Thought for the Day – 31 August – The Memorial of St Raymond Nonnatus
The life of St. Raymond Nonnatus is a life filled with extraordinary facts – from his birth after his mother had already died. Then, consider the torment he suffered of having a padlock perforating his lips. Imagine the enormous pain and discomfort of having a padlock cutting through one’s lips even in sleep. Think how this would bother a man and disturb his nervous system! Then, each time that he had to eat, a Moor would come and open the padlock, breaking the wounds anew and causing new sufferings. Closing it would produce additional torments. Was he allowed to drink water during the day? Can you imagine the discomfort of drinking anything in this situation? He endured this life for the period of eight months.
What did he do when he was freed? Did he have a psychological breakdown? Become discouraged? Feel sorry for himself? No. He took an extraordinarily manly attitude and returned to a life of intense activity. You see how he resisted the temptations to feel sorry for himself and stop fighting for the Catholic cause. His attitude demanded a highly supernatural spirit and a strong virile personality. You see the astonishing fortitude of soul such a man had. He returned and continued an active life for another ten years or so.
He traveled throughout Europe as an ambassador of the Pope and a preacher of the Crusade. What a powerful impression the word of his sermons delivered by his wounded lips must have made on the people!
Imagine such a scene: St. Raymond Nonnatus arriving in a city; the bells ringing and the word spreading that Fr. Raymond – the one with the wounded lips – is in town to preach a Crusade on behalf of the Pope. All the nobles and people of the area gather around with their families and he begins to speak. He speaks about the meaning of the Sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ and what its profanation represents. How it is necessary to re-conquer it for the glory of God and Catholic honour. He speaks with the voice and prestige of a saint, with the supernatural power of communication that only the saints have.
The hearts of men opened to saints like St Raymond Nonnatus and St. Bernard who preached the Crusade
The hearts of the knights begin to be touched, the ladies weep and give their consent for their husbands to go and fight for the Holy Land. Everyone goes to Confession and the date of the Crusade is announced. The practical preparations start. All this happens because a saint passes through that area.
This imaginary scene may help you to understand what the Middle Ages was. The influence of the saints and the good reception the people gave them is what really explains why the Middle Ages had so many wonderful things and our epoch does not. The key is the presence of the saints and the openness people had for them. How few saints there are today! Knowing this, we understand the tragedy of the contemporary situation of the Church and the world.
Let us ask St. Raymond Nonnatus to give us more saints to regenerate the Church and the world and make the modern man recognise them and be receptive to their message.
“Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides of death always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence the first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 190 – 258) from Letters, 253
One Minute Reflection – 31 August – Gospel Mathew 24:42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.’...Matthew 24:42
REFLECTION – “You have been created for the glory of God and your own eternal salvation…..This is your goal! This is the centre of your life; this is the treasure of your heart. If you reach your goal you will find happiness. If you fail to reach it, you will find misery.”……St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – My Lord and my God, help me eternal Father, to stay awake! Teach me to be constantly on guard against my own weakness, to constantly keep watch for temptation and to live constantly in prayer, that Your Son will lead me to safety. St Raymond Nonnatus, you suffered torture but always remain prayerful and awake, waiting for the Lord, please pray for me, amen.
O Lord my God.
Teach my heart this day
where and how to find You.
You have made me and re-made me,
and You have bestowed on me
all the good things I possess,
and still I do not know You.
I have not yet done
that for which I was made.
Teach me to seek You,
for I cannot seek You
unless you teach me,
or find You
unless You show Yourself to me.
Let me seek You in my desire;
let me desire You in my seeking.
Let me find You by loving You;
let me love You when I find You. Amen
Saint of the Day – 31 August – St Raymond Nonnatus O.deM. Religious Priest, Confessor, (1204 at Portella, diocese of Urgel, Catalonia, Spain. He was delivered by caesarean operation when his mother died in childbirth; hence the name non natus = not born – 31 August 1240 at Cardona, Spain of a fever). He was buried at the chapel of Saint Nicholas near his family farm he was supposed to have managed. He was Beatified on 5 November 1625 by Pope Urban VIII (cultus confirmed) and Canonised on 1657 by Pope Alexander VII. Patronages – against gossip, of silence, against fever, of babies, infants, newborns, childbirth, children, expectant mothers, pregnant women, falsely accused people, midwives, obstetricians, Baltoa, Dominican Republic, San Ramon, Costa Rica. Attributes – a Mercedarian friar wearing a cardinal’s red mozzetta, holding a monstrance and a martyr’s palm branch.
