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The Greatest Virtue

st_thomas_aquinasTomorrow is the anniversary of the canonization of St. Thomas Aquinas—July 18, 1323.
Aquinas is considered not only one of the greatest minds that formed the Catholic understanding of God and humanity but also perhaps the most brilliant philosopher since Aristotle, the ancient Greek thinker.
Pope Francis quoted Aquinas in declaring the Jubilee Year of Mercy we are now celebrating: “It is proper to God to exercise mercy, and he manifests his omnipotence particularly in this way.” In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Francis also reminded us that Aquinas identified mercy as the greatest of the virtues. Aquinas said that all the other virtues revolve around mercy. Not only that, Aquinas wrote, but it is through mercy that “God’s omnipotence is manifested to the greatest degree.”
On the feast of St. Nicholas in 1273, Aquinas was in chapel when he received a revelation that affected him so much that he completely stopped writing, leaving unfinished his great work, the Summa Theologiae (Summary of Theology). He reputedly explained to a colleague, “I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings seem like straw.’’ He died three months later.
Our prayer today:

St. Thomas Aquinas,
pray for us that we may persevere—as you did—
in hope, humility, and mercy
toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Peter W. Yaremko, a former journalist, is the owner of Executive Media, Inc. and is a specialist in executive communications. He attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts and blogs at

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