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Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

 

Franciscan Media

<em>Sant Bertolomeu</em> | Bernat JiménezImage: Sant Bertolomeu | Bernat Jiménez

Saint Bartholomew

Saint of the Day for August 24

(b. 1st century)

 

Saint Bartholomew’s Story

In the New Testament, Bartholomew is mentioned only in the lists of the apostles. Some scholars identify him with Nathanael, a man of Cana in Galilee who was summoned to Jesus by Philip. Jesus paid him a great compliment: “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (John 1:47b). When Nathanael asked how Jesus knew him, Jesus said, “I saw you under the fig tree” (John 1:48b). Whatever amazing revelation this involved, it brought Nathanael to exclaim, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel” (John 1:49b). But Jesus countered with, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this” (John 1:50b).

Nathanael did see greater things. He was one of those to whom Jesus appeared on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias after his resurrection (see John 21:1-14). They had been fishing all night without success. In the morning, they saw someone standing on the shore though no one knew it was Jesus. He told them to cast their net again, and they made so great a catch that they could not haul the net in. Then John cried out to Peter, “It is the Lord.”

When they brought the boat to shore, they found a fire burning, with some fish laid on it and some bread. Jesus asked them to bring some of the fish they had caught, and invited them to come and eat their meal. John relates that although they knew it was Jesus, none of the apostles presumed to inquire who he was. This, John notes, was the third time Jesus appeared to the apostles.


Reflection

Bartholomew or Nathanael? We are confronted again with the fact that we know almost nothing about most of the apostles. Yet the unknown ones were also foundation stones, the 12 pillars of the new Israel whose 12 tribes now encompass the whole earth. Their personalities were secondary—without thereby being demeaned—to their great office of bearing tradition from their firsthand experience, speaking in the name of Jesus, putting the Word Made Flesh into human words for the enlightenment of the world. Their holiness was not an introverted contemplation of their status before God. It was a gift that they had to share with others. The Good News was that all are called to the holiness of being Christ’s members, by the gracious gift of God.

The simple fact is that humanity is totally meaningless unless God is its total concern. Then humanity, made holy with God’s own holiness, becomes the most precious creation of God.


Saint Bartholomew is the Patron Saint of:

Plasterers

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The Golden Legend: The Life of Saint Bartholomew
The Apostle Bartholomew, His Words Present a Double Aspect of Jesus’ Identity
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON THE FEAST OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW,APOSTLE
Feast of St. Bartholomew
Martyrdom of the Holy and Glorious Apostle, Bartholomew

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Red Double of the Second Class

A WITNESS OF THE SON OF GOD, one of the princes who announced his glory to the nations, lights up this day with his apostolic flame. While his brethren of the sacred College followed the human race into all the lands whither the migration of nations had led it, Bartholomew appeared as the herald of the Lord, at the very starting point, the mountains of Armenia whence the sons of Noe spread over the earth. There had the figurative Ark rested; humanity, everywhere else a wanderer, was there seated in stillness, remembering the dove with its olive branch, and awaiting the consummation of the alliance signified by the rainbow which had there for the first time glittered in the clouds. Behold, blessed tidings awake in those valleys the echoes of ancient traditions: tidings of peace, making the universal deluge of sin subside before the Wood of salvation. The serenity announced by the dove of old was now far outdone. Love was to take the place of punishment. The ambassador of heaven showed God to the sons of Adam, as the most beautiful of their own brethren. The noble heights whence formerly flowed the rivers of Paradise were about to see the renewal of the covenant annulled in Eden, and the celebration, amid the joy of heaven and earth, of the divine nuptials so long expected, the union of the Word with regenerated humanity.

Personally, what was this Apostle whose ministry borrowed such solemnity from the scene of his apostolic labors? Under the name, or surname of Bartholomew, the only mark of recognition given him by the first three Gospels, are we to see, as many have thought, that Nathaniel, whose presentation to Jesus by Philip forms so sweet a scene of St. John’s Gospel?—a man full of uprightness, innocence and simplicity who was worthy to have had the dove for his precursor, and for whom the Man-God had choice graces and caresses from the very beginning.

Be this as it may, the lot which fell to our Saint among the twelve, points to the special confidence of the divine Heart; the heroism of the terrible martyrdom which sealed his apostolate reveals his fidelity; the dignity preserved by the nation he grated on Christ, in all the countries where it has been transplanted, witnesses to the excellence of the sap first infused into its branches. When, two centuries and a half later, Gregory the Illuminator so successfully cultivated the soil of Armenia, he did but quicken the seed sown by the Apostle, which the trials never wanting to that generous land had retarded for a time but could not stifle.

How strangely sad that evil men, nurtured in this turmoil of endless invasions, should have been able to rouse and perpetuate a mistrust of Rome among a race whom wars and tortures and dispersion could not tear from the love of Christ our Savior! Yet, thanks be to God! the movement towards return, more than once begun and then abandoned, seems now to be steadily advancing; the chosen sons of this illustrious nation are laboring perseveringly for so desirable a union by dispelling the prejudices of her people; by revealing to our lands the treasures of her literature so truly Christian, and the magnificences of her liturgy; and above all by praying and devoting themselves to the monastic state under the standard of the Father of Western Monks. Together with these holders of the true national tradition, let us pray to Bartholomew their Apostle; to the disciple Thaddeus who also shared in the first evangelization; to Ripsima the heroic virgin, who from the Roman territory led her thirty-five companions to the conquest of a new land; and to all the martyrs whose blood cemented the building upon the only foundation set by our Lord. Like these great forerunners, may the leader of the second apostolate, Gregory the Illuminator, who wished to see Peter in the person of St. Sylvester, and receive the blessing of the Roman Pontiff—may the holy kings the patriarchs and doctors of Armenia, become once more her chosen guides, and lead her back entirely and irrevocably to the one Fold of the one Shepherd!

We learn from Eusebius and from St. Jerome that before going to Armenia, his final destination, St. Bartholomew evangelized the Indies, where Pantænus a century later found a copy of St. Matthew’s Gospel in Hebrew characters, left there by him. St. Denis records a profound saying of the glorious Apostle, which he thus quotes and comments: “The blessed Bartholomew says of Theology, that it is at once abundant and succinct; of the Gospel, that it is vast in extent and at the same time concise; thus excellently giving us to understand that the beneficent Cause of all beings reveals or manifests himself by many words or by few, or even without any words at all, as being beyond and above all language or thought. For he is above all by his superior essence; and they alone reach him in his truth, without the veils wherewith he surrounds himself, who, passing beyond matter and spirit and rising above the summit of the holiest heights, leave behind them all reflections and echoes of God, all the language of heaven, to enter into the darkness wherein he dwelleth, as the Scripture says, who is above all.”

The city of Rome celebrates the feast of St. Bartholomew tomorrow, as do also the Greeks who commemorate on the 25th of August a translation of the Apostle’s relics. It is owing, in fact, to the various translations of his holy body and to the difficulty of ascertaining the date of his martyrdom that different days have been adopted for his feast by different churches both in the East and in the West. The 24th of this month, consecrated by the use of most of the Latin churches, is the day assigned in the most ancient martyrologies, including that of St. Jerome. In the 13th century, Innocent III, having been consulted as to the divergence, answered that local custom was to be observed.