From the time he was very young, he manifested a great devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. He prayed the Rosary every day in the hermitage of St. Nicholas of Mira . Once Our Lady appeared to him and promised him her protection. Afterward he was strongly tempted to sin against chastity but did not fall. He went to thank his Patroness and consecrated his virginity to her. Mary appeared to him again, showing her satisfaction and advising him to enter the Order of the Mercedarians (Order of Mercy), whose foundation she had inspired St. Peter Nolasco to make only shortly before, in 1218.
He was ordained a priest and dedicated himself to the redemption of captives until 1231. He liberated 140 captives in Valencia, 250 in Argel and 28 in Tunis. It was in this last city that he had the occasion to fulfill the special fourth vow of the Mercedarians to offer themselves to remain in captivity in the place of Catholic prisoners. Since he was unable to pay the ransom demanded by the slave dealers in Tunis, Raymond offered himself to take the place of some prisoners.
The trade was made and he began a hard captivity. To prevent him from speaking about Our Lord, for his engaging words were converting numerous Muslims, the Arabian slave masters pierced his lips with a red-hot iron and closed them with a padlock. This padlock was only opened for him to eat. After eight months of this torment, other Mercedarians arrived from Spain bringing the demanded ransom.
The last ten years of his life were spent in Rome, where he became the representative of his Order and in traveling throughout different countries to preach the Crusade. As a cardinal representative of Pope Gregory IX he was sent to meet with St Louis of France and encourage him to go on the Crusade, which actually took place 10 years later.
St. Raymond Nonnatus died in Cardona, a Spanish village close to Barcelona, on August 31, 1240. He was only 37-years-old.
One particular devotion is centered around the padlock that is part of his martyrdom. Locks are placed at his altar representing a prayer request to end gossip, rumours, false testimonies and other sins of the tongue. The locks are used as a visible sign of such prayer request, which first and foremost must take place interiorly, a prayer to God through St. Raymond’s intercession.
The Mercedarians – Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy:
The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy is an international community of priests and brothers who live a life of prayer and communal fraternity. In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, their members take a special fourth vow to give up their own selves for others whose faith is in danger.
The Order, also called the Mercedarians, or Order of Mercy, was founded in 1218 in Spain by St Peter Nolasco to redeem Christian captives from their Muslim captors. The Order exists today in 17 countries, including Spain, Italy, Brazil, India and the United States.
Today, friars of the Order of Mercy continue to rescue others from modern types of captivity, such as social, political, and psychological forms. They work in jails, marginal neighborhoods, among addicts and in hospitals.
The spiritual and communal life of the friars include prayer, meditation, Holy Mass, recreation and apostolate. Their life is based on the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order.
Overall, the Order of Mercy commits itself to give testimony to the same Good News of love and redemption that it has shown since the beginning of its history.
St Aidan of Lindisfarne
St Ammi of Caesarea
St Aristides the Philosopher
St Barbolenus of Bobbio
St Cuthburgh of Wimborne
St Cwenburgh of Wimborne
St Cyprian of Carthage
St Mark of Milan
St Optatus of Auxerre
St Paulinus of Trier
Bl Pere Tarrés i Claret
St Raymond Nonnatus – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4aCvO4Cdq4
St Raymond NonnatusRobustian of Milan
St Raymond NonnatusRufina of Caesarea
St Raymond NonnatusTheodotus of Caesarea
Martyrs of Prague – 64 beati
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Martyrs of Pozo de la Lagarta – 18 beati:
• Blessed Bernardo Cembranos Nistal
• Blessed Dionisio Ullivarri Barajuán
• Blessed Enrique Vidaurreta Palma
• Blessed Félix Paco Escartín
• Blessed Germán Martín y Martín
• Blessed Isidro Ordóñez Díez
• Blessed José María Palacio Montes
• Blessed Justo Zariquiegui Mendoza
• Blessed Marciano Herrero Martínez
• Blessed Miguel Menéndez García
• Blessed Tomás Alonso Sanjuán
• Blessed Ventureta Sauleda Paulís
Since he had no children, St Pammachius made the poor his heirs and became known in Rome as the benefactor of the blind, the poor and the handicapped. Since he was one of the first Romans of senatorial rank to become a Christian and live the faith to its fullest in love and charity, his works and deeds of extending his hand to all in need, were remembered for centuries and perhaps, even more importantly, he is became a powerful example of the effect of Christian teaching upon a person of rank and power.
