Saint Thomas, Apostle

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Wed­nes­day, Decem­ber 212016

Saint Thomas, Apostle

Red Double of the Second Class
The Church announces to us today, in her Office of Lauds, these sol­emn words:
Nolite timere: quinta enim die veni­et ad vos Domin­us nos­ter.
Fear not: for on the fifth day, our Lord will come to you.
This is the last Feast the Church keeps before the great one of the Nativ­ity of her Lord and Spouse. She inter­rupts the Great­er Feri­as in order to pay her trib­ute of hon­or to Thomas, the Apostle of Christ, whose glor­i­ous mar­tyr­dom has con­sec­rated this twenty-first day of Decem­ber, and has pro­cured for the Chris­ti­an people a power­ful pat­ron that will intro­duce them to the divine Babe of Beth­le­hem. To none of the Apostles could this day have been so fit­tingly assigned as to St. Thomas. It was St. Thomas whom we needed; St. Thomas, whose fest­al pat­ron­age would aid us to believe and hope in that God whom we see not, and who comes to us in silence and humil­ity in order to try our Faith. St. Thomas was once guilty of doubt­ing, when he ought to have believed; and only learned the neces­sity of Faith by the sad exper­i­ence of incredu­lity: he comes then most appro­pri­ately to defend us, by the power of his example and pray­ers, again­st the tempta­tions which proud human reas­on might excite with­in us. Let us pray to him with con­fid­ence. In that heav­en of Light and Vis­ion, where his repent­ance and love have placed him, he will inter­cede for us and gain for us that docil­ity of mind and heart which will enable us to see and recog­nize Him who is the Expec­ted of Nations and who, though the King of the world, will give no oth­er signs of his majesty than the swad­dling clothes and tears of a Babe. But let us first read the Acts of our holy Apostle. The Church has deemed it prudent to give us them in an exceed­ingly abridged form, which con­tains only the most reli­able facts, gathered from authen­tic sources; and thus, she excludes all those details which have no his­tor­ic author­ity.
Thomas Apostolus, qui et Didymus, Galilæus, post accep­tum Spir­itum Sanc­tum, in mul­tas pro­vin­cias pro­fect­us est at prædic­an­dum Christi Evan­geli­um. Parthis, Medis, Per­sis, Hir­can­is, et Bact­ris chris­ti­anæ fidei et vitæ præ­cepta tra­did­it. Postremo ad Indos se con­fer­ens, eos in Chris­ti­ans reli­gione eru­di­vit. Qui ad extrem­um, vitæ doc­trinæque sanc­tit­ate et mira­cu­lor­um mag­nitud­ine, quum cæter­is omni­bus sui admir­ationem, et Jesu Christi amorem com­mo­vis­set, illi­us gen­tis regem, ido­lor­um cultorem, magis ad iram accendit: cujus sen­ten­tia con­dem­natus, tel­isque con­fos­sus, Calam­inæ Apostolat­us honorem mar­tyrii corona dec­orav­it.
Thomas the Apostle, who was also named Didymus, was a Galilean. After he had received the Holy Ghost, he trav­elled through many provinces, preach­ing the Gos­pel of Christ. He taught the prin­ciples of Chris­ti­an faith and prac­tice to the Parthi­ans, Medes, Per­sians, Hir­cani­ans, and Bact­ri­ans. He finally went to the Indies, and instruc­ted the inhab­it­ants of those coun­tries in the Chris­ti­an reli­gion. Up to the last, he gained for him­self the esteem of all men by the holi­ness of his life and teach­ing, and by the won­der­ful mir­acles he wrought. He stirred up, also, in their hearts, the love of Jesus Christ. The King of those parts, a wor­ship­per of idols, was, on the con­trary, only the more irrit­ated by all these things. He con­demned the Saint to be pierced to death by javelins: which pun­ish­ment was inflic­ted at Calam­ina, and gave Thomas the highest hon­or of his Apostolate, the crown of mar­tyr­dom.
The Great Anti­phon of St. Thomas
O Thoma! Didy­me! qui Chris­tum meruisti cern­ere; te precibus rogamus alt­is­on­is, suc­cur­re nobis miser­is; né dam­nemur cum impiis, in Adven­tu Judi­cis.
O Thomas! Didymus! who did­st mer­it to see Christ; we beseech thee, by most earn­est sup­plic­a­tion, help us miser­able sin­ners, lest we be con­demned with the ungodly, at the Com­ing of the Judge.
Oremus. Let Us Pray.
Da nobis, quæsumus, Dom­ine, beati Apostoli tui Thomæ solem­nit­a­ti­bus glori­ari: ut ejus sem­per et patro­ciniis sub­levemur, et Fidem con­grua devo­tione sec­temur. Per Domin­um, &c. Amen.
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we may rejoice on the solem­nity of thy blessed Apostle, Thomas; to the end that we may always have the assist­ance of his pray­ers, and zeal­ously pro­fess the faith he taught. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The fol­low­ing Pray­er is from the Mat­ins of the Goth­ic, or Mozar­ab­ic, Brevi­ary.
Dom­ine Jesu Christe, qui posuisti in cap­ite Mar­tyr­is tui Thomæ Apostoli coro­nam de lap­ide pre­tioso, in fun­da­mento fundatum; ut non con­fundatur, quia in te cre­did­it; cor­on­etur, quia pro te anim­am posuit: sit ergo inter­ces­sionibus ejus in nobis fam­ulis tuis Fides vera, qua te etiam coram per­se­cutoribus promp­tis­sima devo­tione con­fiteamur: quatenus inter­veni­en­te tan­to Mar­tyre, coram te at Angel­is tuis minime con­fun­da­mur. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast placed on the head of thy Mar­tyr, Thomas the Apostle, a crown made of that pre­cious stone, that is foun­ded in the found­a­tion; that so he might not be con­foun­ded, because he believed in thee; nor be uncrowned, because he laid down his life for thee; may there be, by his inter­ces­sion, in us thy ser­vants, that true Faith, whereby we may con­fess thee with most ready hearts before per­se­cutors: that thus, by the same great Martyr’s inter­ces­sion, we may not be con­foun­ded before thee and thy Angels. Amen.