The Church gives us the following notice of the Apostle of Armenia.

Bartholomæus Apostolus, Galilæus, cum in Indiam citeriorem, quæ ei in orbis terrarum sortitione ad prædicandum Jesu Christi Evangelium obvenerat, progressus esset, adventum Domini Jesu juxta sancti Matthæi Evangelium illis gentibus prædicavit. Sed cum in ea provincia plurimos ad Jesum Christum convertisset multos labores calamitatesque perpessus, venit in majorem Armeniam. The Apostle Bartholomew was a native of Galilee. It fell to his lot to preach the Gospel in hither India; and he announced to those nations the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of St. Matthew. But after converting many souls to Jesus Christ in that province and undergoing much labor and suffering he went into Eastern Armenia.
Ibi Polymium regem et conjugem ejus, ac præterea duodecim civitates ad christianam fidem perduxit. Quæ res in eum magnam invidiam concitavit illius gentis sacerdotum. Nam usque adeo Astyagem Polymii regis fratrem in Apostolum incenderunt, ut is vivo Bartholomæo pellem crudeliter detrahi jusserit, ac caput abscindi: quo in martyrio animam Deo reddidit. Here he converted to the Christian faith the king Polymius and his queen and twelve cities. This caused the pagan priests of that nation to be exceedingly jealous of him, and they stirred up Astyages the brother of king Polymius against the Apostle, so that he commanded him to be flayed alive and finally beheaded. In this cruel martyrdom he gave up his soul to God.
Ejus corpus Albani, quæ est urbs majoris Armeniæ, ubi is passus fuerat, sepultum est: quod postea ad Liparam insulam delatum, inde Beneventum translatum est: postremo Romam ab Othone tertio imperatore portatum, in Tiberis insula, in ecclesia ejus nomine Deo dicata, collocatum fuit. Agitur autem Romæ dies festus octavo Kalendas Septembris, et per octo consequentes dies illa basilica magna populi frequentia celebratur. His body was buried at Albanapolis, the town of Eastern Armenia where he was martyred; but it was afterwards taken to the island of Lispari, and thence to Beneventum. Finally it was translated to Rome by the Emperor Otho III and placed on the island of Tiber in a Church dedicated to God under his invocation. His feast is kept at Rome on the 8th of the Kalends of September and during the eight following days that Basilica is much frequented by the faithful.

On this day of thy feast, O holy Apostle, the Church prays in her Collect for the Mass, for grace to love what thou didst believe and to preach what thou didst teach. Not that the Bride of the Son of God could ever fail either in faith or love; but she knows only too well that, though her Head is ever in the light, and her heart ever united to the Spouse in the Holy Spirit who sanctifies her, nevertheless her several members, the particular churches of which she is composed, may detach themselves from their center of life and wander away in darkness. O thou who didst choose our West as the place of thy rest; thou whose precious relics Rome glories in possessing, bring back to Peter the nations thou didst evangelize; fulfill the now reviving hopes of universal union; second the efforts made by the Vicar of the Man-God to gather again under the shepherd’s crook those scattered flocks whose pastures have become parched by schism. May thine own Armenia be the first to complete a return which she began long ago: may she trust the Mother-Church and no more follow the sowers of discord. All being reunited, may we together enjoy the treasures of our concordant traditions, and go to God, even at the cost of being despoiled of all things, by the course so grand and yet so simple taught us by thy example and by thy sublime theology.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Story

Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.

In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.

At the University of Naples, Alphonsus received a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, at the age of 16, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest, and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular parish missions, hearing confessions, and forming Christian groups.

He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted after a while by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.

Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples preaching popular missions.

He was made bishop at age 66 after trying to reject the honor, and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.

His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, a royal official changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.

At 71, Alphonsus was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck. Until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.

Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.


Reflection

Saint Alphonsus was known above all as a practical man who dealt in the concrete rather than the abstract. His life is indeed a practical model for the everyday Christian who has difficulty recognizing the dignity of Christian life amid the swirl of problems, pain, misunderstanding and failure. Alphonsus suffered all these things. He is a saint because he was able to maintain an intimate sense of the presence of the suffering Christ through it all.


Saint Alphonsus Liguori is the Patron Saint of:

Theologians
Vocations

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franciscanmedia.org

Additionally, patronage: confessors, moralists


Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Story

Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.

In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.

At the University of Naples, Alphonsus received a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, at the age of 16, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest, and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular parish missions, hearing confessions, and forming Christian groups.

He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted after a while by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.

Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples preaching popular missions.

He was made bishop at age 66 after trying to reject the honor, and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.

His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, a royal official changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.

At 71, Alphonsus was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck. Until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.

Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.


Reflection

Saint Alphonsus was known above all as a practical man who dealt in the concrete rather than the abstract. His life is indeed a practical model for the everyday Christian who has difficulty recognizing the dignity of Christian life amid the swirl of problems, pain, misunderstanding and failure. Alphonsus suffered all these things. He is a saint because he was able to maintain an intimate sense of the presence of the suffering Christ through it all.


Saint Alphonsus Liguori is the Patron Saint of:

Theologians
Vocations


franciscanmedia.org

Additionally, patronage: confessors, moralists


Stained glass window of Saint Alphonse Liguori | Carlow Cathedral | Franz Mayer &amp; Co. (Mayer &amp; Co. of Munich)Image: Stained glass window of Saint Alphonse Liguori | Carlow Cathedral | Franz Mayer & Co. (Mayer & Co. of Munich)

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Saint of the Day for August 1

(September 27, 1696August 1, 1787)


On Prayer According to St. Alphonsus Liguori
How Saint Alphonsus Liguori Converted…
“The Dignity and Duties of the Priest” (excerpt) by St. Alphonsus Liguori [Catholic Caucus]
On St. Alphonsus Liguori
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] 50 Maxims for becoming a Saint! (from St Alphonsus Liguori)
The Death of Jesus, An essay by Alphonsus Liguori

ADVICE TO PARENTS by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Habits of Holiness [On the Life of St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori]
On the Advantages of Tribulations by Saint Alphonsus Liguori/a>
A Scriptural Way of the Cross with Meditations by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (Lenten Prayer/Devotional)

On the Love of Christ [St. Alphonsus Liguori]
Meditation on the Fourteenth Station of the Cross (According to the Method of St. Alphonsus Ligori)
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI, OF THE DOLOURS OF MARY, The Glories [Sorrows] of Mary
Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori

St Alphonsus Liguori
St. Alphonsus Liguori


Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

Saint Alphonsus Liguori,
Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Memorial
August 1st

“Copiosa apud eum redemptio”
“With Him there is Plentiful Redemption”  

History:

Born September 27, 1696.
Ordained a priest on December 21, 1726
Founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist) in 1732.
Died at Nocera de’ Pagani, August 1, 1787.
Canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.
Declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871.
Patron of Confessors and Moral Theologians.

