.”
“….Persons, at the most, versed in the routine methods of working but lacking in the basic concept of human values, and in a comprehensive need-based orientation often find themselves badly geared to the socio-economic setup in the country. This growing crisis has to be averted. We should try to see that modern trends become only supplements and not substitutes of our basic concepts of education. We do not like to put the clock back but would certainly do well to introduce a more human and realistic approach in education to meet the present-day needs of our society.”
Revered Dr. M.B. Lal Sahab, Founder Director, D.E.I. (Eminent Educationist & Ex-Vice Chancellor, Lucknow University)
The Foundation of D.E.I. goes back 10 1917, with the foundation of Radhasoami Educational Institute. The importance of Education is reflected in the following words of Revered Sir Anand Sarup Kt., August Founder of Dayalbagh Convocation Address, Agra University, 1935
“…..Education, more education, education made perfect is the only panacea for our country’s ills and evils ….. ….. And when this is accomplished, religion, philosophy and science shall stand reconciled and the vast Universe, which now appears a great mystery, shall be recognized as the greatest “Teaching University” and the forces of spirit, shall have good reason to rejoice and sing hallelujahs at this their greatest victory over the forces of matter. Men will then readily recognize one another as brothers, and communities will sink their differences and work for the common good. Mankind will then come to understand the proper use of the acquisitive impulse, and rancour and strife, distrust and jealously, that disfigure the human society of today, will cease to exist in the world.”
- Revered Sir Anand Sarup Kt., August Founder of Dayalbagh Convocation Address, Agra University, 1935
Dayalbagh Educational Institute has a unique Educational System, with the following key attributes: Develop and nurture learning capability on a firm quality-based foundation A Continuous evaluation system Supplements classroom instruction with real-world practical applications Teamwork nurtured through group projects Work-based training Active involvement in co-curricular activities which carries weight in overall grading
Location: The Dayalbagh Educational Institute is located amidst the pristine environs of Dayalbagh (a self-contained colony well-known for its serene environment, secular establishments like the industries, the educational institutions, the agriculture farm etc. and the activities of its inmates who lead an active disciplined and co-operative community life, conforming to the high spiritual ideals of their faith ), on the outskirts of the historic city of Agra, approximately 200 kilometers from New Delhi.
The campus is situated in idyllic surroundings, away from the din and noise of the city, providing an excellent academic setting nestled between lush green fields, focusing on a simple, disciplined and scholarly life in harmony with nature.