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In Honor of St. Thomas Aquinas: A Portion of St. Francis Borgia’s “Litany of the Attributes of God”

Monday, March 6, 2017 7:04
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(Before It's News)

On the eve of the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, recalling the very day of his passing from this life to life eternal (March 7, 1274), I would like to share with readers a translation of a curious little piece in the vast history of scholasticism and Counter-reformation piety.

Years ago, Fr. John Saward placed in my hands a remarkable little book written by St. Francis Borgia. It turned out to be a detailed litany, or rather, a series of litanies, modeled after and drawn from the text of the Summa theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. Apparently, Borgia, to prevent the study of Aquinas from becoming abstract and bloodless, decided to turn every article into a prayer. The result is intriguing. While I would not claim that these litanies ought to be introduced into the public worship of the Church, they do remind us that the ultimate goal of theology is union with God, whose praises we sing by inquiry into the truth. The right use of the intellect to ponder the truth is pleasing to God and can be offered to him as incense of the spirit.

Below is translated the litany that is based on the first treatise of the Prima Pars, namely, of the existence and attributes of God. The slim volume from which I translated it furnishes litanies similar to this one for every major treatise in the Summa.

St. Francis Borgia
LITANY
of the attributes of God taken from the Prima Pars of St. Thomas (qq. 1–26)
O highest God, whom no one save Thyself can perfectly know, have mercy on us.
q. 1 a. 1 Thou, who art the subject of theology, have mercy on us.
a. 7 Thou, who in Thyself art unknown to us, have mercy on us.
q. 2 a. 1 Thou, whose existence as God is perfectly demonstrable, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, who art, have mercy on us.
a. 3 O incorporeal God, have mercy on us.
q. 3 aa.1,2 Thou, in whom is no composition of matter and form, have mercy on us.
a. 5 Thou, who art Thy existence and Thy divinity, have mercy on us.
a. 4 Thou, who art Thy existence and Thy essence, have mercy on us.
a. 5 Thou, who art in no genus, have mercy on us.
a. 6 Thou, in whom is no accident, have mercy on us.
O God, wholly simple, have mercy on us.
a. 7 Thou, who are commingled in composition with no others, have mercy on us.
q. 4 a. 1 O perfect God, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, O God, who contain in Thyself most eminently the perfections of all things, have mercy on us.
q. 5 a. 2 O highest Good, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who art good through Thy own essence, have mercy on us.
q. 7 a. 1 O infinite God, have mercy on us.
q. 8 a. 1 O God, existing in all things, have mercy on us.
a. 2 O God, who art everywhere, have mercy on us.
a. 3 O God, who art everywhere by essence, presence, and power, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, to whom alone it belongs to be everywhere, have mercy on us.
q. 9 a. 1 O changeless God, have mercy on us.
a. 2 O God, to whom alone it belongs to be changeless, have mercy on us.
q. 10 a. 2 O eternal God, have mercy on us.
a. 3 O God, to whom alone it belongs to be simply eternal, have mercy on us.
q. 11 a. 1 Thou, who art one God, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who art one in the highest way, have mercy on us.
q. 12 a. 3 O divine essence, whom the bodily eye does not see, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O divine essence, whom the created intellect cannot see by its natural powers, have mercy on us.
a. 5 O divine essence, the vision of whom demands a created light, have mercy on us.
a. 6 O divine essence, seen more perfectly by the more perfect, have mercy on us.
a. 7 O divine essence, incomprehensible to its beholders, have mercy on us.
a. 9 O divine essence, through whom all things that the blessed see are not gazed upon through any likenesses, have mercy on us.
a. 10 O divine essence, in whom all that the blessed see is known at once, have mercy on us.
a. 12 O divine essence, of whom grace gives a higher knowledge than natural reason, have mercy on us.
q. 13 a. 1 All-powerful God, whom we name in order to know, have mercy on us.
a. 2 O God, of whom all names are said substantially, have mercy on us.
a. 3 O God, whose names are truly applied according to that which they signify, have mercy on us.
a. 5 O God, whose names with respect to creatures are said by way of analogy, have mercy on us.
a. 6 O God, of whom this name, god, is the name of Thy nature, have mercy on us.
a. 7 O God, whose name is incommunicable, have mercy on us.
a. 8 O God, to whom this name, he who is, is most proper of all, have mercy on us.
q. 14 a. 1 O God, the height of riches, of wisdom, and of knowledge, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, who art known to Thyself through Thyself, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who comprehend Thyself, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, whose knowing is Thy very substance, have mercy on us.
a. 6 Thou, who know things other than Thee by proper knowledge, have mercy on us.
a. 7 O God, whose knowledge is not discursive, have mercy on us.
a. 8 O God, whose knowledge coupled with will is the cause of things, have mercy on us.
a. 9 Thou, who have knowledge of non-being, of things called ‘those which are not,’ have mercy on us.
a. 10 O God, who know evil things by knowing good things, have mercy on us.
a. 11 Thou, who know each and every particular, have mercy on us.
a. 12 O God, who know the infinite, have mercy on us.
a. 13 O God, whose knowledge extends to future contingents, have mercy on us.
a. 15 O God, whose knowledge is unvarying, have mercy on us.
a. 16 Thou, who have a gazing knowledge of things, have mercy on us.
q. 15 a. 1 Thou, who have ideas of all good things, have mercy on us.
q. 16 a. 5 Thou, who art the highest truth, have mercy on us.
a. 6 Thou, who art the one only truth according to which all things are true, have mercy on us.
a. 7 Thou, who art eternal truth, have mercy on us.
a. 8 Thou, who art unchanging truth, have mercy on us.
q. 18 a. 3 O God, in whom is the highest and most perfect life, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, in whom all things are the same divine life, have mercy on us.
