IN EARLY 1224, a bubbly baby boy was born to a noble Italian family of the Aquinos, related to the Holy Roman Emperor. The parents had him baptized with the name, Tomasso or Thomas.
At the age of 5, the boy, as an “oblate” or offering, was taken to the Benedictines of Monte Cassino. The boy’s father had the fierce ambition that one day his son would become the abbot of Monte Cassino, whose landed property reached as far as the eyes could see.
To his father’s disappointment, the young Thomas left the Benedictines, hoping that one day he would join a simpler, poorer and newer order, the Dominican friars founded by the Spaniard, Domingo or Dominic Guzman.
Thomas’ older brothers, however, had wicked plans to thwart the vocation of their sibling. One night they kidnapped Thomas and placed him in a house in solitary confinement. Later, they paid a prostitute to seduce their brother.
But, the young man, seeing the woman inside the house, seized a red-hot poker from the fireplace and drove the prostitute away.
Moments later, an angel of the Lord came to Thomas, and, taking hold of the poker, burned the groin of the young man telling him that he would remain pure all the days of his life.
Thomas, or as we know him today, St. Thomas Aquinas, remained humble, poor, and pure, all his life through. This shining glory of the Dominican Order and a probably the greatest, if not one of the greatest intellectuals of the Church is an outstanding example of a loyal disciple of the Lord ready to prove himself in battle in the name of Christ and the values of His kingdom.