St Augustine of Canterbury comes across today as a very human saint, one who could suffer like many of us from a failure of nerve. For example, his first venture to England ended in a big U-turn back to Rome. He made mistakes and met failure in his peacemaking attempts with the Briton Christians. He often wrote to Rome for decisions on matters he could have decided on his own had he been more self-assured. He even received mild warnings against pride from Pope Gregory, who cautioned him to “fear lest, amidst the wonders that are done, the weak mind be puffed up by self-esteem.” Augustine’s perseverance amidst obstacles and only partial success teaches today’s apostles and pioneers to struggle on despite frustrations and be satisfied with gradual advances. by Fr. Don Miller, OFM
May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith……Ephesians 3:17
REFLECTION – “Bear Christ in heart, mind and will.
Bear Him in your mind by His teaching.
Bear Him in your will by your observance of the Law.
Bear Him in your heart by the Holy Eucharist.”…………Venerable Servant of God Pope Pius XII
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, let me be true bearer of Christ, Your Son, by doing always the things that are in imitation of and pleasing to Him. Help me to bear witness to Him in the world, one just as pagan as that approached by St Augustine of Canterbury in trepidation. But in Your light and by Your Holy Spirit, he succeeded and pleased You, help me too I beg, to work for the salvation of souls. St Augustine of Canterbury, pray for us all, amen.
Saint of the Day – 27 May – St Augustine of Canterbury – Benedictine Monk who bacame the first Archbishop of Canterbury ((born in Rome first third of the 6th century – died probably 26 May 605 in Canterbury, England of natural causes, his relics interred outside the church of Saints Peter and Paul, Canterbury, a building project he had started). He is considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English Church.
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to Christianize King Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Kent was probably chosen because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris, who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht’s main town of Canterbury.
King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king’s subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine’s authority failed. Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604 and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury. The archbishop probably died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.