Collect:

O God, who constantly raise up in your Church new examples of virtue,
grant that we may follow so closely in the footsteps
of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls
as to attain the same rewards that are his in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-19

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

***

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I desire to possess Thee within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee as being already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee. — St. Alphonsus Liguori

I the Lord Am with you Always, Prayers and Mediations for Eucharistic Adoration
Society for Eucharistic Adoration, Ashfield, NSW, Australia – ©2003

***

POPE BENEDICT XVI
GENERAL AUDIENCE
St. Peter’s Square
Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our catechesis today deals with Saint Alphonsus Liguori, an outstanding eighteenth-century preacher, scholar and Doctor of the Church. Alphonsus left a brilliant career as a lawyer to become a priest, and greatly contributed to the renewal of the Church in his native Naples. He began as a missionary among the urban poor, gathering small groups for prayer and instruction in the faith. Broadening his pastoral outreach, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer – the Redemptorists – as a group of itinerant missionaries. Alphonsus’ pastoral zeal also found expression in his moral teaching, which emphasized divine mercy and the relationship between God’s law and our deepest human needs and aspirations. His many spiritual writings, marked by a deep Christological and Marian piety, stressed the practice of prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. May this great Doctor of the Church, venerated also as the patron of moral theologians, help us to respond ever more fully to God’s call to grow in holiness, and inspire in priests, religious and laity a firm commitment to the new evangelization.

© Copyright 2011 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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“Again, Herodias Seeks the Head of John in a Basin” ~ The exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom

Saint John Chrysostom exiled by the Empress Eudoxia
by Benjamin Constant, late 19th century.

Today, September 14, is the 1,611th anniversary of the death of Saint John Chrysostom, the great patriarch of Constantinople. St. John perished while on his way to a more distant exile on the shores of the Black Sea in AD 407.

Though an outstanding orator and one of the greatest theologians of the early Church, John became embroiled in the religious and political factions in Constantinople. He was particularly known for railing against the excesses of the imperial court, drawing the ire of the Empress Eudoxia, wife of Arcadius, who felt that John’s invectives against immodest and gaudy female dress were directed particularly at her. The animosity between the empress and St. John waxed hot and cold over the span of several years, coming to a head in AD 403. Hermias Sozomen, in his History, describes the events that immediately precipitated his banishment as follows:

Not long after these occurrences, the silver statue of the empress which is still to be seen to the south of the church opposite the grand council-chamber, was placed upon a column of porphyry on a high platform, and the event was celebrated there with applause and popular spectacles of dances and mimes, as was then customary on the erection of the statues of the emperors. In a public discourse to the people John charged that these proceedings reflected dishonor on the Church. This remark recalled former grievances to the recollection of the empress, and irritated her so exceedingly at the insult that she determined to convene another council. He did not yield, but added fuel to her indignation by still more openly declaiming against her in the church; and it was at this period that he pronounced the memorable discourse commencing with the words, “Herodias is again enraged; again she dances; again she seeks to have the head of John in a basin.” [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 20]

A council was then convened in the suburbs of Constantinople which deposed John as patriarch on various technicalities and ordered him banished. Chaos ensued in the city as the partisans of the empress, backed by soldiers, attacked those of John and expelled them from the churches. The situation soon devolved into riot, as described by Sozomen:

A messenger having conveyed to him a mandate from the emperor enjoining his immediate departure, John obeyed, and escaped from the city, unnoticed by those who had been appointed to guard him. He made no other censure than that, in being sent into banishment without a legal trial or any of the forms of the law, he was treated more severely than murderers, sorcerers, and adulterers. He was conveyed in a little bark to Bithynia, and thence immediately continued his journey. Some of his enemies were apprehensive lest the people, on hearing of his departure, should pursue him, and bring him back by force, and therefore commanded the gates of the church to be closed.When the people who were in the public places of the city heard of what had occurred, great confusion ensued; for some ran to the seashore as if they would follow him, and others fled hither and there, and were in great terror since the wrath of the emperor was expected to visit them for creating so much disturbance and tumult. Those who were within the church barred the exits still further by rushing together upon them, and by pressing upon one another. With difficulty they forced the doors open by the use of great violence; one party shattered them with stones, another was pulling them toward themselves, and was thus forcing the crowd backward into the building. Meanwhile the church was suddenly consumed on all sides with fire. The flames extended in all directions, and the grand house of the senatorial council, adjacent to the church on the south, was doomed. [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 22]

This structure was the “Great Church” of Constantinople as built by Constantius II on the site which would later be occupied by Hagia Sophia.

The exile of John was considered a great injustice, particularly in the West. Pope Innocent I was “extremely indignant” and “condemned the whole proceedings”. He attempted to secure John’s return to his bishopric, but without success. In his history, Sozomen includes two letters from Innocent—one to John, and one to the clergy of Constantinople—which he includes “precisely as I found them, translated from the Latin into Greek.” [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 25]

Innocent’s efforts, however, came to naught and created acrimony between the eastern and western courts. Meanwhile, the enemies of John were able to have even stricter sanctions imposed upon him which lead to his death. Sozomen describes:

[Pope Innocent] sent five bishops and two presbyters of the Roman church, with the bishops who had been delegated as ambassadors to him from the East, to the emperors Honorius and Arcadius, to request the convocation of a council, and solicit them to name time and place. The enemies of John at Constantinople framed a charge as though these things were done to insult the Eastern emperor, and caused the ambassadors to be ignominiously dismissed as if they had invaded a foreign government.John was at the same time condemned by an imperial edict to a remoter place of banishment, and soldiers were sent to conduct him to Pityus; the soldiers were soon on hand, and effected the removal. It is said that during this journey, Basiliscus, the martyr, appeared to him at Comani, in Armenia, and apprised him of the day of his death. Being attacked with pain in the head, and being unable to bear the heat of the sun, he could not prosecute his journey, but closed his life in that town. [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 28]

The entire seventh book of Sozomen’s Ecclesiastical History deals to a large extent with Saint John and his tumultuous reign as patriarch in Constantinople. We are fortunate that many of his homilies have survived antiquity—enough for him to be considered a Doctor of the Church. Reading them, one is able to get a good sense of why he was given the epithet “Chrysostom” which means: Golden-Mouthed. I have posted snippets from a few of them previously on this blog at the following links:

-> “Where God wills, the order of nature yields” ~ St. John Chrysostom on Christmas
-> Parenting advice from Saint John Chrysostom, late 4th century AD


September 13 – Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church

Saint John Chrysostom’s Story

The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means “golden-mouthed”) from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.

If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.

His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam’s fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.

Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel and impious Herodias were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.


Reflection

John Chrysostom’s preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage, he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification, and exile.


Saint John Chrysostom is the Patron Saint of:

Orators
Preachers
Speakers


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Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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Information: St. Augustine

Feast Day: August 28

Born: November 13, 354, Tagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)

Died: August 28, 430, Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria)

Major Shrine: San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, Pavia, Italy

Patron of: brewers; printers; theologians


Information: St. Moses the Black

Feast Day: August 28

Born: 330; Ethiopian ancestry

Died: 405, Scetes, Egypt

Major Shrine: Paromeos Monastery, Scetes, Egypt

Patron of: Africa


St. Augustine

Feast Day: August 28
Born: 354 :: Died: 430

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years living a wicked life and in false beliefs. He was one of the most intelligent persons who ever lived.