For a wealthy man, there are so many opportunities to help others and St Pammachius looked upon his works of charity as an obligation of his Christian conscience. His best friend, St Jerome, Father and one of the original four doctors of the Latin Church, said “instead of speaking saintly words, we must act them” and that is precisely what St Pammachius did – for he lived the words of Our Lord, he lived the Beatitudes!
“Do to no-one what you would not want done to you. Give your bread to those who are hungry and your clothes to those who are naked.”… Tobit 4:16-17
REFLECTION – “The bread that is in your box belongs to the hungry;
the coat in your closet belongs to the naked;
the shoes you do not wear belong to the barefoot;
the money in your vault belongs to the destitute.”…..St Basil the Great (329-379) – Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism you made us children of light. Hear our prayer, that we may always walk in that light and work for truth, love and charity, as Your witnesses before men. St Pammachius, you lived a life of total charity to those most in need, please pray for us, amen.
O Lord, the house of my soul is narrow By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor
O God, the Light of the heart that sees You,
The Life of the soul that loves You,
The Strength of the mind that seeks You:
May I ever continue
to be steadfast in Your love.
Be the joy of my heart;
Take all of me to Yourself and abide therein.
The house of my soul is,
I confess, too narrow for You.
Enlarge it that You may enter.
It is ruinous but do repair it.
It has within it what must offend Your eyes;
I confess and know it,
but whose help shall I seek
in cleansing it but Yours alone?
To You, O God, I cry urgently.
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep me from false pride and sensuality
That they not get dominion over me.
Saint of the Day – 30 August – St Pammachius (c 340 – 410 at Rome, Italy of natural causes) – Senator, Monk, Apostle of Charity, friend of St Jerome.
St Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century. As a young student, he had become friends with St. Jerome. They remained friends all their lives and kept an ongoing correspondence. His wife was Paulina, the second daughter of St. Paula, another good friend of St. Jerome. When Paulina died in 397, St Jerome and St Paulinus of Nola wrote deeply moving letters filled with sympathy, support and the promise of prayers.
On Paulina’s death in 397, Pammachius became a monk, that is, put on a religious habit and gave himself up to works of charity.He spent the rest of his life serving in the hospice he and St Fabiola built. There pilgrims coming to Rome were welcomed and made comfortable. Pammachius and Fabiola willingly accepted and even preferred the poor, the sick and the handicapped.
St Pammachius was much more gentle with his words and ways than the fiery St Jerome. He often suggested to Jerome that he soften or reword his letters but Jerome usually did not. For example, a man named Jovinian was teaching serious errors. Jerome wrote a harsh essay exposing Jovinian’s errors. Pammachius read the essay and made some good suggestions about rewording the overpowering expressions. St Jerome thanked his friend for his concern but did not make the corrections. Pammachius also tried to heal a quarrel between his friend St Jerome and a man named Rufinus. ut it does not seem that he could move Jerome to become more mild in his handling of the person or issues. In 401 Pammachius was thanked by St Augustine for a letter he wrote to the people of Numidia, where he owned property, exhorting them to abandon the Donatist schism. Many of St Jerome’s commentaries on Scripture were dedicated to Pammachius.
St Pammachius had a Church built in Rome. Today it is the Passionist church of Saints John and Paul. He died in 410 as the Goths were taking over Rome.
St Adauctus of Rome
Bl Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
St Arsenius the Hermit
St Boniface of Hadrumetum
St Bononius of Lucedio
Bl Bronislava of Poland
Bl Edward Shelley
Bl Ero di Armenteira
Bl Eustáquio van Lieshout
St Fantinus of San Mercurius
St Felix of Rome
St Gaudentia of Rome
Bl Giovanni Giovenale Ancina
Bl John Roche
St Margaret Ward
Bl María Rafols-Bruna
St Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran
St Pelagius the Hermit
St Peter of Trevi
Bl Riccardo of Lotaringia
Bl Richard Flower
Bl Richard Leigh
Bl Richard Martin
St Rumon of Tavistock
Sylvanus the Hermit
St Thecla of Hadrumetum
St Theodosius of Oria
Bl Yusuf Nehme
Martyrs of Colonia Suffetulana – 60 saints: A group of 60 Christians martyred for destroying a statue of Hermes.
