St. Thomas was born in Sicily in the year 1225. He died in 1274. The feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas is celebrated on Jan. 28. He is considered the patron saint of students and universities.
At the age of five he was placed in the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino.
He became a Dominican priest against his families wishes. His brothers followed careers in the military. In an attempt to end his desires to become a Dominican, his brothers hired a prostitute to seduce him. According to legend, two angels appeared to Thomas to strengthen him and increase his determination to remain celibate. He thus became known as the "Angelic Doctor".
St. Thomas studied at Cologne under St. Albert the Great. He was called "the dumb-ox" because he was so shy and quiet. He was also of a very large stature. Actually, he was quite brilliant, eventually being declared a doctor of the church.
After becoming a priest he was sent to Paris. In Paris he became a friend of the King, St. Louis, dining with him frequently. He was asked to teach at the age of 22. He has published many writings. The most well known are Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles.He also wrote Hymns of Adoration which are well known today.
His well known hymns are the following:
1. Panis Angelicus (Bread of Angels)
2. Adore te Devote (Humbly I adore thee)
3. O Salutaris hostia (O saving victim)
4. Pange Lingua Corperis (Now, my tongue, the mystrery telling)
5. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum (Come Adore)
View the photos for the English translations of these hymns.
Panis Angelicus (Bread of Angels)
Holy and living bread,
Wondrous food from heaven sent,
God's sacrifice foretold,
now in our hands we hold.
Sign and reality, challenge for us to be
Humble servants to all the poor.
God, Holy Three in One,
through this off'ring of your Son
All now on earth can see what we are called to be:
Hope for a world in need, signs that love can succeed
Where true justice and peace endure.
O Salutaris Hostia ( O Saving Victim)
O saving Victim, open wide
The gate of heav'n to us below,
Our foes press on fro ev'ry side;
Your aid supply your strength bestow.
To your great name be endless praise,
Immortal Godhead, One in Three;
O grant us endless length of days
In our true native land with thee. Amen
Zion, to thy Savior; singing
Zion, To Thy Savior Singing
Zion, to Thy Savior singing,
To thy Prince and Shepherd bringing,
Sweetest hymns of love and praise,
Thou wilt never reach the measure
Of His worth, by all the treasure
Of thy most ecstatic lays.
Of all wonders that can thrill thee,
And, with adoration fill thee,
What than this can greater be,
That Himself to thee He giveth?
He that eateth ever liveth,
For the Bread of Life is He.
Fill thy lips to overflowing
With sweet praise, His mercy showing
Who this heav’nly table spread:
On this day so glad and holy,
To each longing spirit lowly
Giveth He the living Bread.
Here the King hath spread His table,
Whereon eyes of faith are able
Christ our Passover to trace:
Shadows of the law are going,
Light and life and truth inflowing,
Night to day is giving place.
Lo, this angels’ food descending
Heavenly love is hither sending,
Hungry lips on earth to feed:
So the paschal lamb was given,
So the manna came from Heaven,
Isaac was His type indeed.
O Good Shepherd, Bread life giving,
Us, Thy grace and life receiving,
Feed and shelter evermore;
Thou on earth our weakness guiding,
We in Heaven with Thee abiding,
With all saints will Thee adore.
Adore te Devote (Humbly I adore thee)
Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen,
who thy glory hiddest 'neath these shadows mean;
low, to thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
tranced as it beholds thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste and touch and vision to discern thee fail;
faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate're the Son of God hath told;
what the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
O memorial wondrous of the Lord's own death;
living Bread that givest all thy creatures breath,
grant my spirit ever by thy life may live,
to my taste thy sweetness neverfailing give.
Jesus, whom now hidden, I by faith behold,
what my soul doth long for, that thy word foretold:
face to face thy splendor, I at last shall see,
in the glorious vision, blessed Lord, of thee.
Tantum Ergo Sacramentum (Come Adore)
Come adore this wondrous presence,
Bow to Christ the source of grace.
Here is kept the ancient promise
of God's earthly dwelling place.
Sight is blind before God's glory,
Faith alone may see his face.
Glory be to God the Father,
Praise to his co-equal Son.
Adoration to the Spirit,
Bond of love, in God-head one.
Blest be God by all creation
Joyously while ages run.