The VerbumQUO (mar7quo.htm)

Call upon the "dumb ox" to defeat the devil and dumb luck!

The VerbumQUO for today is "sapientia", Latin for "wisdom" taken from today's Introit, Epistle and Gradual, and there is no saint who better exemplifies this in the history of the Church than the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      This series for Lent highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    The VerbumQUO for today's feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas is sapientia, the Latin word for "wisdom" and is taken from today's Proper, beginning with the Introit from Ecclesiasticus 15: 5:
      In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus epiritu sapientiae, et intellectus: stolam gloriae induit eum.
      In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.

    This passage, by the way, was written 200 years before Jesus by Jesus. No, the latter was not Christ per se but a man called by the same name as Father George Leo Haydock writes in his Comprehensive Catholic Commentary in the Douay-Rheims Bible:

    "This book is so called from a Greek word that signifies preachers: because, like an excellent preacher, it gives admirable lessons of all virtues. The author was Jesus, the son of Sirach of Jerusalem, who flourished about two hundred years before Christ. As it was written after the time of Esdras, it is not in the Jewish canon; but is received as canonical and divine by the Catholic Church, instructed by apostolical tradition, and directed by the Spirit of God. It was first written in Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek by another Jesus, the grandson of the author."

    It is often called part of the Book of Wisdom in Epistle readings with the intro, Lectio libri Sapientiae - "Lesson from the Book of Wisdom." In today's Epistle we see the special lesson taken from the Book of Wisdom 7: 7-14:

      Lectio libri Sapientiae. Optavi, et datus est mihi sensus: et incovavit, et venit in me spiritus sapientiae: et praeposui illam regnis et sedibus et divitias nihil esse duxi in comparatione illius: nec comparvi illi lapidem aurum in comparatione illus, iutum aestimabitur argentum in conspectu illius Super salutem et speciem dilexi illam, et propusui pro luce habere illam quoniam inextinguibile est lumen illius. Venerunt autem mihi omnia bona pariter cum illa, ete innumerabilis honestas per manus illius , eet latatus sum in omnibus: quoniam antecedebat me ista sapientia, et ignorabam quoniam horum omnium mater est. Quam sine efictione dedici, et sine invidia communico, eet honestatem illius non abscondo. Infinitus nim thesaurus est hominibus: quo qui usi sunt, participes facti sunt amictiae Dei, propter disciplinae dona commendati.
      Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. I wished, and understanding was given me; and I called, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me; and I preferred here before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches, nothing in comparison of her. Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone, for all gold in comparison of her is as a little sand, and silver in respect to her shall be counted as clay. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light, for her light cannot be put out. Now all good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands. And I rejoiced in them all: for this wisdom went before me, and I knew not that she was the mother of them all: which I have learned without guile, and communicate without envy and her riches I hide not; for she is an infinite treasure to men: which they that use, become the friends of God, being commended for the gift of discipline.

    This Proper is so proper for the Feast of the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas for Thomas eschewed riches, honors and the flesh, realizing that nothing could compare to God and His spiritual riches. Thomas, as we see from his biography, realized the infinite treasure - there again is the word from yesterday thesauro - of eternal salvation through the incomparable treasure given us with the True Faith founded by Christ. Thomas learned without guile and the angels protected him from guile, keeping him pure and chaste and focused only on spiritual things, yet knowledgeable to the literature offered by the world in order that he might put in perspective and argue against things of this world in prioritizing what is truly important. Wisdom indeed that could only come from the Source of Wisdom - the Holy Ghost.

    The word is again employed in today's Gradual by David the Prophet in Psalm 36: 30-31:

      Os justi mediabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium. V. Lex Dei ejus in cordee ipsius: et non supplantabuntur gressus ejus.
      The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment. V. The law of his God is in his heart: and his steps shall not be supplanted.

    No one spoke judgment better than the man who earlier in life was called the "dumb ox" but turned into the most brilliant mind the Church ever knew. The beloved and brilliant Benedictine Abbot Dom Gueranger writes of the man of Aquin:

    "He rose up in the Church many centuries after the apostolic age, nay, long after the four great Latin doctors, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory. The Church, the ever young and joyful mother, is justly proud of her Thomas, and has honored him with the splendid title of the angelical doctor, on account of the extraordinary gift of understanding wherewith God has blessed him; just as his contemporary and friend, St. Bonaventure, has been called the seraphic doctor, on account of the wonderful unction which abounds in his writings of this worthy disciple of St. Francis. Thomas of Aquin is an honor to mankind, for perhaps there never existed a man whose intellect surpassed his. He is one of the brightest ornaments of the Church, for not one of her doctors has equaled him in the clearness and precision wherewith he has explained her doctrines. He received the thanks of Christ Himself, for having well written of Him and His mysteries. How welcome ought this feast of such a saint to be to us during this season of the year, when our main study is our return and conversion to God! What greater blessing could we have than to come to the knowledge of God, of His claims, and of His perfections, been the greatest misery of our past lives? Here we have a saint whose prayers are most efficacious in procuring for us that knowledge, which is unspotted and converteth souls, and giveth wisdom to little ones, and gladdeneth the heart, and enlightened the eyes [Psalm 18: 8-9]. Happy we if this spiritual wisdom be granted us! We shall then see the vanity of everything that is not eternal, the righteousness of the divine commandments, the malice of sin, and the infinite goodness wherewith God treats us when we repent. Let us learn from the Church the claims of the angelical doctor to our admiration and confidence."