They were martyred in Colonia Suffetulana, Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Blessed José Ferrer Adell
Blessed Manuel Medina Olmos
Blessed Vicente Cabanes Badenas
Martyrs of Barranco del Chisme (Spanish Civil War) – 10 beati:
• Blessed Alberto José Larrazábal Michelena
• Blessed Antonio María Arriaga Anduiza
• Carles Canyes Santacana
• Blessed Caterina Margenat Roura
• Diego Ventaja Milán
• Blessed Eleuterio Angulo Ayala
• Blessed Josefa Monrabal Montaner
• Manuel Medina Olmos
• Blessed Maria Dolores Oller Angelats
• Blessed Nicasio Romo Rubio
Thought for the Day – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist
“Dear brothers and sisters, celebrating the martyrdom of St John the Baptist reminds us too, Christians of this time, that with love for Christ, for His words and for the Truth, we cannot stoop to compromises. The Truth is Truth; there are no compromises. Christian life demands, so to speak, the “martyrdom” of daily fidelity to the Gospel, the courage, that is, to let Christ grow within us and let Him be the One who guides our thought and our actions. However, this can happen in our life only if we have a solid relationship with God. Prayer is not time wasted, it does not take away time from our activities, even apostolic activities but exactly the opposite is true: only if we are able to have a faithful, constant and trusting life of prayer will God Himself give us the ability and strength to live happily and serenely, to surmount difficulties and to witness courageously to Him. St John the Baptist, intercede for us, that we may be ever able to preserve the primacy of God in our life. ” (Pope Benedict – Castel Gandolfo, Wednesday, 29 August 2012)
“The vengeance of God fell heavily upon Herod Antipas. Josephus relates how he was overcome by the Arabian Aretas, whose daughter he had repudiated in order to follow his wicked passions; and the Jews attributed the defeat to the murder of Saint John. Herod was deposed by Rome from his tetrarchate and banished to Lyons in Gaul, where the ambitious Herodias shared his disgrace. As to her dancing daughter Salome, there is a tradition gathered from ancient authors, that, having gone out one winter day to dance upon a frozen river, she fell through into the water; the ice, immediately closing round her neck, cut off her head, which bounded upon the surface, thus continuing for some moments the dance of death.” ………..Abbot Gueranger
One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”…Mark 6:24
REFLECTION – “O great and admirable mystery! He must increase, but I must decrease, said John, said the voice which personified all the voices that had gone before announcing the Father’s Word Incarnate in His Christ…. But He is said to grow in us, when we grow in Him. To him, then, who draws near to Christ, to him who makes progress in the contemplation of wisdom, words are of little use; of necessity they tend to fail altogether. Thus the ministry of the voice falls short in proportion as the soul progresses towards the Word; it is thus that Christ must increase and John decrease. The same is indicated by the beheading of John and the exaltation of Christ upon the Cross; as it had already been shown by their birthdays: for, from the birth of John the days begin to shorten and from the birth of Our Lord they begin to grow longer.”….St Augustine (354-420)
PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John The Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness By St Ignatius Loyola
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
Saint of the Day – The Beheading of St John the Baptist – 29 August (beheaded c 30 at Machaerus) His was buried at Sebaste, Samaria, though the grave was vandalised. The remaining relics in Saint Sylvester’s church, Rome, Italy, and at Amiens, France. The Patronages of St John the Baptist are – against convulsions or spasms, epileptics and against epilepsy, against hail and hailstorms, baptism, bird dealers, converts, convulsive children, cutters, farriers, French Canadians, innkeepers, lambs, monastic life, motorways, printers, tailors, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Knights Hospitaller, Knights of Malta, 13 dioceses, 69 cities. Attributes – cross in hand, lamb, severed head on a platter, skin of an animal, slender cross, tall, thin cross.
In addition to the feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24), the Church, since the fourth century, commemorates the martyrdom of Christ’s precursor. According to the Roman Martyrology, this day marks “the second finding of his most venerable head.” The body of the saint was buried in Samaria. In the year 362 pagans desecrated the grave and burned his remains. Only a small portion of his relics were able to be saved by monks and sent to St Athanasius at Alexandria. The head of the saint is venerated at various places. That in the Church of St Sylvester in Rome belongs to a martyr priest John. Also in the Dominican church at Breslau the Baptist’s head is honoured.
“There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: “I am the truth”? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.
Through his birth, preaching and baptising, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.
Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ.
To endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.
