Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace

Thought for the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace (sorry it’s long but absolutely worth the effort)

Papal Homily – Pastoral Visit to Vigevano and Pavia, Italy
H.H. Benedict XVI
Third Sunday of Easter
22 April 2007

The path we must take – the path that Jesus points out to us – is called “conversion”.   But what is it?   What must we do?   In every life conversion has its own form, because every human being is something new and no one is merely a copy of another.

But in the course of history, the Lord has sent us models of conversion to whom we can look to find guidance.   We could thus look at Peter himself to whom the Lord said at the Last Supper:  “[W]hen you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22: 32).

We could look at Paul as a great convert.   The City of Pavia speaks of one of the greatest converts in the history of the Church – St Aurelius Augustine.   He died on 28 August in 430 in the port town of Hippo, in Africa, at that time surrounded and besieged by the Vandals.   After the considerable turmoil of a turbulent history, the King of the Longobards acquired Augustine’s remains for the City of Pavia so that today they belong to this City in a special way and, in it and from it, have something special to say to all of us, to humanity but to all of us here in particular.

In his book, Confessions, Augustine touchingly described the development of his conversion which achieved its goal with Baptism, administered to him by Bishop Ambrose in the Cathedral of Milan.   Readers of his Confessions can share in the journey that Augustine had to make in a long inner struggle to receive at last, at the baptismal font on the night before Easter 387, the Sacrament which marked the great turning point in his life.   A careful examination of the course of St Augustine’s life enables one to perceive that his conversion was not an event of a single moment but, precisely, a journey.   And one can see that this journey did not end at the baptismal font.

Just as prior to his baptism Augustine’s life was a journey of conversion, after it too, although differently, his life continued to be a journey of conversion – until his last illness, when he had the penitential Psalms hung on the walls so that he might have them always before his eyes and when he excluded himself from receiving the Eucharist in order to go back once again over the path of his repentance and receive salvation from Christ’s hands as a gift of God’s mercy.

Thus, we can rightly speak of Augustine’s “conversions”, which actually consisted of one important conversion in his quest for the Face of Christ and then in the journeying on with him.   I would like to mention briefly three important landmarks in this process of conversion, three “conversions”.

The first fundamental conversion was the inner march towards Christianity, towards the “yes” of the faith and of Baptism.   What was the essential aspect of this journey?

On the one hand, Augustine was a son of his time, deeply conditioned by the customs and passions prevalent then as well as by all the questions and problems that beset any young man.   He lived like all the others, yet with a difference, he continued to be a person constantly seeking.   He was never satisfied with life as it presented itself and as so many people lived it.   The question of the truth tormented him ceaselessly.   He longed to discover truth. He wanted to succeed in knowing what man is, where we ourselves come from, where we are going and how we can find true life.

He desired to find the life that was right and not merely to live blindly, without meaning or purpose.   Passion for truth is the true key phrase of his life.   Passion for the truth truly guided him.

There is a further peculiarity: anything that did not bear Christ’s Name did not suffice for him.   Love for this Name, he tells us, he had tasted from his mother’s milk (cf. Confessions, 3, 4, 8).   And he always believed – sometimes rather vaguely, at other times, more clearly – that God exists and takes care of us (cf. Confessions, 6, 5, 8).   But to truly know this God and to become really familiar with this Jesus Christ and reach the point of saying “yes” to Him with all its consequences – this was the great interior struggle of his youthful years.

St Augustine tells us that through Platonic philosophy he learned and recognised that “in the beginning was the Word” – the Logos, creative reason.   But philosophy, which showed him that the beginning of all things was creative reason, did not show him any path on which to reach it; this Logos remained remote and intangible.   Only through faith in the Church did he later find the second essential truth – the Word, the Logos, was made flesh.

Thus, he touches us and we touch him.   The humility of God’s Incarnation – this is the important step – must be equalled by the humility of our faith, which lays down its self-important pride and bows upon entering the community of Christ’s Body; which lives with the Church and through her alone can enter into concrete and bodily communion with the living God.

