St. Thomas Aquinas uttered a last prophecy and an emotional prayer before his departure to Heaven. / Credit: Renata Sedmakova – Shutterstock

ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 7, 2024 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

March 7 marks the 750th anniversary of the death of St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of Catholic education, who uttered a last prophecy and an emotional prayer before his departure to heaven. In addition, the saint reportedly spoke the lyrics of a beautiful hymn of his that is sung to this day throughout the Catholic Church.

The account of the death of St. Thomas, written by Friar Guillermo de Tocco, biographer of the saint, which was published by the website run by the Institute of the Incarnate Word, relates how the Angelic Doctor was heading to Rome but was having health problems.

Passing near the Fossanova Abbey of the Cistercian monks south of Rome, he agreed to stay there to regain his strength.

In the cloister, he spoke the following prophecy to his companion: “Reginaldo, my son, here will be my rest forever, here I will live because I have desired it.” At this, the Dominican friars who accompanied him began to cry.

As the days passed, St. Thomas, bedridden, became worse and worse. Some monks, seeing that his time was approaching, asked him to give them a token of his great learning.  Despite his condition, Aquinas did not stop being a great educator and gave them a brief reflection on the Song of Songs, a book from the Old Testament with songs and poems about love.

Later, St. Thomas asked to be given holy Communion. When he saw the Blessed Sacrament arrive, he didn’t care about his condition and prostrated himself on the floor with tears in his eyes to receive his Lord.

After receiving Communion, he was asked if he believed in the Eucharistic Jesus. In the midst of tears, he answered with a profound profession of faith.

“If in this life there can be a knowledge of this sacrament greater than that of the faith, in that faith I respond that I firmly believe and without any doubt that he is true God and true man, Son of God the Father and the Virgin Mother. And so I believe with all my heart and confess with my mouth everything that the priest (who asked him) has affirmed about this Most Holy Sacrament,” St. Thomas replied.

Friar Tocco recounted that the saint “uttered other words full of devotion, which those present could not remember but which are believed to have been these: ‘Adoro te devote,’” the opening line of the beautiful hymn “Adoro Te Devote” written by St. Thomas that is usually sung during Eucharistic adoration.

The prayer of Aquinas before he died

Subsequently, the saint approached the Blessed Sacrament and offered this prayer: “I receive you, price of the redemption of my soul, I receive you, viaticum of my pilgrimage. For your love I have studied, I have kept vigil and I have spent myself; I have preached you, I have taught you and I have never expressed anything that is against you, and if it has happened I have done it unintentionally and I do not persist in that opinion. And if I have said anything wrong about this Sacrament or anything else, I submit myself entirely to the correction of the holy Church of Rome, in whose obedience I now leave this life.”

Finally, St. Thomas devoutly requested that the sacrament of anointing of the sick be imparted to him the next day. Shortly after, on March 7, 1274, he calmly surrendered his spirit to the Lord, at just 49 years of age.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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