Since death was ever near at hand, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: “You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.” He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” (Saint Bede the Venerable)
The Beheading/Passion of John the Baptist (Memorial)
Our Lady of Tears: On March 8th, 1930, the Virgin appeared to a religious from the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of Jesus Crucified, Amalia Aguirre of the Savior Scourged: “I was in the chapel when I suddenly felt that I was lifting up. I saw a lady of indescribable beauty approach me.”
She was dressed in a purple dress, a blue cloak and a white veil that covered even the chest. The Most Holy Virgin, would display a rosary with her tears, for converting sinners. Devotion to this Rosary, was approved by Bishop Francisco Campos Barreto, Bishop of Campinas, who not only allowed the recognition of the events, but he did his utmost to spread everywhere the commemorative medal of Our Lady of Tears, the source of many conversions and graces.
Our Lady of the Guard: In 1214 maître (master) Pierre, a priest of Marseille, was inspired to build a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the hill known as La Garde, which belonged to the abbey of Saint-Victor. The abbot granted him permission to plant vines, cultivate a garden and build a chapel. The chapel, completed four years later, appears in an 18 June 1218 papal bull by Pope Honorius III listing the possessions of the abbey. After maître Pierre died in 1256, Notre-Dame de la Garde became a priory. The prior of the sanctuary was also one of four claustral priors of Saint-Victor.
From the time the chapel was founded, surviving wills show bequests in its favour. Also, sailors who survived shipwrecks gave thanks and deposited ex-votos at Notre-Dame of the Sea in the church of Notre-Dame-du-Mont. Towards the end of the 16th century they began going to Notre-Dame de la Garde instead.
The first chapel was replaced at the beginning of the 15th century by a larger building with a richly equipped chapel dedicated to Saint Gabriel. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1c7Lsbtm-4)
St Adausia of Rome
St Alberic of Bagno de Romagna
St Basilia of Sirmium
St Candida of Rome
Bl Dominik Jedrzejewski
Bl Edmund Rice
St Edwold the Hermit
St Eufrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Eluvathingal
St Euthymius of Perugia
Bl Filippa Guidoni
St Jeanne Jugan
Bl John of Perugia
St Louis-Wulphy Huppy
St Maximian of Vercelli
St Nicaeus of Antioch
St Paul of Antioch
Bl Peter of Sassoferrato
St Repositus of Velleianum
Bl Richard Herst
St Sabina of Rome
St Sabina of Troyes
Bl Sancja Szymkowiak
St Sator of Velleianum
St Sebbe of Essex
Bl Teresa Bracco
St Victor of La Chambon
St Vitalis of Velleianum
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Constantino Fernández Álvarez
Bl José Almunia López-Teruel
Bl Josep Maria Tarín Curto
Bl Pedro Asúa Mendía
Thought for the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.
There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures, redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.
Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent: politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.
In his day, Augustine providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).
Augustine is still acclaimed (and condemned) in our day. He is a prophet for today, trumpeting the need to scrap escapisms and stand face-to-face with personal responsibility and dignity. (Fr Don Miller OFM – Saint of the Day)
St Augustine, our Father in Faith, pray for us now and at the hour of our death!
St Augustine, the Holy Trinity, the Child and the SeaShell
Today, 11 June 2017, on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we remember the legend of St Augustine and the Seashell.
Abraham Willaerts – St Augustine and the Child
The great Doctor of the Church St. Augustine of Hippo spent over 30 years working on his treatise De Trinitate [about the Holy Trinity], endeavouring to conceive an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity.
He was walking by the seashore one day contemplating and trying to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity when he saw a small boy running back and forth from the water to a spot on the seashore. The boy was using a sea shell to carry the water from the ocean and place it into a small hole in the sand.
The Bishop of Hippo approached him and asked, “My boy, what are…
One Minute Reflection – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Grace
“Therefore, whosoever hears these words of mine and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.…” Matthew 7:24
REFLECTION – “If any one will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life: and this we do not rashly venture to promise but gather it from the very words of the Lord Himself.
For the sermon itself is brought to a close in such a way, that it is clear there are in it all the precepts which go to mould the life. … He has sufficiently indicated, as I think, that these sayings which He uttered on the mount so perfectly guide the life of those who may be willing to live according to them, that they may justly be compared to one building upon a rock.”...St Augustine (On the Sermon on the Mount)
PRAYER – Lord God, renew Your Church with he Spirit of wisdom and love which You gave to St Augustine. Lead us by that same Spirit, to seek You, the only fountain of true wisdom and the source of everlasting love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Spirit, one God, forever and ever, St Augustine, pray for the Church and for us all, amen.