I do not have to say how deeply all this concerns us:  to remain seekers; to refuse to be satisfied with what everyone else says and does;  to keep our gaze fixed on the eternal God and on Jesus Christ;  to learn the humility of faith in the corporeal Church of Jesus Christ, of the Logos Incarnate.

Augustine described his second conversion at the end of the 10th book of his Confessions with the words:  “Terrified by my sins and the pile of my misery, I had racked my heart and had meditated, taking flight to live in solitude.   But You forbade me and comforted me, saying:  “That is why Christ died for all, so that those who live should not live for themselves, but for him who died for them’ (II Cor 5: 15)”; Confessions, 10, 43, 70).

What had happened?   After his baptism, Augustine had decided to return to Africa and with some of his friends had founded a small monastery there.   His life was then to be totally dedicated to conversation with God and reflection on and contemplation of the beauty and truth of his Word.    Thus, he spent three happy years in which he believed he had achieved the goal of his life, in that period, a series of valuable philosophical and theological works came into being.

In 391, four years after his baptism, he went to the port town of Hippo to meet a friend whom he desired to win over for his monastery.   But he was recognised at the Sunday liturgy in the cathedral in which he took part.   It was not by chance that the Bishop of the city, a man of Greek origin who was not fluent in Latin and found preaching rather a struggle, said in his homily that he was hoping to find a priest to whom he could entrust the task of preaching.   People instantly grabbed hold of Augustine and forced him forward to be ordained a priest to serve the city.

Immediately after his forced ordination, Augustine wrote to Bishop Valerius:  “I was constrained… to accept second place at the helm, when as yet I knew not how to handle an oar…. And from this derived the tears which some of my brethren perceived me shedding in the city at the time of my ordination” (cf. Letter 21, 1ff.).

Augustine’s beautiful dream of a contemplative life had vanished.   As a result, his life had fundamentally changed.   He could now no longer dedicate himself solely to meditation in solitude.   He had to live with Christ for everyone.   He had to express his sublime knowledge and thoughts in the thoughts and language of the simple people in his city.   The great philosophical work of an entire lifetime, of which he had dreamed, was to remain unwritten.   Instead, however, we have been given something far more precious – the Gospel translated into the language of everyday life and of his sufferings.

These were now part of his daily life, which he described as the following: “reprimanding the undisciplined, comforting the faint-hearted, supporting the weak, refuting opponents… encouraging the negligent, soothing the quarrelsome, helping the needy, liberating the oppressed, expressing approval to the good, tolerating the wicked and loving all” (Sermon 340, 3).   “Continuously preaching, arguing, rebuking, building God’s house, having to manage for everyone – who would not shrink from such a heavy burden?” (Sermon 339, 4).

This was the second conversion which this man, struggling and suffering, was constantly obliged to make – to be available to everyone, time and again and not for his own perfection, time and again, to lay down his life with Christ so that others might find him, true Life.

Further, there was a third, decisive phase in the journey of conversion of St Augustine.   After his Ordination to the priesthood he had requested a vacation period to study the Sacred Scriptures in greater detail.

His first series of homilies, after this pause for reflection, were on the Sermon on the Mount;  he explained the way to an upright life, “the perfect life”, pointed out by Christ in a new way.   He presented it as a pilgrimage to the holy mountain of the Word of God.   In these homilies it is possible to further perceive all the enthusiasm of faith newly discovered and lived;  his firm conviction that the baptised, in living totally in accordance with Christ’s message, can precisely be “perfect” in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount.

Approximately 20 years later, Augustine wrote a book called the Retractations, in which he critically reviewed all the works he had thus far written, adding corrections wherever he had in the meantime learned something new.

With regard to the ideal of perfection in his homilies on the Sermon on the Mount, he noted:  “In the meantime, I have understood that one alone is truly perfect and that the words of the Sermon on the Mount are totally fulfilled in one alone: Jesus Christ Himself.  “The whole Church, on the other hand – all of us, including the Apostles – must pray every day:  forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (cf. Retract. I 19, 1-3).