Augustine was brought up in a Christian atmosphere by his mother. But he became so proud and bad that in the end he could not see or understand holy truths anymore.

His mother Monica prayed daily for her son’s conversion. The marvelous sermons of St. Ambrose made their impact too. Finally, Augustine became convinced that Christianity was the true religion.

Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. Then one day, he heard about two men who had suddenly changed and became good Christians after reading the life of St. Anthony of the Desert.

Augustine felt ashamed. “What are we doing?” he cried to his friend Alipius. “Unlearned people are taking heaven by force. Yet we, with all our knowledge, are so weak that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!”

Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine went into the garden and prayed, “How much longer, Lord? Why don’t I stop committing sins now?” Just then he heard a child singing, “Take up and read!”

Thinking that God wanted him to hear those words, he picked up the Bible and opened it. His eyes fell on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 13. It was just what Augustine needed. Paul says to stop living bad lives and to live like Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.

He was baptized and ordained a priest and later became a bishop. He was a famous Catholic writer and started the Augustinian order. He became one of the greatest saints who ever lived.

On the wall of his room, he had the following sentence written in large letters: “Here we do not speak evil of anyone.” St. Augustine corrected strong false teachings, lived a simple life and cared for the poor.

He preached very often, and prayed with great feeling right up until his death. “Too late have I loved you,” he once cried to God. But Augustine spent the rest of his life in loving God and leading others to love him, too.


CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Tuesday, August 28

Liturgical Color: Green

Today the Church recalls St.
Augustine, bishop and Doctor of the
Church. Augustine led a wild early life
and then converted to become one of
the Church’s greatest writers and
philosophers. He died in 430 A.D.


Catholic Culture

Ordinary Time: August 28th

Memorial of St. Augustine, bishop, confessor and doctor

MASS READINGS

August 28, 2018 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: St. Augustine; St. Hermes, martyr

St. Augustine (354-430) was born at Tagaste, Africa, and died in Hippo. His father, Patricius, was a pagan; his mother, Monica, a devout Christian. He received a good Christian education. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by St. Ambrose. Returning to Tagaste, he distributed his goods to the poor, and was ordained a priest. He was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Hermes, a martyr of Rome, probably in Diocletian’s persecution. He was buried in a cemetery on the Salarian Way. He is mentioned in the Depositio Martyrum of the year 354.


St. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine Aurelius was born on November 13, 354, in Tagaste, North Africa. His father was a pagan, his mother, St. Monica. Still unbaptized 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, capitalizing 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 recognized 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 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 symbolize 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 honor him as their spiritual father.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Brewers; diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan; printers; city of Saint Augustine, Florida; diocese of Saint Augustine, Florida; sore eyes; diocese of Superior, Wisconsin; theologians; diocese of Tucson, Arizona.

Symbols: flaming heart pierced by two arrows; eagle; child with shell and spoon; word Veritas with rays of light from Heaven; chalice; dove; pen and book; scroll; scourge; model of a church; Bible opened to Romans XIII; child; shell.


St. Hermes
St. Hermes was prefect of Rome. Along with Pope Alexander I, he was put to death about the year 116. A cemetery on the Salerian Way bears his name. The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Rome the birthday of St. Hermes, a man of rank, who (as the Acts of the martyr-pope St. Alexander I narrate) was first cast into prison and then beheaded along with many others. He gained the martyr’s crown under the judge Aurelian.” His body rests in the Church of St. Mark, Rome.


Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint Augustine of Hippo

statue of Saint Augustine of Hippo; created by an unknown Moravian sculptor, date unknown; Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Brno-Zábrdovice, Czech Republic; photographed 28 January 2018 by Ondraness

Also known as

  • Aurelius Augustinus
  • Doctor of Grace

Memorial

Profile

Son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of God. Taught rhetoric at Carthage and Milan, Italy. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

Augustine finally broke with the Manichaeans and was converted by the prayers of his mother and the help of Saint Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him. On the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and founded a monastery. Monk. Priest. Preacher. Bishop of Hippo in 396. Founded religious communities. Fought Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism and other heresies. Oversaw his church and his see during the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vandals. Doctor of the Church. His later thinking can also be summed up in a line from his writings: Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.

Born

Died

Canonized

Patronage

Representation

Additional Information

Readings

God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it. Saint Augustine

The honors of this world, what are they but puff, and emptiness and peril of falling? Saint Augustine

Daily advance, then, in this love, both by praying and by well doing, that through the help of Him who enjoined it on you, and whose gift it is, it may be nourished and increased, until, being perfected, it render you perfect. Saint Augustine

What do you possess if you possess not God? Saint Augustine

Unhappy is the soul enslaved by the love of anything that is mortal. Saint Augustine

The love of worldly possessions is a sort of bird line, which entangles the soul, and prevents it flying to God. Saint Augustine

This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God. Saint Augustine

God bestows more consideration on the purity of the intention with which our actions are performed than on the actions themselves. Saint Augustine

I will suggest a means whereby you can praise God all day long, if you wish. Whatever you do, do it well, and you have praised God. Saint Augustine

This is the business of our life. By labor and prayer to advance in the grace of God, till we come to that height of perfection in which, with clean hearts, we may behold God. Saint Augustine

God in his omnipotence could not give more, in His wisdom He knew not how to give more, in His riches He had not more to give, than the Eucharist. Saint Augustine

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. Saint Augustine

Our life and our death are with our neighbor. Saint Augustine

Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet. Saint Augustine

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced “the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever.” He was calling me and saying: “I am the way of truth, I am the life.” Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. – from the Confessions of Saint Augustine

Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. – from The City of God by Saint Augustine

A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers.” – from Against Faustus the Manichean, by Saint Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended. – from Sermons by Saint Augustine

At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps. – from Homilies on John by Saint Augustine

Since we cannot, as yet, understand that He was begotten by the Father before the day-star, let us celebrate His birth of the Virgin in the nocturnal hours. Since we do not comprehend how His name existed before the light of the sun, let us recognize His tabernacle placed in the sun. Since we do not, as yet, gaze upon the Son inseparably united with His Father, let us remember Him as the ‘bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber.’ Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, let us grow familiar with the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Saint Augustine

He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us. – Saint Augustine

Question the beauty of the earth, the sea, the air distending and diffusing itself, the sky, question all these realities. All respond: ‘See, we are beautiful.’ These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change? – Saint Augustine

One and the same Word of God extends throughout the Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since He who was in the beginning God with God has no need for separate syllables; for he is not subject to time. – Saint Augustine

Jesus Christ will be Lord of all, or he will not be Lord at all. – Saint Augustine

If physical things please you, then praise God for them, but turn back your love to Him who created them, lest in the things that please you, you displease Him. If souls please you, love them in God; for in themselves they are changeable, but in Him they are firmly established. Without Him they pass away and perish. In Him, then, let them be loved, and carry along with you to Him as many souls as you can, and say to them, “Let us love Him, let us love Him; He made the world and is not far from it. He did not make all things and then leave them, but they are of Him and in Him. See, there He is wherever truth is loved. He is within the very heart, yet the heart has strayed from Him. Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and hold fast to Him who made you. Stand with Him and you will stand fast. Rest in Him and you shall be at rest.” – Saint Augustine, from The Confessions

