Thought for the Day – 5 June – The Memorial of St Boniface (672-754) “The Apostle of Germany” – Martyr
An excerpt from a letter by St Boniface (672-754) “The Apostle of Germany”, Bishop and Martyr:
“Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to Him: “O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.” Let us trust in Him, who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear, let us bear with the help of Christ. For He is all-powerful and He tells us: “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” Let us continue the fight, on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us. If God so wills, “let us die for the holy laws of our fathers,” so that we may deserve, to obtain an eternal inheritance with them. Let us be neither dogs that do not bark, nor silent onlookers, nor paid servants, who run away before the wolf. Instead, let us be careful shepherds, watching over Christ’s flock. Let us preach the whole of God’s plan, to the powerful and to the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season.”
One Minute Reflection – 5 June – Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Boniface (672-754) “The Apostle of Germany” – Martyr
“Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”…Mark 9:23-24
REFLECTION – “Faith is a grace: When St Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood” but from “my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 16:17) Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’” (Vatican II, DV 5)
Faith is a human act: Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true, that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths He has revealed are contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions or to trust their promises (for example when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity, to “yield by faith the full submission of … intellect and will to God who reveals,” (Vatican I) and to share in an interior communion with Him.
In faith, the human intellect and will, cooperate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect, assenting to the divine truth, by command of the will, moved by God, through grace.”…St Thomas Aquinas
PRAYER – Lord, Your martyr Boniface, spread the faith by his teaching and witnessed to it with his blood. By the help of his prayers keep us loyal to our faith and give us courage to profess it in our lives. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 5 June – The Memorial of St Boniface (672-754) “The Apostle of Germany”
Eternal God, our Refuge By St Boniface (672-754)
the refuge and help of all Your children,
we praise You
for all You have given us,
for all You have done for us,
for all that You are to us.
In our weakness,
You are strength,
in our darkness,
You are light,
in our sorrow,
You are comfort and peace.
We cannot number Your blessings,
we cannot declare Your love
For all Your blessings,
we bless You.
May we live as in Your presence,
and love the things that You love,
and serve You in our daily lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Saint of the Day – 5 June – St Boniface (672-754) Martyr – Bishop/Archbishop, Martyr, Missionary and Evangelist, Teacher, Writer, Preacher, Theologian, Founder of Schools, Convents, Monasteries and Churches – known as “The Apostle of Germany”. Patron of brewers, file cutters, tailors, Germany, archdiocese of Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, Canada, diocese of Fulda, Germany.
Boniface, known as the apostle of the Germans, was an English Benedictine monk who gave up being elected abbot to devote his life to the conversion of the Germanic tribes. Two characteristics stand out: his Christian orthodoxy and his fidelity to the pope of Rome.
How absolutely necessary this orthodoxy and fidelity were is borne out by the conditions Boniface found on his first missionary journey in 719 at the request of Pope Gregory II. Paganism was a way of life. What Christianity he did find, had either lapsed into paganism or was mixed with error. The clergy were mainly responsible for these latter conditions since they were in many instances uneducated, lax and questionably obedient to their bishops. In particular instances their very ordinations were questionable.
These are the conditions that Boniface was to report in 722 on his first return visit to Rome. The Holy Father instructed him to reform the German Church. The pope sent letters of recommendation to religious and civil leaders. Boniface later admitted that his work would have been unsuccessful, from a human viewpoint, without a letter of safe-conduct from Charles Martel, the powerful Frankish ruler, grandfather of Charlemagne. Boniface was finally made a regional bishop and authorised to organise the whole German Church. He was eminently successful.
In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control.
In order to restore the Germanic Church to its fidelity to Rome and to convert the pagans, Boniface had been guided by two principles. The first was to restore the obedience of the clergy to their bishops in union with the pope of Rome. The second, was the establishment of many houses of prayer which took the form of Benedictine monasteries. A great number of Anglo-Saxon monks and nuns followed him to the continent, where he introduced the Benedictine nuns to the active apostolate of education.
For nearly 35 years, Boniface traveled all over Germany, preaching, teaching, and building schools, monasteries, and convents. He went to Rome to report to the pope about his work. There, the pope ordained him bishop and told him to return to Germany to continue missionary work. Boniface invited monks and sisters from England to come and help him. The monastery at Fulda is probably the most famous one started by Boniface, below is the Cathedral and a Statue of him there.
During a final mission to the Frisians, Boniface and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for confirmation by a band of angry natives. who rushed into the church and murdered them. Today Saint Boniface is the patron of Germany.
St Boniface & the Christmas Tree
It is told that Saint Boniface, one day came upon a group of pagans gathered around a big oak tree about to sacrifice a child to the god Thor, which was represented by the tree. To stop the sacrifice and save the child’s life Boniface felled the tree with one mighty blow of his fist. Nearby grew a small fir tree. The saint told the pagan worshippers that the tiny fir was the Tree of Life and stood for the eternal life of Christ . Saint Boniface also used the triangular shape of the fir tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. By the 12th Century, Christmas trees were used all over Europe as a symbol of Christianity.
More info on St Boniface here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/saint-of-the-day-5-june-st-boniface/