Our Morning Offering – August 28 – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Grace
Only You! By ST AUGUSTINE
Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You
and desire nothing save only You.
Let me hate myself and love You.
Let me do everything for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You.
Let me think of nothing except You.
Let me die to myself and live in You.
Let me accept whatever happens as from You.
Let me banish self and follow You
and ever desire to follow You.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You,
That I may deserve to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself.
Let me fear You
and let me be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in You.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.
Let me cling to nothing save only to You,
And let me be poor because of You.
Look upon me, that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You and for ever enjoy You.
Saint of the Day – 28 August – St Augustine (354-430) born Augustinus Aurelius (13 November 354 at Tagaste, Numidia, North Africa (Souk-Ahras, Algeria) – 28 August 430 at Hippo, North Africa) – Doctor of Grace and one of the original Four Fathers & Doctors of the Latin Church – Bishop, Theologian, Philosopher, Rhetoritician, Writer, Preacher, Teacher, Advisor, Reformer, Confessor, Apologist, Apostle of Charity. Patronages – of theologians, brewers, printers, 7 diocese, 7 cities, against sore eyes, against vermin. Attributes – Child; dove; pen; shell, pierced heart, holding book with a small church, bishop’s staff, mitre, flaming heart, an allusion to a passage in his Confessions.
Augustine was born in the year on 13 November in 354 AD in the municipium of Thagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman Africa. His mother, Monica, was a devout Christian; his father Patricius was a Pagan who converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Scholars generally agree that Augustine and his family were Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa but that they were heavily Romanized, speaking only Latin at home as a matter of pride and dignity. In his writings, Augustine leaves some information as to the consciousness of his African heritage. For example, he refers to Apuleius as “the most notorious of us Africans,” to Ponticianus as “a country man of ours, insofar as being African”and to Faustus of Mileve as “an African Gentleman.”
Augustine’s family name, Aurelius, suggests that his father’s ancestors were freedmen of the gens Aurelia given full Roman citizenship by the Edict of Caracalla in 212. Augustine’s family had been Roman, from a legal standpoint, for at least a century when he was born. It is assumed that his mother, Monica, was of Berber origin, on the basis of her name but as his family were an upper class of citizens known as honorable men, Augustine’s first language is likely to have been Latin.
Augustine Aurelius still unbaptised and burning for knowledge, he came under the influence of the Manicheans, which caused his mother intense sorrow. He left Africa for Rome, deceiving his mother, who was ever anxious to be near him. She prayed and wept. A bishop consoled her by observing that a son of so many tears would never be lost. Yet the evil spirit drove him constantly deeper into moral degeneracy, capitalising on his leaning toward pride and stubbornness. Grace was playing a waiting game; there still was time and the greater the depths into which the evil spirit plunged its fledgling, the stronger would be the reaction.
Augustine recognised this vacuum; he saw how the human heart is created with a great abyss; the earthly satisfactions that can be thrown into it are no more than a handful of stones that hardly cover the bottom. And in that moment grace was able to break through: Restless is the heart until it rests in God. The tears of his mother, the sanctity of Milan’s Bishop Ambrose, the book of St Anthony the hermit and the sacred Scriptures wrought his conversion, which was sealed by baptism on Easter night 387. Augustine’s mother went to Milan with joy and witnessed her son’s baptism. It was what it should have been, the greatest event of his life, his conversion — metanoia. Grace had conquered. Augustine accompanied his mother to Ostia, where she died. She was eager to die, for now she had given birth to her son for the second time.
In 388 he returned to Tagaste, where he lived a common life of prayer and solitude with his friends. In 391 he was ordained priest at Hippo, in 394 made coadjutor to bishop Valerius and then from 396 to 430 bishop of Hippo.
Augustine, numbered among the four great Doctors of the Western Church, possessed one of the most penetrating minds of ancient Christendom. He was the most important Platonist of patristic times, the Church’s most influential theologian, especially with regard to clarifying the dogmas of the Trinity, grace and the Church. He was a great speaker, a prolific writer, a saint with an inexhaustible spirituality. His Confessions, a book appreciated in every age, describes a notable portion of his life (until 400), his errors, his battles, his profound religious observations. Famous too is his work The City of God, a worthy memorial to his genius, a philosophy of history. Most edifying are his homilies, especially those on the psalms and on the Gospel of St. John.
