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The Angelic Doctor | by Lawrence OP
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The Angelic Doctor

St Thomas' family were not happy that he had chosen to join the fledgling Order of Preachers in 1244. So, they kidnapped him, and locked him in a room of the family house. His brother, Raymond, then introduced a prostitute into his room to entice him with pleasures of the flesh, and thus to put him off his vocation! Thomas was then only nineteen, but he chased her out with a flaming firebrand, and then traced the sign of the cross on the door.


It is said that he then had into a mystical vision in which two angels came and girded him with a cord of chastity. They said: "Behold, we grid thee by the command of God with the girdle of chastity, which henceforth will never be imperiled. What human strength cannot obtain, is now bestowed upon thee as a celestial gift".


From that time forward, Thomas received the gift of perfect chastity so that he never again experienced sexual temptations. This account is included in the official records of his canonization. It is depicted above, in this detail from the reredos of the Dominican church of Santo Tomas in Ávila.


For this perfect chastity, St Thomas Aquinas, whose feast is on 28 January, is called the Angelic Doctor.

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Taken on July 12, 2009