Dedication of the Catena on Saint Mark's Gospel


Catena in Mc., dedicatio.

Reverendo in Christo patri domino Hannibaldo, basilicae duodecim apostolorum venerabili presbytero cardinali, frater Thomas de Aquino ordinis fratrum praedicatorum se totum.

Dedication of the Catena on Saint Mark's Gospel.

To the Reverend Father in Christ, Lord Hannibald, venerable Cardinal Priest of the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, brother Thomas from Aquino, of the order of the brother preachers, with all sincerity.

Rerum opifex Deus solo suae bonitatis intuitu cuncta in esse producens, naturalem boni amorem omnibus indidit creaturis, ut dum unaquaeque res bonum sibi conveniens naturaliter amat et appetit, quadam conversione mirabili in suum recurrere demonstretur auctorem. Sed in hoc praefertur ceteris rationalis natura, quod ipsum universalem bonitatis fontem per sapientiam intueri potest, et per caritatis amorem suaviter degustare: unde fit ut sapientiae bonum, quo ad ipsum fontem bonitatis accedimus, omnibus humanis bonis secundum rectae rationis iudicium praeferatur.

God the creator of all, bringing the universe into existence solely by the contemplation of His own goodness, imbued all creatures with a natural love of the good, so that, in the natural love and desire that each and everything has for the good that fits its own nature, there would be a wonderful turning round that guides the creature back to its creator. But rational nature is superior to others in this regard, since through wisdom it can peer into the universal source itself of goodness, and through the love of charity taste its sweetness. Thus the good of wisdom, by which we approach the very source of goodness, is preferred to all human goods in the judgment of right reason.

Haec est enim quae fastidium nescit: ita ut qui eam edit, adhuc esuriat, et qui eam bibit, sitire non cesset. Haec est quae intantum peccato repugnat, ut qui secundum ipsam operantur, non peccent. Haec est quae indeficientem fructum suis ministris largitur, ut qui eam elucidant [expected: quos elucidat], vitam possideant sempiternam. Praecellit itaque voluptates dulcedine, securitate sedes et regna, utilitateque divitias universas.

This is indeed what the proud do not understand: that whoever eats it still hungers, and whoever drinks it, never ceases from thirsting [cf Sirach 24:29; Summa Th. 1a2ae q.2 a.1 ad3]. This wisdom is so repugnant to sin that whoever acts in accord with it does not sin. It generously bestows an unfailing fruit to one's ministries, such that those who teach it possess eternal life. It excels all pleasures in its sweetness, all positions of power in its fastness, and all the riches of the world in its usefulness.

Huiusmodi igitur delectatus muneribus, evangelicae sapientiae a saeculis in mysterio absconditae, quam in lucem produxit Dei sapientia incarnata, ministerium expositionis adhibui, sacrorum doctorum sententias compilando; ad quod me induxit primitus felicis recordationis Urbani Papae quarti mandatum. Verum quia, eo summo pontifice ex hac vita subtracto, tria Evangelia, Marci, Lucae et Ioannis exponenda restabant, ne opus quod obedientia inceperat, negligentia imperfectum relinqueret, cum multo labore diligens adhibui studium, ut quatuor Evangeliorum expositionem complerem, eadem in omnibus forma servata in ponendis sanctorum auctoritatibus et eorum nominibus praescribendis. Et ut magis integra et continua praedicta sanctorum expositio redderetur, quasdam expositiones doctorum Graecorum in Latinum feci transferri, ex quibus plura expositionibus Latinorum doctorum interserui, auctorum nominibus praenotatis.

Therefore, having been captivated by the gifts of this evangelical wisdom that was once hidden from the world in mystery but now brought into light by the incarnated Wisdom of God, I have exercised the ministry of commentary by compiling the thoughts of the holy doctors. It was the command of Pope Urban IV, of happy memory, that first induced me to undertake this. But when the Supreme Pontiff was taken away from this life, the three Gospels of Mark, Luke and John still needed commenting. And so, lest negligence leave unfinished the work that obedience began, with a great deal of work and diligence I made sure I completed the commentary on the four Gospels, preserving the same format as before with the arrangement of the saints' opinions and their designation. Moreover, so that the whole commentary of the saints would have a greater integrity and continuity, I have had certain commentaries of the Greek doctors translated into Latin, and these I have inserted with the names of the authors among the commentaries of the Latin doctors.

Verum quia congruit ut de laborum fructibus oblationes sacerdotibus offerantur, expositionis evangelicae opus, laboris mei fructum, apostolorum presbytero censui offerendum: in quo vestra suscipiat auctoritas debitum, ut scientis industria iudicii censuram exerceat; et antiqua dilectio, amoris affectum in offerentis munere comprehendat.

Thus, since it is fitting that from the fruits of labor oblations are offered to the priests, I have resolved to offer this work of evangelical commentary, this fruit of my labor, to the priest of the Apostles. May your dignity receive in it only what is proper, and thus may the zeal of one who is wise wield the incisiveness of judgment, and the fondness from of old find the affection of love in the gift of the one who offers.

© Gregory Froelich
(gfroelich@gmail.com)



The Aquinas Translation Project
(http://www4.desales.edu/~philtheo/loughlin/ATP/index.html)