Augustine’s episcopal life was filled with mighty battles against heretics, over all of whom he triumphed. His most illustrious victory was that over Pelagius, who denied the necessity of grace; from this encounter he earned the surname “Doctor of grace.” As an emblem Christian art accords him a burning heart to symbolise the ardent love of God which permeates all his writings. He is the founder of canonical life in common; therefore Augustinian monks and the Hermits of St. Augustine honour him as their spiritual father.
As bishop, Augustine worked tirelessly for his people. He fought false religious teachings, protected the people from corrupt officials and invaders and cared for the sick, the poor and those in prison. His many sermons, letters and books reflect the ever-deepening love he felt for God. He wisely observed: “You have made us, O God, for yourself, and our hearts shall find no rest until they rest in you.”
He wrote and advised bishops, popes and councils. His influence on the Church and his fight against heresy were exceptional. He was loved by many, for he had struggled much and could help others who were struggling.
In 430 Vandals invaded the province. For three months Augustine inspired Christian hope in his people. According to Possidius, Augustine spent his final days in prayer and repentance, requesting that the penitential Psalms of David be hung on his walls so that he could read them. vv He directed that the library of the church in Hippo and all the books therein should be carefully preserved. He died on 28 August 430. Shortly after his death, the Vandals lifted the siege of Hippo but they returned not long thereafter and burned the city. They destroyed all of it but Augustine’s cathedral and library, which they left untouched.
St Bede’s True Martyrology, recounts that Augustine’s body was later translated or moved to Cagliari, Sardinia, by the Catholic bishops expelled from North Africa by Huneric. Around 720, his remains were transported again by Peter, bishop of Pavia and uncle of the Lombard king Liutprand, to the church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro in Pavia, in order to save them from frequent coastal raids by Muslims. In January 1327, Pope John XXII issued the papal bull Veneranda Santorum Patrum, in which he appointed the Augustinians guardians of the tomb of Augustine (called Arca), which was remade in 1362 and elaborately carved with bas-reliefs of scenes from Augustine’s life.
St Augustine of Hippo (Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAWJFbUYT_w
Bl Adelindis of Buchau
St Agnes of Cologne
St Alexander of Constantinople
Bl Alfons Maria Mazurek
St Ambrose of Saintes
Bl Angelo da Pesche d’Isernia
St Anthes of Salerno
Bl Charles-Arnold Hanus
St Edmund Arrowsmith
St Facundinus of Taino
St Felix of Venosa
St Fortunatus of Salerno
St Gaius of Salerno
St Gorman of Schleswig
Bl Henry Webley
St Hermes of Rome
Bl Hugh More
Bl James Claxton
St Januarius of Venosa
St Joaquina Vedruna de Mas
St Julian of Auvergne
St Junipero Serra
St Moses the Black
St Pelagius of Istria
St Restitutus of Carthage
St Rumwold the Prince
St Septiminus of Venosa
St Vivian of Saintes
Bl William Dean
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Martyrs of Griñon – 10 beati
Martyrs of Tarragona – 6 beati
• Blessed Agustín Bermejo Miranda
• Blessed Alejandro Iñiguez De Heredia Alzola
• Blessed Andrés Merino Báscones
• Blessed Antonio Solá Garriga
• Blessed Arturo Ros Montalt
• Blessed Aurelio da Vinalesa
• Blessed Celestino Ruiz Alegre
• Blessed Cesáreo España Ortiz
• Blessed Eladi Peres Bori
• Blessed Evencio Castellanos López
• Blessed Francisco López Navarette
• Blessed Germán Arribas y Arribas
• Blessed Graciliano Ortega Narganes
• Blessed Isidre Fábregas Gils
• Blessed Jaume Tarragó Iglesias
• Blessed Javier Pradas Vidal
• Blessed Joan Tomás Gibert
• Blessed Joaquim Oliveras Puljarás
• Blessed José Gorastazu Labayen
• Blessed Josep Camprubí Corrubí
• Blessed Juan Bautista Faubel Cano
• Blessed Lázaro Ruiz Peral
• Blessed Manoel José Sousa de Sousa
• Blessed Modest Godo Buscato
• Blessed Modest Pamplona Falguera
• Blessed Nicolás Rueda Barriocanal
• Blessed Serviliano Solá Jiménez
• Blessed Teodoro Pérez Gómez
On St Monica’s Memorial, let us pray for her intercession that the Lord may grant us patience, fortitude and trust – 27 August :
Prayer for the intercession of St Monica
Dear St. Monica,
troubled wife and mother,
many sorrows pierced your heart
during your lifetime.