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation. – Saint Augustine

O Sacrament of Love! O sign of Unity! O bond of Charity! He who would have Life finds here indeed a Life to live in and a Life to live by. – Saint Augustine

If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider it certain that you have not begun to be a true servant of God; for Saint Paul says plainly that all who chose to live piously in Christ, shall suffer persecutions – Saint Augustine

I speak to you who have just been reborn in baptism, my little children in Christ, you who are the new offspring of the Church, gift of the Father, proof of Mother Church’s fruitfulness. All of you who stand fast in the Lord are a holy seed, a new colony of bees, the very flower of our ministry and fruit of our toil, my joy and my crown. It is the words of the Apostle that I address to you: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh and its desires, so that you may be clothed with the life of him whom you have put on in this sacrament. You have all been clothed with Christ by your baptism in him. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female; you are all one in Christ Jesus. Such is the power of this sacrament: it is a sacrament of new life which begins here and now with the forgiveness of all past sins, and will be brought to completion in the resurrection of the dead. You have been buried with Christ by baptism into death in order that, as Christ has risen from the dead, you also may walk in newness of life. You are walking now by faith, still on pilgrimage in a mortal body away from the Lord; but he to whom your steps are directed is himself the sure and certain way for you: Jesus Christ, who for our sake became man. For all who fear him he has stored up abundant happiness, which he will reveal to those who hope in him, bringing it to completion when we have attained the reality which even now we possess in hope. This is the octave day of your new birth. Today is fulfilled in you the sign of faith that was prefigured in the Old Testament by the circumcision of the flesh on the eighth day after birth. When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh; his risen body was still the same body, but it was no longer subject to death. By his resurrection he consecrated Sunday, or the Lord’s day. Though the third after his passion, this day is the eighth after the Sabbath, and thus also the first day of the week. And so your own hope of resurrection, though not yet realized, is sure and certain, because you have received the sacrament or sign of this reality, and have been given the pledge of the Spirit. If, then, you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. – from a sermon by Saint Augustine


The Word Among Us

Meditation: Matthew 23:23-26

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

Cleanse first the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26)

Ice cream sundaes, quickly consumed, can leave a lovely fluted dish splotched with leftover cherry pits, chocolate sprinkles, and nuts. The dish looks pretty on the outside, but the inside is a sticky mess. That’s like the image Jesus used to get these Pharisees’ attention. We know some Pharisees, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, believed in Jesus and became his disciples. But these Pharisees despised him.

Jesus’ rebuke might sound harsh; it might even make you squirm inside. After all, most of us know his words could just as easily apply to us. But Jesus isn’t trying to shame the Pharisees (or us) into change. He is trying to draw our gaze to the truth: only Jesus can cleanse the “inside of the cup,” our hearts (Matthew 23:26).

No matter how forcefully Jesus’ words strike you, be assured of this: God is not mad at you. He loves you intensely, and he is trying to open your eyes to the leftover mess in your heart. His rebuke is meant as an invitation to turn back to him.

St. Augustine, whose memorial we celebrate today, once told God, “You made me see that there was something to see.” Augustine saw Jesus and his holiness, and that shed light on his own need for God and his potential to be like Jesus. “You called and shouted,” he acknowledged, “and broke through my deafness.”

Jesus was shouting to break through the Pharisees’ deafness. God, who is good and gentle, is also powerful and wise. Don’t be frightened by the power of his voice. He isn’t screaming at you, “Hey you, your cup is filthy!” He’s inviting you closer so that you can hear him calling out, “Here I am! Let me help you.”

Jesus wants to help you. He wants you to be holy just as he is holy. He wants to hold your hand and guide you as you deal with whatever separates you from him. Perhaps he will lead you to look at what is gumming up your sundae dish. Perhaps it will lead to the confessional for a thorough scrubbing. Once everything is cleared away, the Spirit will deepen your faith in Jesus—and give you a deeper experience of his love.

“Jesus, cleanse me from the inside out.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
Psalm 96:10-13


Daily Gospel Commentary

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Commentary on the 1st letter of Saint John, VI, 3 ; SC 75 (copyright Augustinian heritage institute)

“Cleanse first the inside “

“Little children, this is how we know we are of the truth, when we love in action and truth, not only in words and speech, and assure our heart in his presence” (1Jn 3:18-19). What does “in his presence” mean? Where he himself sees. Hence, the Lord himself says in the gospel, “Beware of practicing your righteousness in the presence of men, in order to be seen by them; otlierwise you will not have a reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 6:1)… 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.


Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for August 28, 2018:

Who usually has the final word in an argument or family decision? If it doesn’t balance out, check if one of you is taking unfair advantage of the other. Somebody may be talking too much.


Regnum Christi

August 28, 2018 – First Things First

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Matthew 23:23-26

 

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you again in prayer. Even though I cannot see you, I know through faith that you are present in my life. I hope in your promise to be with me. I love you, and I know you love me. Accept this prayer as a token of my love.

Petition: Lord, help me to dedicate my life to weightier matters rather than mere appearances.

  1. Tithed Up in Knots: When God originally commanded his people to tithe, it was so that they would acknowledge him as the source of all the gifts in their lives. It was to be the recognition on their part that all they had was from him, that he is Lord, and that his law is the way to salvation. Yet it became easy for the Israelites to fall into legalism and forget the true purpose of the tithe. They observed the letter of the law and forgot the meaning of the law: acknowledge the sovereignty of God. In the end, all we are and all we have belongs to God. We have to use our talents, wealth and possessions all for him and his kingdom. Is there some area in which I do not acknowledge his sovereignty in my life?
  1. What Really Counts: What are the weightier matters of the law? Jesus speaks of justice and mercy and faith. When we neglect these, we are distorting true religion, for true religion is not a question of formalisms and actions to appease God, but rather of turning our hearts to his word. We need to make our hearts more like his, in charity and mercy toward others. How many times do we miss the most important things and work only at side issues? How often do we try to please God in the wrong way, by supposing we are doing his will when really we are only doing our own will instead? How often do we forget the true essence of devotion to the law of God?
  1. Interior Cleaning: “First clean the inside of the cup…” We should tend to our soul and make sure the intentions behind our actions are holy motivations. We need to check our heart frequently so that we can work with purity of intention. Sometimes we work only to present an appearance to others, to appear virtuous and holy, but inside we are filled with negative judgments, such as lack of charity. Virtue comes from within the heart of a person, where the Spirit dwells and inspires as he wills. We need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit and follow his lead.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know what is in my heart. Purify it and recast it in the image of your divine heart, so that I may love you and love others as you love them. Let me put aside all vanity and desire for appearances that does not give glory to you.

Resolution: I will examine my conscience as to the motives of my actions each day, making sure I am inspired by mercy, justice and faith.


Homily of the Day

In the first reading Paul encourages the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions that we taught you by word or by letter.” May they remain true and faithful to the Good News preached to them.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus denounces the religious leaders of his time for their lack of godliness and sincerity. He accuses them of hypocrisy; of cleansing the outside while being defiled in the inside.