The Greek Church cel­eb­rates, with her usu­al solem­nity, the Feast of St. Thomas; but she keeps it on the sixth of Octo­ber. We extract the fol­low­ing stan­zas from her Hymns.
Hymn of St. Thomas
(Taken from the Menæa of the Greeks)
Domini palp­ato latere, bonor­um assecu­tus es sum­mit­atem; nam velut spon­gia hinc haus­isti latices, fon­tem bonor­um, æternam­que potasti vit­am, men­ti­bus expellens ignor­antiam, divin­aque Dei cog­ni­tion­is dog­mata scaturi­re faciens.
When thy hand touched Jesus’ Side, thou did­st find the per­fec­tion of good things; for, as a mys­tic sponge, thou did­st thence imbibe the water of life, the fount of all that is good, and did­st drink in ever­last­ing life; whereby thou did­st cleanse men’s minds from ignor­ance, giv­ing them to drink of the divine dog­mas of the know­ledge of God.
Tua incredul­it­ate et tua fide sta­bil­isti tentatos, nun­ciare incip­i­ens omni creauræ Deum ac Domin­um, carne pro nobis in ter­ris indu­tum, crucem mortem­que subeun­tem, clav­is per­forat­um, cujus lancea lat­us aper­tum, ex quo vit­am haur­imus.
Thou did­st, by thine own incredu­lity and thy after-faith, con­firm such as were temp­ted: for thou did­st pro­claim to all men, how He, that is thy Lord and thy God, became incarn­ate on this earth for us, was nailed to the Cross and suffered death, and had his Side opened with a spear, whence we draw life.
Indorum omnem ter­ram fulgere fecisti, sac­ra­tis­sime, ac Deum videns Apostole! Quum enim illu­minas­ses filios lumin­is et diei, hor­um, in Spir­itu, sapi­ens, idol­ica evertisti tem­pla, et sub­li­m­as­ti eos in char­it­ate Dei, ad laudem et glori­am Eccle­siæ, beate inter­cessor pro anim­abus nos­tris.
Thou did­st make all the Indies shine with much light, O most holy Apostle, thou con­tem­pla­tor of the Divin­ity! For after thou had­st enlightened these people, and made them to be chil­dren of the light and day, thou, by the Spir­it of God, did­st wisely over­throw the temples of their idols, and did­st elev­ate the people to the love of God, mak­ing them an hon­or and a glory to the Church, O thou that helpest us by thy inter­ces­sion!
Divina videns, Christi Sapi­entiæ spir­itu­al­is demon­stratus es crater mys­ti­c­us, O Thoma Apostole, in quem fideli­um animæ lætan­tur, et Spir­it­us sagena pop­u­los eruisti ex abysso ignoranti&aelig: unde ex Sion sicut flu­vi­us deven­isti char­i­t­at­is, tua divina scaturi­re faciens dog­mata in omnem crat­uram. Christi pas­siones imit­atus, latere pro ipso per­foratus, induisti immor­tal­it­atem: illum depre­care mis­er­eri anim­abus nos­tris.
By the vis­ion thou had­st of divine things, thou became, O Apostle Thomas! the mys­tic cup of the Wis­dom of Christ, which gives joy to the souls of the faith­ful. Thou wast the spir­itu­al net, draw­ing men from the sea of ignor­ance. Hence is it, that thou camest from Sion as a stream of char­ity, water­ing the world with the divine dog­mas. Thou did­st imit­ate the pas­sion of Jesus, thou wast pierced in thy side, thou hast put on immor­tal­ity. Pray to God, that he have mer­cy on our souls.
O glor­i­ous Apostle Thomas! who did­st lead to Christ so many unbe­liev­ing nations, hear now the pray­ers of the faith­ful, who beseech thee to lead them to that same Jesus, who in five days will have shown him­self to his Church. That we may mer­it to appear in his divine pres­ence, we need, before all oth­er graces, the light which leads to him. That light is Faith; then, pray that we may have Faith. Here­to­fore, our Savior had com­pas­sion on thy weak­ness, and deigned to remove from thee the doubt of his hav­ing ris­en from the grave; pray to him for us, that he will mer­ci­fully come to our assist­ance, and make him­self felt by our heart. We ask not, O holy Apostle! to see him with the eyes of our body, but with those of our faith, for he said to thee, when he showed him­self to thee: Blessed are they who have not seen, and have believed! Of this happy num­ber, we desire to be. We beseech thee, there­fore, pray that we may obtain the Faith of the heart and will, that so, when we behold the divine Infant wrapped in swad­dling clothes and laid in a manger, we may cry out: My Lord! and my God! Pray, O holy Apostle, for the nations thou did­st evan­gel­ize, but which have fallen back again into the shades of death. May the day soon come, when the Sun of Justice will once more shine upon them. Bless the efforts of those apostolic men who have devoted their labors and their very lives to the work of the Mis­sions; pray that the days of dark­ness may be shortened, and that the coun­tries which were watered by thy blood may at length see that king­dom of God estab­lished among­st them, which thou did­st preach to them, and for which we also are in wait­ing.