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. Matthew by the Early Church Fathers.
“ The proud seek an earthly kingdom, of the humble only is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Page 148)
“Chrysostom. This parable is delivered against those who will not assist their neighbours either with money, or words, or in any other way, but hide all that they have.” (Page 853)
“Otherwise; mourning is sorrow for the loss of what is dear; but those that are turned to God lose the things that they held dear in this world; and as they have now no longer any joy in such things as before they had joy in, their sorrow may not be healed till there is formed within them a love of eternal things. They shall then be comforted by the Holy Spirit, who is therefore chiefly called, The Paraclete, that is, ‘Comforter;’ so that for the loss of their temporal joys, they shall gain eternal joys.” (Page 150)
“Pseudo-Chrysostom. (Homil. in Matt. Hom. i.) Matthew wrote for the Jews, and in Hebrewa; to them it was unnecessary to explain the divinity which they recognized; but necessary to unfold the mystery of the Incarnation. John wrote in Greek for the Gentiles who knew nothing of a Son of God. They required therefore to be told first, that the Son of God was God, then that this Deity was incarnate.” (Page 9)
“The meek are they who resist not wrongs, and give way to evil; but overcome evil of good.” (Page 148)
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.