Augustine had learned a further degree of humility – not only the humility of integrating his great thought into the humble faith of the Church, not only the humility of translating his great knowledge into the simplicity of announcement but also the humility of recognising that he himself and the entire pilgrim Church needed and continually need the merciful goodness of a God who forgives every day.

And we, he added, liken ourselves to Christ, the only Perfect One, to the greatest possible extent when we become, like Him, people of mercy.

Let us now thank God for the great light that shines out from St Augustine’s wisdom and humility and pray the Lord to give to us all, day after day, the conversion we need and thus lead us toward true life. Amen.

St Augustine, Pray for Us!st-augustine-pray-for-us


Quote/s of the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) – Father and Doctor of Grace

Quote/s of the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance;
to seek Him the greatest adventure;
to find Him the greatest human achievement.”to fall in love with god - st augustine - 28 aug 2018

“Only the “new” person
can sing a new song to the Lord:
the person restored
from a fallen condition,
through the grace of God.
Let us sing a new song –
not with our lips
but with our lives!”only-the-new-person-no-2-st-augustine-15-aug-2017-mem-of-simpliacianus

“You ask what you might offer to God?
Offer yourself!
What does God expect from you,
except yourself?”you ask what you might offer to god - st augustine - 28 aug 2018 no 2

“Conquer yourself
and the world
lies at your feet.”conquer yourself - st augustine - 28 aug 2018

“God does not command impossibilities
but by commanding,
admonishes you do what you can
and to PRAY for what you cannot
and AIDS you that you may be able.”god-does-not-comman-st-augustine28 aug 2017

“God has no need of your money
but the poor have.
You give it to the poor and God receives it.”

“Our life and our death are with our neighbour.”god-has-no-need-and-our-life-and-our-death-st-augustine 28 aug 2017

“Do you wish to RISE?
You plan a tower
that will pierce the CLOUDS?
Lay first the foundation

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Gracedo you wish to rise, begin by descending - st augustine - 28 aug 2018


One Minute Reflection – 28 August – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23:23–26 and The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Grace

One Minute Reflection – 28 August – Tuesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23:23–26 and The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Grace

“You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”…Matthew 23:26

REFLECTION – “You are before God.   Question your heart:  see what you have done and what you have been yearning for there—your salvation or the windy praise of men.   Look within, for a person cannot judge one whom he cannot see.   If we are assuring our heart, let us assure it in his presence.
“Because if our heart thinks badly”—that is, if it accuses us within, because we aren’t acting with the spirit with which we should be acting —“God is greater than our heart, and he knows all things” (v.20).   You hide your heart from man – hide it from God if you can.   How will you hide it from Him to whom it was said by a certain sinner in fear and confession:  “Where shall 1 go from your spirit, and where shed!   I flee from your face?”… For where does God not exist?   “If,” he said, “I go up to heaven, you are there;  if I go down to hell, you are present” (Ps 139[138]:7-8).   Where will you go?   Where will you flee?   Do you want to hear some advice?   If you want to flee from Him, flee to Him.   Flee to Him by Confessing, not from Him by hiding, for you cannot hide, but you can Confess.   Tell Him.   “You are my refuge” (Ps 32[31]:7) and let there be nursed in you the love that alone leads to life.”…St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Graceyou blind pharisee - matthew 23 25 - you hide your heart from man - augustine - 28 aug 2018

PRAYER – Lord God, renew Your Church with the 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, augustine - pray for us - 28 aug 2018

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Our Morning Offering – 28 August – The Memorial of St Edmund Arrowsmith S.J. (1585 – 1628) – Martyr

Our Morning Offering – 28 August – The Memorial of St Edmund Arrowsmith S.J. (1585 – 1628) – Martyr