Yet, you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence
and profound faith,
you prayed daily for the conversion
of your husband
and your beloved son, Augustine;
your prayers were answered.
Grant me that same fortitude, patience,
and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
that God may favorably hear my plea for
(Mention your intention here)
and grant me the grace
to accept His Will in all things,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Thought for the day – 27 August – The Memorial of St Monica
Today we celebrate the memorial of St Monica, the mother of St Augustine, whose memorial we will celebrate tomorrow.
We celebrate this memorial not simply because St Monica was the mother of a great saint.
The opening prayer for Mass goes like this and it is worthwhile to take note: ‘God of mercy, comfort of those in sorrow, the tears of St Monica moved you to convert her son, St Augustine to the faith of Christ.’
All in all, she prayed for something like 30 years before she finally had the joy of seeing St Augustine baptised.
St Monica enfleshed the words which we hear in the 1st reading: ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who has given us His love and through His grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you.’
The consolation, experienced by St Monica and her total abandonment to God can also be ours today when we persevere in patience and in trust – this is Monica’s lesson – keep on praying good folk, for God hears you!
St Monica, pray for us!
“The day was now approaching when my mother Monica would depart from this life; You know that day, Lord, though we did not. She and I happened to be standing by ourselves at a window that overlooked the garden in the courtyard of the house. At the time we were in Ostia on the Tiber. And so the two of us, all alone, were enjoying a very pleasant conversation, “forgetting the past and pushing on to what is ahead..” We were asking one another in the presence of the Truth – for You are the Truth – what it would be like to share the eternal life enjoyed by the saints, which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, which has not even entered into the heart of man.” We desired with all our hearts to drink from the streams of your heavenly fountain, the fountain of life. That was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. But You know, O Lord, that in the course of our conversation that day, the world and its pleasures lost all their attraction for us. My mother said, “Son, as far as I am concerned, nothing in this life now gives me any pleasure. I do not know why I am still here, since I have no further hopes in this world. I did have one reason for wanting to live a little longer: to see you become a Catholic Christian before I died. God has lavished His gifts on me in that respect, for I know that you have even renounced earthly happiness to be his servant. So what am I doing here?” I do not really remember how I answered her. Shortly, within five days or thereabouts, she fell sick with a fever. Then one day during the course of her illness she became unconscious and for a while she was unaware of her surroundings. My brother and I rushed to her side but she regained consciousness quickly. She looked at us as we stood there and asked in a puzzled voice: “Where was I?” We were overwhelmed with grief, but she held her gave steadily upon us, and spoke further: “Here you shall bury your mother.” I remained silent as I held back my tears. However, my brother haltingly expressed his hope that she might not die in a strange country but in her own land, since her end would be happier there. When she heard this, her face was filled with anxiety and she reproached him with a glance because he had entertained such earthly thoughts. Then she looked at me and spoke: “Look what he is saying.” Thereupon she said to both of us, “Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” Once our mother had expressed this desire as best she could, she fell silent as the pain of her illness increased.”– from the Confessions of Saint Augustine
One Minute Reflection – 27 August – The Memorial of St Monica
My human life … is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me….Galatians 2:20
REFLECTION – “How many difficulties there are also today in family relationships
and how many mothers are anguished because their children choose mistaken ways!
Monica, a wise and solid woman in the faith, invites us not to be discouraged
but to persevere in our mission of wives and mothers,
maintaining firm our confidence in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer.”
… Pope Benedict XVI (27 August 2006)
PRAYER – God our Father, comforter of the sorrowful,
You accepted St Monica’s offering of tears for the
conversion of her son, Augustine.
Help us too, by their intercession to be truly contrite
for our sins and to live in a life of faith in Your Son,
who loved us and gave Himself for us. St Monica,
pray for us amen.
Our Morning Offering – 27 August – The Memorial of St Monica
LATE HAVE I LOVED YOU By St Augustine
Late have I loved You,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved You!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for You,
and upon the shapely things You have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me but I was not with You.
They held me back far from You,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in You.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness.
You flared, blazed, banished my blindness.
You lavished Your fragrance, I gasped
and now I pant for You;
I tasted You and now I hunger and thirst;
You touched me and I burned for Your peace.