This applies to all of us who call ourselves people of God. We are all sinners, fallen and in great need of God’s grace.

Jesus is calls us out of our conceited selves and reminds us that holiness is not something that we put on for others to see and notice. It is more important to nurture our relationship with God than to receive the empty admiration of others.


One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

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<< Tuesday, August 28, 2018 >> St. Augustine
 
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
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Psalm 96:10-13 Matthew 23:23-26
Similar Reflections
 

ARE YOU EXPECTING? (SEE AUG. 27)

 
“On the question of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him…” �2 Thessalonians 2:1
 
The Thessalonians had been seduced into becoming agitated and terrified because they thought the world was about to end (2 Thes 2:2). Some Thessalonians even quit their jobs because they thought they had only a few days left on the earth (2 Thes 3:7ff). Also, some of the Corinthians divorced their unbelieving spouses, possibly because they expected the Lord to come and the world to end at any minute (1 Cor 7:12ff). These early Christians were wrong in their reaction to the possibility that the world would end. However, they were not wrong in expecting the world’s end and Christ’s return.

The worst mistake we can make is to ignore the fact that Jesus will come back to earth at a time we least expect (Lk 12:40). “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest. Since everything is to be destroyed in this way, what sort of men must you not be! How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming of the day of God and trying to hasten it!” (2 Pt 3:10-12)

The early Christians had one word on the tips of their tongues. They repeatedly cried out “Maranatha!” (“Come, Lord Jesus!”) (Rv 22:20; 1 Cor 16:22) to which the Lord responds: “Yes, I am coming soon!” (Rv 22:20)

 
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Promise: “First cleanse the inside of the cup so that its outside may be clean.” —Mt 23:26
Praise: While in his final illness, St. Augustine had the seven penitential psalms (Ps 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) hung on his bedroom wall so he could read them in a spirit of repentance.

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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Information: St. Augustine

Feast Day: August 28

Born: November 13, 354, Tagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)

Died: August 28, 430, Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria)

Major Shrine: San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, Pavia, Italy

Patron of: brewers; printers; theologians


Information: St. Moses the Black

Feast Day: August 28

Born: 330; Ethiopian ancestry

Died: 405, Scetes, Egypt

Major Shrine: Paromeos Monastery, Scetes, Egypt

Patron of: Africa


St. Augustine

Feast Day: August 28
Born: 354 :: Died: 430

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years living a wicked life and in false beliefs. He was one of the most intelligent persons who ever lived.

Augustine was brought up in a Christian atmosphere by his mother. But he became so proud and bad that in the end he could not see or understand holy truths anymore.

His mother Monica prayed daily for her son’s conversion. The marvelous sermons of St. Ambrose made their impact too. Finally, Augustine became convinced that Christianity was the true religion.

Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. Then one day, he heard about two men who had suddenly changed and became good Christians after reading the life of St. Anthony of the Desert.

Augustine felt ashamed. “What are we doing?” he cried to his friend Alipius. “Unlearned people are taking heaven by force. Yet we, with all our knowledge, are so weak that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!”

Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine went into the garden and prayed, “How much longer, Lord? Why don’t I stop committing sins now?” Just then he heard a child singing, “Take up and read!”

Thinking that God wanted him to hear those words, he picked up the Bible and opened it. His eyes fell on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 13. It was just what Augustine needed. Paul says to stop living bad lives and to live like Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.

He was baptized and ordained a priest and later became a bishop. He was a famous Catholic writer and started the Augustinian order. He became one of the greatest saints who ever lived.

On the wall of his room, he had the following sentence written in large letters: “Here we do not speak evil of anyone.” St. Augustine corrected strong false teachings, lived a simple life and cared for the poor.

He preached very often, and prayed with great feeling right up until his death. “Too late have I loved you,” he once cried to God. But Augustine spent the rest of his life in loving God and leading others to love him, too.


CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Tuesday, August 28

Liturgical Color: Green

Today the Church recalls St.
Augustine, bishop and Doctor of the
Church. Augustine led a wild early life
and then converted to become one of
the Church’s greatest writers and
philosophers. He died in 430 A.D.


Catholic Culture

Ordinary Time: August 28th

Memorial of St. Augustine, bishop, confessor and doctor

MASS READINGS

August 28, 2018 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: St. Augustine; St. Hermes, martyr

St. Augustine (354-430) was born at Tagaste, Africa, and died in Hippo. His father, Patricius, was a pagan; his mother, Monica, a devout Christian. He received a good Christian education. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by St. Ambrose. Returning to Tagaste, he distributed his goods to the poor, and was ordained a priest. He was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Hermes, a martyr of Rome, probably in Diocletian’s persecution. He was buried in a cemetery on the Salarian Way. He is mentioned in the Depositio Martyrum of the year 354.


St. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine Aurelius was born on November 13, 354, in Tagaste, North Africa. His father was a pagan, his mother, St. Monica. Still unbaptized 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, capitalizing 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 recognized 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 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 symbolize 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 honor him as their spiritual father.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Brewers; diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan; printers; city of Saint Augustine, Florida; diocese of Saint Augustine, Florida; sore eyes; diocese of Superior, Wisconsin; theologians; diocese of Tucson, Arizona.

Symbols: flaming heart pierced by two arrows; eagle; child with shell and spoon; word Veritas with rays of light from Heaven; chalice; dove; pen and book; scroll; scourge; model of a church; Bible opened to Romans XIII; child; shell.


St. Hermes
St. Hermes was prefect of Rome. Along with Pope Alexander I, he was put to death about the year 116. A cemetery on the Salerian Way bears his name. The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Rome the birthday of St. Hermes, a man of rank, who (as the Acts of the martyr-pope St. Alexander I narrate) was first cast into prison and then beheaded along with many others. He gained the martyr’s crown under the judge Aurelian.” His body rests in the Church of St. Mark, Rome.


Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint Augustine of Hippo

statue of Saint Augustine of Hippo; created by an unknown Moravian sculptor, date unknown; Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Brno-Zábrdovice, Czech Republic; photographed 28 January 2018 by Ondraness

Also known as

  • Aurelius Augustinus
  • Doctor of Grace

Memorial

Profile

Son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of God. Taught rhetoric at Carthage and Milan, Italy. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

Augustine finally broke with the Manichaeans and was converted by the prayers of his mother and the help of Saint Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him. On the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and founded a monastery. Monk. Priest. Preacher. Bishop of Hippo in 396. Founded religious communities. Fought Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism and other heresies. Oversaw his church and his see during the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vandals. Doctor of the Church. His later thinking can also be summed up in a line from his writings: Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.

