Dear Students of New Hope Academy: There are no "Dumb Oxen" in God's Kingdom
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Arguably the greatest Christian scholar of all time was St. Thomas Aquinas, a man who early in his student life was called "the dumb ox." While this moniker probably referred to Thomas' quite demeanor, and rather large build, Thomas nevertheless went on to become an intellectual champion for the Gospel and Good News of Jesus Christ. He did so by combining the best of Greek philosophy with the Truth of the Bible, ultimately showing that all Truth really is God's Truth.
Thomas' work ranged from Bible commentaries to philosophical defenses of the Christian Worldview, to challenges against others religious beliefs (called "polemical theology"); not to mention hundreds of poems, hymns, and prayers to the Lord. His writings shaped Christian thought for centuries, and his arguments for the truth of Christianity, found in his major work Summa Theologica, are still widely read and used today by Roman Catholics and Evangelicals alike. So, if you felt a bit like a "dumb ox" in your first few weeks of class, fear not! There are no such animals in God's church. For if the Lord has called you to do a task, even one that seems incredibly hard at first, He will not let you fail. All of us have felt lost at times: emotionally, intellectually, physically. But, learning for us is always a matter of faith. Relying on God's power in our struggles will always result in that which is good, good for us, and good for God's kingdom. So whatever you do, don't give up! Let the Holy Spirit refine you into a well-oiled instrument for His purposes.
One of the best things to do in order to open yourself up to God's desire for your success is to pray. Here is a prayer written by St. Thomas himself that I encourage you pray before you start reading each night. Let your study time become a time of worship, as you lift up all your hard work to the Lord. Trust me, He will not allow it to go to waste!
Prayer of the Christian Scholar/Student
Ineffable Creator Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom, have established three hierarchies of angels, have arrayed them in marvellous order above the fiery heavens, and have marshalled the regions of the universe with such artful skill,
You are proclaimed the true font of light and wisdom, and the primal origin raised high beyond all things.
Pour forth a ray of Your brightness into the darkened places of my mind; disperse from my soul the twofold darkness into which I was born: sin and ignorance.
You make eloquent the tongues of infants. Refine my speech and pour forth upon my lips the goodness of Your blessing.
Grant to me keenness of mind, capacity to remember, skill in learning, subtlety to interpret, and eloquence in speech.
May You guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to completion. You Who are true God and true Man, Who live and reign, world without end.