q. 19 a. 1 O God, in whom is will, by which Thou lovest Thyself, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, who will even things other than Thee through Thy will, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who dost not will of necessity the things which are created by Thee, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, whose will is the cause of things, have mercy on us.
a. 5 O God, for whose will no efficient cause can be assigned, have mercy on us.
a. 6 O God, whose will is always accomplished, have mercy on us.
a. 7 O God, whose will is unchanging, have mercy on us.
a. 8 O God, whose will does not impose necessity upon free will, have mercy on us.
q. 20 a. 1 O God, in whom is love, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, who love all that Thou hast made, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who love all with one simple act of will, have mercy on us.
a. 4 Thou, who love more the better things, in that Thou willest a greater good to them, have mercy on us.
q. 21 a. 1 O God, in whom is a justice that grants all things their due, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, who art justice and truth, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who art merciful and compassionate, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, in all of whose works are found mercy and justice, have mercy on us.
q. 22 a. 1 Thou, who govern all things by providence, have mercy on us.
a. 2 O God, to whose providence all things are subjected, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who provide immediately for all things, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, who by Thy providence do not impose necessity upon the free, have mercy on us.
q. 23 a. 1 O God, by whom are predestined those who are chosen, have mercy on us.
a. 2 O God, in whose mind predestination is the reason for the ordering of some to eternal salvation, have mercy on us.
a. 3 O God, who cast off some by permitting them to fall away, have mercy on us.
a. 4 O God, who choose the predestined, have mercy on us.
a. 5 O God, who save us according to Thy mercy and not from our works of justice, have mercy on us.
a. 6 O God, whose predestination is unfailing, have mercy on us.
a. 7 O God, who foreknow the exact number of the predestined, have mercy on us.
q. 24 a. 2 O God, whose conscription, which firmly retains those who are predestined to eternal life, is the Book of Life, have mercy on us.
a. 3 O God, by falling away from whose grace those abounding in present justice are said to be blotted from the Book of Life, have mercy on us.
q. 25 a. 3 Thou, who can do all things more abundantly than we seek or understand, have mercy on us.
q. 26 a. 1 O God, to whom blessedness belongs, have mercy on us.
a. 2 Thou, who art blessed according to intellect, have mercy on us.
a. 3 Thou, who, as object, art the very blessedness of the saints, have mercy on us.
a. 4 Thou, who enfold all happiness in Thy divine blessedness, have mercy on us.
Prayers that follow
From those who say that God is the soul of the world, deliver us, O Lord.
From those who say that God is the formal principle of all things, deliver us, O Lord.
From David of Dinant, asserting that God is prime matter, deliver us, O Lord.
From asserting that an infinite body is the principle of things, deliver us, O Lord.
From saying that God does not know things other than Himself except in what they have in common, deliver us, O Lord.
From those who say that God does not know singulars except by applying universal causes to particular effects, deliver us, O Lord.
From those who say that God creates nothing other than the first creature, deliver us, O Lord.
From the vanity of philosophers who attribute contingent effects to secondary causes alone, deliver us, O Lord.
From the Epicureans who maintain that the world came to be by chance, deliver us, O Lord.
From those who maintain that only incorruptible things are subject to divine providence, deliver us, O Lord.
From those who attribute to man the beginning of good works, deliver us, O Lord.
From those who say that divine predestination can be changed by prayers, deliver us, O Lord.
That theological study may inflame our hearts, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That through tracing effects we may arrive at the first cause, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That contemplating the divine simplicity, we may imitate it in simple hearts, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That full of praise we may admire the abyss of divine goodness, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may know God even as we are known, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may name Him with fear and trembling, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That the divine essence may enlighten us, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That loving the highest truth we may merit that the same truth will free us, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may live for Him who is our life, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may love Him who first loved us, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may follow the traces of divine mercy, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may contemplate divine providence, giving thanks in everything to God, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That He who predestines us to the adoption of sons may not see us ungrateful, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may be humbled in our knowledge by dwelling on the power of God, We beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may enjoy the God who is our blessedness, We beseech Thee, hear us.
V. What god is like unto our God for greatness?
R. Thou who alone dost wonders.
PRAYER.
Look upon our weakness, O God, and make us not to grow faint in the praises of Thy attributes; that as Thou eternally takest delight in them without beginning, so we too, having been made partakers in them by rejoicing with Thee, may merit to praise them endlessly with Thy angels, for worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive wisdom, glory, and blessing, for ever and ever, Amen.



Source: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2017/03/in-honor-of-st-thomas-aquinas-portion.html

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