Born

Died

Canonized

Patronage

Representation

Additional Information

Readings

God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it. Saint Augustine

The honors of this world, what are they but puff, and emptiness and peril of falling? Saint Augustine

Daily advance, then, in this love, both by praying and by well doing, that through the help of Him who enjoined it on you, and whose gift it is, it may be nourished and increased, until, being perfected, it render you perfect. Saint Augustine

What do you possess if you possess not God? Saint Augustine

Unhappy is the soul enslaved by the love of anything that is mortal. Saint Augustine

The love of worldly possessions is a sort of bird line, which entangles the soul, and prevents it flying to God. Saint Augustine

This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God. Saint Augustine

God bestows more consideration on the purity of the intention with which our actions are performed than on the actions themselves. Saint Augustine

I will suggest a means whereby you can praise God all day long, if you wish. Whatever you do, do it well, and you have praised God. Saint Augustine

This is the business of our life. By labor and prayer to advance in the grace of God, till we come to that height of perfection in which, with clean hearts, we may behold God. Saint Augustine

God in his omnipotence could not give more, in His wisdom He knew not how to give more, in His riches He had not more to give, than the Eucharist. Saint Augustine

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. Saint Augustine

Our life and our death are with our neighbor. Saint Augustine

Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet. Saint Augustine

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced “the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever.” He was calling me and saying: “I am the way of truth, I am the life.” Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. – from the Confessions of Saint Augustine

Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. – from The City of God by Saint Augustine

A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers.” – from Against Faustus the Manichean, by Saint Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended. – from Sermons by Saint Augustine

At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps. – from Homilies on John by Saint Augustine

Since we cannot, as yet, understand that He was begotten by the Father before the day-star, let us celebrate His birth of the Virgin in the nocturnal hours. Since we do not comprehend how His name existed before the light of the sun, let us recognize His tabernacle placed in the sun. Since we do not, as yet, gaze upon the Son inseparably united with His Father, let us remember Him as the ‘bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber.’ Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, let us grow familiar with the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Saint Augustine

He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us. – Saint Augustine

Question the beauty of the earth, the sea, the air distending and diffusing itself, the sky, question all these realities. All respond: ‘See, we are beautiful.’ These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change? – Saint Augustine

One and the same Word of God extends throughout the Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since He who was in the beginning God with God has no need for separate syllables; for he is not subject to time. – Saint Augustine

Jesus Christ will be Lord of all, or he will not be Lord at all. – Saint Augustine

If physical things please you, then praise God for them, but turn back your love to Him who created them, lest in the things that please you, you displease Him. If souls please you, love them in God; for in themselves they are changeable, but in Him they are firmly established. Without Him they pass away and perish. In Him, then, let them be loved, and carry along with you to Him as many souls as you can, and say to them, “Let us love Him, let us love Him; He made the world and is not far from it. He did not make all things and then leave them, but they are of Him and in Him. See, there He is wherever truth is loved. He is within the very heart, yet the heart has strayed from Him. Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and hold fast to Him who made you. Stand with Him and you will stand fast. Rest in Him and you shall be at rest.” – Saint Augustine, from The Confessions

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation. – Saint Augustine

O Sacrament of Love! O sign of Unity! O bond of Charity! He who would have Life finds here indeed a Life to live in and a Life to live by. – Saint Augustine

If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider it certain that you have not begun to be a true servant of God; for Saint Paul says plainly that all who chose to live piously in Christ, shall suffer persecutions – Saint Augustine

I speak to you who have just been reborn in baptism, my little children in Christ, you who are the new offspring of the Church, gift of the Father, proof of Mother Church’s fruitfulness. All of you who stand fast in the Lord are a holy seed, a new colony of bees, the very flower of our ministry and fruit of our toil, my joy and my crown. It is the words of the Apostle that I address to you: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh and its desires, so that you may be clothed with the life of him whom you have put on in this sacrament. You have all been clothed with Christ by your baptism in him. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female; you are all one in Christ Jesus. Such is the power of this sacrament: it is a sacrament of new life which begins here and now with the forgiveness of all past sins, and will be brought to completion in the resurrection of the dead. You have been buried with Christ by baptism into death in order that, as Christ has risen from the dead, you also may walk in newness of life. You are walking now by faith, still on pilgrimage in a mortal body away from the Lord; but he to whom your steps are directed is himself the sure and certain way for you: Jesus Christ, who for our sake became man. For all who fear him he has stored up abundant happiness, which he will reveal to those who hope in him, bringing it to completion when we have attained the reality which even now we possess in hope. This is the octave day of your new birth. Today is fulfilled in you the sign of faith that was prefigured in the Old Testament by the circumcision of the flesh on the eighth day after birth. When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh; his risen body was still the same body, but it was no longer subject to death. By his resurrection he consecrated Sunday, or the Lord’s day. Though the third after his passion, this day is the eighth after the Sabbath, and thus also the first day of the week. And so your own hope of resurrection, though not yet realized, is sure and certain, because you have received the sacrament or sign of this reality, and have been given the pledge of the Spirit. If, then, you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. – from a sermon by Saint Augustine


The Word Among Us

Meditation: Matthew 23:23-26

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

Cleanse first the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26)

Ice cream sundaes, quickly consumed, can leave a lovely fluted dish splotched with leftover cherry pits, chocolate sprinkles, and nuts. The dish looks pretty on the outside, but the inside is a sticky mess. That’s like the image Jesus used to get these Pharisees’ attention. We know some Pharisees, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, believed in Jesus and became his disciples. But these Pharisees despised him.

Jesus’ rebuke might sound harsh; it might even make you squirm inside. After all, most of us know his words could just as easily apply to us. But Jesus isn’t trying to shame the Pharisees (or us) into change. He is trying to draw our gaze to the truth: only Jesus can cleanse the “inside of the cup,” our hearts (Matthew 23:26).

No matter how forcefully Jesus’ words strike you, be assured of this: God is not mad at you. He loves you intensely, and he is trying to open your eyes to the leftover mess in your heart. His rebuke is meant as an invitation to turn back to him.

St. Augustine, whose memorial we celebrate today, once told God, “You made me see that there was something to see.” Augustine saw Jesus and his holiness, and that shed light on his own need for God and his potential to be like Jesus. “You called and shouted,” he acknowledged, “and broke through my deafness.”

Jesus was shouting to break through the Pharisees’ deafness. God, who is good and gentle, is also powerful and wise. Don’t be frightened by the power of his voice. He isn’t screaming at you, “Hey you, your cup is filthy!” He’s inviting you closer so that you can hear him calling out, “Here I am! Let me help you.”

Jesus wants to help you. He wants you to be holy just as he is holy. He wants to hold your hand and guide you as you deal with whatever separates you from him. Perhaps he will lead you to look at what is gumming up your sundae dish. Perhaps it will lead to the confessional for a thorough scrubbing. Once everything is cleared away, the Spirit will deepen your faith in Jesus—and give you a deeper experience of his love.

“Jesus, cleanse me from the inside out.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
Psalm 96:10-13


Daily Gospel Commentary

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Commentary on the 1st letter of Saint John, VI, 3 ; SC 75 (copyright Augustinian heritage institute)

“Cleanse first the inside “

“Little children, this is how we know we are of the truth, when we love in action and truth, not only in words and speech, and assure our heart in his presence” (1Jn 3:18-19). What does “in his presence” mean? Where he himself sees. Hence, the Lord himself says in the gospel, “Beware of practicing your righteousness in the presence of men, in order to be seen by them; otlierwise you will not have a reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 6:1)… 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.


Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for August 28, 2018:

Who usually has the final word in an argument or family decision? If it doesn’t balance out, check if one of you is taking unfair advantage of the other. Somebody may be talking too much.


