Feast Day of the Dumb Ox

 

“We call this young man a dumb ox, but his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world.”
Saint Albert the Great
“Somehow they steered that reluctant bulk of reflection to a seat in the royal banquet hall; and all that we know of Thomas tells us that he was perfectly courteous to those who spoke to him, but spoke little, and was soon forgotten in the most brilliant and noisy clatter in the world: the noise of French talking. What the Frenchmen were talking about we do not know; but they forgot all about the large fat Italian in their midst, and it seems only too possible that he forgot all about them. Sudden silences will occur even in French conversation; and in one of these the interruption came. There had long been no word or motion in that huge heap of black and white weeds, like motley in mourning, which marked him as a mendicant friar out of the streets, and contrasted with all the colours and patterns and quarterings of that first and freshest dawn of chivalry and heraldry. The triangular shields and pennons and pointed spears, the triangular swords of the Crusade, the pointed windows and the conical hoods, repeated everywhere that fresh French medieval spirit that did, in every sense, come to the point. But the colours of the coats were gay and varied, with little to rebuke their richness; for Saint Louis, who had himself a special quality of coming to the point, had said to his courtiers, “Vanity should be avoided; but every man should dress well, in the manner of his rank, that his wife may the more easily love him.”
 

And then suddenly the goblets leapt and rattled on the board and the great table shook, for the friar had brought down his huge fist like a club of stone, with a crash that startled everyone like an explosion; and had cried out in a strong voice, but like a man in the grip of a dream, “And that will settle the Manichees!” 

The palace of a king, even when it is the palace of a saint, has it conventions. A shock thrilled through the court, and every one felt as if the fat friar from Italy had thrown a plate at King Louis, or knocked his crown sideways. They all looked timidly at the terrible seat, that was for a thousand years the throne of the Capets: and many there were presumably prepared to pitch the big black-robed beggarman out of the window. But Saint Louis, simple as he seemed, was no mere medieval fountain of honour or even fountain of mercy but also the fountain of two eternal rivers: the irony and the courtesy of France. And he turned to his secretaries, asking them in a low voice to take their tablets round to the sear of the absent-minded controversialist, and take a note of the argument that had just occurred to him; because it must be a very good one and he might forget it. ”

G.K. Chesterton, The Dumb Ox

And from those ever talented ladies at History for Music Lovers, their own unique fan song to the Angelic Doctor:

4 Responses to Feast Day of the Dumb Ox

  • There’s a great line in that passage to the effect of, Louis was the kind of saint who didn’t mind being a king.

    Such a great saint, Thomas. But is today a feast day or memorial?

  • It is a memorial Pinky. I use the term feast day because I have found that even Catholics get confused with the term memorial rather than feast day for a saint. I do appreciate you pointing it out however.

  • I know that I get them confused. But it’s Friday, and I’m not in the mood for fish, so the possibility of a feast day really appealed to me.

    I guess that tonight I’ll read some random question in the Summa over a tuna sandwich.

  • I honestly don’t understand the rage about Fr. Barron. I don’t find him to be all that impressive.

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