Your Soldiers
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

O Lion of the Tribe of Judah,
the Root of David,
Who fights the good fight
and has called on all men to join You,
give Your courage and strength
to all Your soldiers over the whole earth,
who are fighting under the standard of Your Cross.
Be with Your missionaries in pagan lands,
put right words into their mouths,
prosper their labours
and sustain them under their sufferings
with Your consolations
and carry them on,
even through torments
and blood (if it be necessary)
to their reward in Heaven.
Ameno lion of the tribe of judah - your soldiers - bl john henry newman - prayer for martyrs - 28 aug 2018 and 24 march 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 28 August – St Edmund Arrowsmith S.J. (1585 – 1628) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 28 August – St Edmund Arrowsmith S.J. (1585 – 1628) Priest & Martyr – born in 1585 at Haydock, Lancashire, England as Brian Arrowsmith, his confirmation name was Edmund and he preferred to use it – died by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 28 August 1628 at Lancaster, England.   Additional Memorials – 25 October as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, 7 August as one of the Lancashire Martyrs and 29 October as one of the Martyrs of Douai.St-Edmund-Arrowsmith-SJ

The main source of information on St Edmund is a contemporary account written by an eyewitness and published a short time after his death.   This document, conforming to the ancient style of the “Acts of Martyrs” includes the story of the execution of another 17th-century Recusant martyr, Blessed Richard Herst (died 1628).

Bryan Arrowsmith was born at Haydock, Lancashire, England, in 1585, the eldest child of Robert Arrowsmith, a yeoman farmer, who had served in Sir William Stanley’s regiment which fought for Spain in the Low Countries.   His mother was Margery Gerard, a member of the Lancashire Gerard family.   Among his mother’s relations was Father John Gerard, who wrote The Diary of an Elizabethan Priest, as well as another martyr, the Blessed Miles Gerard.   He was baptised Brian, but always used his confirmation name of Edmund, after an uncle who trained English priests in France.   The family was constantly harassed for its adherence to Roman Catholicism.   One of his grandfathers died a confessor in prison.   On one occasion, as a child, he was left shivering in his night-clothes by the pursuivants, who carried his parents off to Lancaster jail;  he and his three siblings were cared for by neighbours

In 1605, at the age of twenty, Edmund left England and went to the English College, Douai, to study for the priesthood.   He was soon forced to return to England due to ill health but recovered and returned to Douai in edmund arrowsmith old

Ecclesiastical career
He was ordained in Arras on 9 December 1612 and sent on the English mission a year later.    He ministered to the Catholics of Lancashire without incident until around 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican Bishop of Chester.    Edmund was released when King James I of England ordered an amnesty for all arrested priests, in furtherance of negotiations to arrange a Spanish marriage for his son Prince Charles.   St Edmund joined the Jesuits in edmund arrowsmith - my enlgmnt

In the summer of 1628, Fr Edmund was reportedly betrayed by a man named Holden, who denounced him to the authorities.    Arrowsmith ministered to Catholics of Lancashire at the still-standing Arrowsmith House, located in Hoghton before being arrested and questioned on Brindle Moss where his horse refused to jump a ditch.   He was convicted of being a Roman Catholic priest in England.   He was sentenced to death, and hanged, drawn and quartered at Lancaster on 28 August 1628.   His final confession was heard by Saint John Southworth (1592-1654) Martyr, who was imprisoned along with Edmund.

Edmund Arrowmith’s beatification occurred in 1929.   He was canonszed as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI in 1970.   His hand was preserved and kept by the Arrowsmith family as a relic until he was beatified and it now rests in the Catholic Church of St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield (see images below).   Stonyhurst College retains the small trunk of vestments and equipment which he carried from house to house.Church_of_St_Oswald_and_St_Edmund_Arrowsmith.jpg

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 28 August

St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) – Doctor of Grace and one of the original Four Fathers & Doctors of the Latin Church(Memorial)
Wonderful St Augustine here:

Adelindis of BuchauSt Agnes of CologneSt Alexander of ConstantinopleBl Alfons Maria MazurekSt Ambrose of SaintesBl Angelo da Pesche d’IserniaSt Anthes of SalernoBl Charles-Arnold HanusSt Edmund Arrowsmith S.J. (1585 – 1628) Martyr

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 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