Thomistic Prayer

Who was St. Thomas Aquinas?

Thomas d’Aquino was born in Naples, Italy, to a noble family around 1225 and died in 1274. Against the wishes of his family, unsuccessfully trying to keep him away from his vocation, Thomas Aquinas joined the Dominican order at age 18. On July 18, 1323 he was made a saint by Pope John XXII. In 1880 he was declared patron of all Roman Catholic educational establishments. His greatest work is the Summa Theologica (a book on Theology and Philosophy), where he develops the idea that Reason and Revelation are not opposed to each other. His feast day is January 28 and was referred to as the Angelic Doctor.

What is Thomistic Prayer?

In this form of prayer we seek to reflect - thoughtfully seeking the understanding of the ways of God. A lot of our intellectual faculty is used in this prayer, which progresses from one proposition to another until we arrive at a logical conclusion or an ethical demand. We use this prayer with the final end of a change of heart and action in our lives, integrating a process we call Lectio Divina.

How do I do it?

The four steps of Lectio Divina can be used: Read, Meditate, Pray, Contemplate. As well, it is helpful to ask the questions what, why, how, who, where, when, as well as what helps.

Prayer Suggestion 1

Read: Matthew 5:23-24

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”


  • What does it mean to forgive?
  • Why is forgiveness important?
  • How do we practice forgiveness?
  • What is the connection between forgiveness and Communion?
  • Who are good Biblical examples of forgiveness?
  • Examine your own experiences of forgiving and being forgiven.
  • Where could I start to practice forgiveness?
  • Decide on one person to forgive or ask forgiveness from, today.
  • Close with a prayer for the gift of forgiveness.

Prayer Suggestion 2

Read: Galatians 5:26

“Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.”

Read: Romans 13:13

“Let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy.”


  • What is envy?
  • Have you ever felt envy?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How did you handle it?
  • Have you ever suffered as a result of the envy of someone else?
  • How might you discover whether you still harbour secret envy towards others?
  • What might you do to avoid being envious of others?
  • How is love the opposite of envy?


Ask God to help you discover your secret envy and to help you overcome it.

Prayer Suggestion 3

Read: Luke 1:26-38 The Annunciation to Mary


  • Consider Mary’s faith.
  • Why is forgiveness important?
  • What are the qualities of Mary’s faith as shown in this passage from the Gospel of Luke?
  • How did it enable her to respond to God’s call?
  • What changes do I need to make in my own life to bring my faith more in line with Mary’s faith?


Ask God to help you grow in your faith.

Additional Resources:
St. Thomas Aquinas from Catholic Encyclopedia
St. Thomas Aquinas from
Prayer of St. Thomas
Find your spirituality type