St. Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea is a masterpiece anthology of Patristic commentary on the Gospels, it includes the work of over eighty Church Fathers.
In the 13th century, Pope Urban IV, desiring that scholars of his day be better acquainted with the ideas of early Christians, assigned Saint Thomas Aquinas to compile a commentary on the Gospels based on the teachings of the Church fathers. The result is the Catena Aurea, or "Golden Chain."
St. Thomas Aquinas' work demonstrates intimate acquaintance with the Church Fathers and is an excellent complement to the more recent attempts to understand the inner meaning of the Sacred Scriptures. For each of the four Gospel writers, the Catena Aurea starts by indicating the verses to be analyzed, then phrase-by-phrase, provides the early Fathers insights into the passage.
This commentary includes notes on St. Luke by the Early Church Fathers.
“Ambrose. He rightly returns to himself, because he departed from himself. For he who returns to God restores himself to himself, and he who departs from Christ rejects himself from himself.” (Page 535)
“Bede. (in Marc. 12.) Or understanding it morally; to every one of the faithful is let out a vineyard to cultivate, in that the mystery of baptism is entrusted to him to work out. One servant is sent, a second and a third, when the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets are read. But the servant who is sent is said to be treated despitefully or beaten, when the word heard is despised or blasphemed. The heir who is sent that man kills as far as he can, who by sin tramples under foot the Son of God. (Heb. 6:6.) The wicked husbandman being destroyed, the vineyard is given to another, when with the gift of grace, which the proud man spurned, the humble are enriched.” (Page 660)
“Our Lord does not then forbid hospitality, but the troubling about many things, that is to say, hurry and anxiety. And mark the wisdom of our Lord, in that at first He said nothing to Martha, but when she sought to tear away her sister from hearing, then the Lord took occasion to reprove her. For hospitality is ever honoured as long as it keeps us to necessary things. But when it begins to hinder us from attending to what is of more importance, then it is plain that the hearing of the divine word is the more honourable.” (Page 381)
“May you then like Mary be influenced by the desire of wisdom. For this is the greater, this the more perfect work. Nor let the care of ministering to others turn thy mind from the knowledge of the heavenly word, nor reprove or think indolent those whom thou seest seeking after wisdom.” (Page 381)
St. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 in what is now Italy. He entered the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino at the age of five to begin his studies. He was transferred to the University of Naples at the age of sixteen, where he became acquainted with the revival of Aristotle and the Order of the Dominicans. Aquinas went on to study in Cologne in 1244 and Paris in 1245. He then returned to Cologne in 1248, where he became a lecturer.
Aquinas’s career as a theologian took him all over Europe. In addition to regularly lecturing and teaching in cities throughout Europe, Aquinas participated regularly in public life and advised both kings and popes.
Thomas Aquinas died on March 7, 1274 while traveling to the Second Council of Lyons. Fifty years after his death, Pope John XXII proclaimed Aquinas a saint. The First Vatican Council declared Aquinas the “teacher of the church.” In 1879, Pope Leo XII declared the Summa Theologica the best articulation of Catholic doctrine, and Aquinas was made the patron saint of education.
Thomas Aquinas has also profoundly influenced the history of Protestantism. He wrote prolifically on the relationship between faith and reason, as well as the theological and philosophical issues which defined the Reformation.