    What wise, yay, sapient advice. Yes, we can see from the Latin sapientia we have the English word "sapient" as Webster's defines:

    "sapience" - noun "[From Latin sapiens, -entis, pres. part. of sapere to taste, to have sense, know.] Wise; sage; discerning; = often ironical. - Syn. See WISE. - sapience, sapiency, n - sapiently, adverb."

    Thomas tasted as a youngster the Angelic salutation and swallowed it, literally, and from within his faith and his love for the Blessed Mother was so strong that God blessed him with a thirst for Truth and guided him to wise tutors such as Saint Albert the Great of whom Thomas learned philosophy and theology, who, while equal in holiness, the student surpassed the teacher in wisdom.

    It is no coincidence that Holy Mother Church chose for this feast the Introit from Ecclesiasticus for as mentioned above, it means "preacher" and, at the time, there were no greater preachers than the Order of Preachers, the wondrous Dominicans founded by Saint Dominic. Thomas composed numerous hymns, most notably Pange Lingua,Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris to name just a few of the beautiful songs dedicated to God and a vehicle for bringing such great vehicles of praise and adoration to Almighty God and benefit the Communion of Saints during exposition of the Divine Mystery, Benediction, and other forms of expressing our dependence on God and He alone in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that truly blossomed in the century of saints - the Thirteenth Century.

    The holy wisdom, which exuded from Thomas on his lips and from his pen, are indeed a great gift to the Church and needed today more than ever, especially when a non-Thomist like Joseph Ratzinger has sought to alter the thought process of the faithful for over 40 years. The faithful have been uprooted from the Faith of their fathers because what is preached today is foreign from the True Church, the Church of the Aquinas. Even in the 1800's Dom Gueranger signaled the clarion that this subterfuge and uprooting was underway:

    "But thou has not lost thy power of working for the Church. Aid her in her combats against error. She holds thy teachings in the highest estimation, because she feels that none of her saints has ever known so well as thou, the secrets and mysteries of her divine Spouse. Now, perhaps more than in any other age, truths are decayed among the children of men [Psalm 11: 2]; strengthen us in our faith, procure us light. Check the conceit of those shallow self-constituted philosophers, who dare to sit in judgment on the actions and decisions of the Church, and to force their contemptible theories upon a generation that is too ill-instructed to detect their fallacies. The atmosphere around us is gloomy with ignorance; loose principles, and truths spoilt by cowardly compromise, are the fashions of our times; pray for us; bring us back to that bold and simple acceptance of truth, which gives life to the intellect and joy to the heart."

    Oh, the Abbot's words are so pertinent to these times and the ignorance is everywhere. How else could those in charge have let down their guard so readily and allowed the enemies of God and His saints, most notably the holy doctors of the Church, Thomas being one of the foremost adapted by the infallible, dogmatic Council of Trent, to be invaded? In this day when so few truly know their faith, let us take courage to study and know the Faith and like Thomas, reforge the landscape with true disciples of the Truths and Traditions upheld by Thomas and all the saints from Saint Peter through Pope Pius XII.

    While the world assaulted Thomas and he resisted, in these times those assaulted when the Trojan horse of the Rhine's heretics invaded, those who should have defended the fortress cowered and have given in, turning into mercenaries and selling out; something Thomas would have rightly chastised and resisted with all his force. Such foolishness would never have occurred on Thomas' watch for he turned his back on the world, the flesh and the devil.

    Oh, if only those who studied Thomas in their formative years would have taken this Angelic Doctor more seriously and, like Thomas, scorned vanity, pride and ego; oh, if only! But they took another course and thus we find today that God has withdrawn His graces and holy wisdom from those who pose as the wise ones today. Let us hope this holy wisdom will arise out of the ranks of the remnant Church where Truth and Tradition are still the foundation that spurred Thomas on.

    As for the modern leaders, proven to be wolves in shepherds' clothing, wise they are not. How they have gotten as far as they have in the deception is two-fold, and it wouldn't hurt to call upon the "dumb ox" to defeat the devil and dumb luck!

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

VerbumQUO for the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas