Stuff We Like: The Aquinas Prayer Book

In the foreword to The Intellectual Life, Fr. Sertillanges mentions the collected prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Sertillanges says that in the written prayers St. Thomas's "religous thought is condensed and his soul revealed."

Since later in The Intellectual Life Sertillanges will recommend St. Thomas as a model for Catholic thinkers (and all Catholics should be thinking), the strong words about St. Thomas's prayers should be taken seriously.

The Aquinas Prayer Book

If you are going to take the prayers of Aquinas seriously, you ought to have a copy of them, so that you can take them with you to Mass or adoration, where you can get some serious praying done.

For that, I recommend The Aquinas Prayer Book from Sophia Institute Press.

The Aquinas Prayer Book has St. Thomas's Latin on one page and an English translation on the facing page. And the text is broken up in such a way that, if you have no Latin at all, you can slowly learn some, phrase by corresponding phrase.

I had a copy of The Aquinas Prayer Book since college. But — sadly — I lost it at some point in the last few months. (I've encountered this phenomenon — the losing of often-used prayer books — before, when I lost a cool little book titled Preces Latinae, available from the Familia Sancti Hieronymi.)

So yesterday I re-ordered a copy of The Aquinas Prayer Book.

Aquinas at Prayer

If you want to dive not only into St. Thomas's prayers themselves (a dive worth taking), but into an explanation of what and how St. Thomas thought about prayer, I recommend Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism and Poetry by Fr. Paul Murray, OP.

I've listened to the book on Audible, and it's good. It's especially good for correcting a certain mental picture of St. Thomas that can form in one's mind: a picture of St. Thomas as a purely "philosophical" or "logical" man.

Aquinas at Prayer helps remind you that St. Thomas thought of himself as someone trying to understand Scripture and the Sacraments and, above all, as someone longing to know intimately the God who reveals Himself through Scripture and the Sacraments.

A Final Recommendation: Shaun McAfee's Article on Becoming a Better Student and Lifelong Learner

I saw this article by Shaun McAfee yesterday. In it, he tops his list of eight things for students to do with prayer:

Before you start your school work, say a prayer. It doesn’t have to be an exhortation or anything lengthy. Just make a quick devotion of your work and study to God. Pope Francis says we need to study, “on our knees.” That’s a perfect visual for this important characteristic of the effective student.