Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Oratio ante Studium

Speaking of that John Webster essay:

He includes at the end a prayer attributed to Thomas Aquinas and said to have been used before study. In the looking around I’ve done, I can’t find any citations for it except for Pius XI’s Studiorum ducem (1923), where it forms his conclusion. If one looks closely, Pius XI doesn’t (in the Latin version) actually identify Thomas as the author, but only says that he was accustomed to use it (qua ipse utebatur), but the Italian translation does, as well as the English version found here; and the Corpus Thomisticum identifies it as falsely attributed to Thomas and states that is authorship is uncertain.

Nevertheless, it is worth reading, whoever wrote it, and may prove beneficial (even if one demurs from the proposal that its due recitation secures an indulgence of seven years and seven quadragenae [Studiorum ducem 34]).

Text and Translation

Creator ineffabilis, qui de thesauris sapientiae tuae tres Angelorum hierarchias designasti, et eas super caelum empyreum miro ordine collocasti, atque universi partes elegantissime distribuisti: Tu, inquam, qui verus Fons Luminis et Sapientiae diceris, ac supereminens Principium, infundere digneris super intellectus mei tenebras, tuae radium claritatis, duplices, in quibus natus sum, a me removens tenebras, peccatum scilicet, et ignorantiam. Tu, qui linguas infantium facis disertas, linguam meam erudias atque in labiis meis gratiam tuae benedictionis infundas. Da mihi intelligendi acumen, retinendi capacitatem, addiscendi modum et facilitatem, interpretandi subtilitatem, loquendi gratiam copiosam. Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas: Tu qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Ineffable Creator, who out of the treasuries of your wisdom have designated three hierarchies of angels and placed them above the highest heaven in wondrous arrangement and have apportioned the parts of the universe most elegantly: You, I say, who are called the Fount of Light and of Wisdom, and the supreme First Foundation, deign to pour out over the darkness of my understanding the ray of your brightness, removing from me the twofold darkness in which I was born–namely, sin and ignorance. You, who make the tongues of infants eloquent, educate my tongue and pour out on my lips the grace of your blessing. Give to me keenness of understanding, the capacity for retention, the method and ability for further learning, subtlety of interpretation, abundant grace of speaking. Establish my setting out, direct my progress, bring my work in the end to completion: You who are true God and man, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.1

  1. The translation is my own. There are others.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.