This past January 28th, nearly 150 people gathered at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer to celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas and to hear Professor Robert Louis Wilken deliver the parish’s second annual St. Thomas Day Lecture. One couple shared that they traveled from Colorado and made the lecture part of their anniversary getaway to New York.
A scholar of early Christian history at the University of Virginia, Professor Wilken chose as his topic “Aquinas on Romans.” His purpose was to highlight Aquinas’s conformity to the patristic tradition in his study and exposition of the sacred text. This conformity stands in contrast to the great novelty St. Thomas pursued in his theological writings. In reading scripture, Wilken explained, Aquinas followed the Fathers in reverencing not only the Word but also the words written on the page, sacred words whose meaning runs across the books of the bible and links together disparate texts to reveal the singular truths of God’s salvific work. For example, Wilken demonstrated how the word “sorrow” led St. Thomas all over scripture to develop a deep and biblical understanding of contrition. Wilken closed his lecture by challenging preachers to follow St. Thomas more closely, to read the bible as he did, and to use more scripture in their preaching.
The evening concluded with a light reception in the priory parlors.
Click below for either video or audio of Prof. Wilken’s lecture. The second audio file contains the Q & A session that followed.