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. Mark by the Early Church Fathers.
“more is it wrong to separate from Christ, the Church” (Page 196)
“For then most of all does the devil thrust himself in, when he sees men remaining solitary.” (Page 18)
“He says not here, that riches are bad, but that those are bad who only have them to watch them carefully; for He teaches us not to have them, that is, not to keep or preserve them, but to use them in necessary things.” (Page 203)
“Could He who was able to restore sight be ignorant of what the blind man wanted? His reason then for asking is that prayer may be made to Him; He puts the question, to stir up the blind man’s heart to pray.” (Page 216)
“Lest again the disciples might be proud of being alone taken, He permits them to be in danger; and besides this, in order that they might learn to bear temptations manfully.” (Page 86)
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.