Regnum Christi

August 28, 2018 – First Things First

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Matthew 23:23-26

 

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you again in prayer. Even though I cannot see you, I know through faith that you are present in my life. I hope in your promise to be with me. I love you, and I know you love me. Accept this prayer as a token of my love.

Petition: Lord, help me to dedicate my life to weightier matters rather than mere appearances.

  1. Tithed Up in Knots: When God originally commanded his people to tithe, it was so that they would acknowledge him as the source of all the gifts in their lives. It was to be the recognition on their part that all they had was from him, that he is Lord, and that his law is the way to salvation. Yet it became easy for the Israelites to fall into legalism and forget the true purpose of the tithe. They observed the letter of the law and forgot the meaning of the law: acknowledge the sovereignty of God. In the end, all we are and all we have belongs to God. We have to use our talents, wealth and possessions all for him and his kingdom. Is there some area in which I do not acknowledge his sovereignty in my life?
  1. What Really Counts: What are the weightier matters of the law? Jesus speaks of justice and mercy and faith. When we neglect these, we are distorting true religion, for true religion is not a question of formalisms and actions to appease God, but rather of turning our hearts to his word. We need to make our hearts more like his, in charity and mercy toward others. How many times do we miss the most important things and work only at side issues? How often do we try to please God in the wrong way, by supposing we are doing his will when really we are only doing our own will instead? How often do we forget the true essence of devotion to the law of God?
  1. Interior Cleaning: “First clean the inside of the cup…” We should tend to our soul and make sure the intentions behind our actions are holy motivations. We need to check our heart frequently so that we can work with purity of intention. Sometimes we work only to present an appearance to others, to appear virtuous and holy, but inside we are filled with negative judgments, such as lack of charity. Virtue comes from within the heart of a person, where the Spirit dwells and inspires as he wills. We need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit and follow his lead.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know what is in my heart. Purify it and recast it in the image of your divine heart, so that I may love you and love others as you love them. Let me put aside all vanity and desire for appearances that does not give glory to you.

Resolution: I will examine my conscience as to the motives of my actions each day, making sure I am inspired by mercy, justice and faith.


Homily of the Day

In the first reading Paul encourages the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions that we taught you by word or by letter.” May they remain true and faithful to the Good News preached to them.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus denounces the religious leaders of his time for their lack of godliness and sincerity. He accuses them of hypocrisy; of cleansing the outside while being defiled in the inside.

This applies to all of us who call ourselves people of God. We are all sinners, fallen and in great need of God’s grace.

Jesus is calls us out of our conceited selves and reminds us that holiness is not something that we put on for others to see and notice. It is more important to nurture our relationship with God than to receive the empty admiration of others.


One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

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All Issues > Volume 34, Issue 5

<< Tuesday, August 28, 2018 >> St. Augustine
 
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
View Readings
Psalm 96:10-13 Matthew 23:23-26
Similar Reflections
 

ARE YOU EXPECTING? (SEE AUG. 27)

 
“On the question of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him…” �2 Thessalonians 2:1
 
The Thessalonians had been seduced into becoming agitated and terrified because they thought the world was about to end (2 Thes 2:2). Some Thessalonians even quit their jobs because they thought they had only a few days left on the earth (2 Thes 3:7ff). Also, some of the Corinthians divorced their unbelieving spouses, possibly because they expected the Lord to come and the world to end at any minute (1 Cor 7:12ff). These early Christians were wrong in their reaction to the possibility that the world would end. However, they were not wrong in expecting the world’s end and Christ’s return.

The worst mistake we can make is to ignore the fact that Jesus will come back to earth at a time we least expect (Lk 12:40). “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest. Since everything is to be destroyed in this way, what sort of men must you not be! How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming of the day of God and trying to hasten it!” (2 Pt 3:10-12)

The early Christians had one word on the tips of their tongues. They repeatedly cried out “Maranatha!” (“Come, Lord Jesus!”) (Rv 22:20; 1 Cor 16:22) to which the Lord responds: “Yes, I am coming soon!” (Rv 22:20)

 
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Promise: “First cleanse the inside of the cup so that its outside may be clean.” —Mt 23:26
Praise: While in his final illness, St. Augustine had the seven penitential psalms (Ps 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) hung on his bedroom wall so he could read them in a spirit of repentance.

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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Information: St. Augustine

Feast Day: August 28

Born: November 13, 354, Tagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)

Died: August 28, 430, Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria)

Major Shrine: San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, Pavia, Italy

Patron of: brewers; printers; theologians


Information: St. Moses the Black

Feast Day: August 28

Born: 330; Ethiopian ancestry

Died: 405, Scetes, Egypt

Major Shrine: Paromeos Monastery, Scetes, Egypt

Patron of: Africa


St. Augustine

Feast Day: August 28
Born: 354 :: Died: 430

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years living a wicked life and in false beliefs. He was one of the most intelligent persons who ever lived.

Augustine was brought up in a Christian atmosphere by his mother. But he became so proud and bad that in the end he could not see or understand holy truths anymore.

His mother Monica prayed daily for her son’s conversion. The marvelous sermons of St. Ambrose made their impact too. Finally, Augustine became convinced that Christianity was the true religion.

Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. Then one day, he heard about two men who had suddenly changed and became good Christians after reading the life of St. Anthony of the Desert.

Augustine felt ashamed. “What are we doing?” he cried to his friend Alipius. “Unlearned people are taking heaven by force. Yet we, with all our knowledge, are so weak that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!”

Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine went into the garden and prayed, “How much longer, Lord? Why don’t I stop committing sins now?” Just then he heard a child singing, “Take up and read!”

Thinking that God wanted him to hear those words, he picked up the Bible and opened it. His eyes fell on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 13. It was just what Augustine needed. Paul says to stop living bad lives and to live like Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.

He was baptized and ordained a priest and later became a bishop. He was a famous Catholic writer and started the Augustinian order. He became one of the greatest saints who ever lived.

On the wall of his room, he had the following sentence written in large letters: “Here we do not speak evil of anyone.” St. Augustine corrected strong false teachings, lived a simple life and cared for the poor.

He preached very often, and prayed with great feeling right up until his death. “Too late have I loved you,” he once cried to God. But Augustine spent the rest of his life in loving God and leading others to love him, too.


CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Tuesday, August 28

Liturgical Color: Green

Today the Church recalls St.
Augustine, bishop and Doctor of the
Church. Augustine led a wild early life
and then converted to become one of
the Church’s greatest writers and
philosophers. He died in 430 A.D.


Catholic Culture

Ordinary Time: August 28th

Memorial of St. Augustine, bishop, confessor and doctor

MASS READINGS

August 28, 2018 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: St. Augustine; St. Hermes, martyr

St. Augustine (354-430) was born at Tagaste, Africa, and died in Hippo. His father, Patricius, was a pagan; his mother, Monica, a devout Christian. He received a good Christian education. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by St. Ambrose. Returning to Tagaste, he distributed his goods to the poor, and was ordained a priest. He was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Hermes, a martyr of Rome, probably in Diocletian’s persecution. He was buried in a cemetery on the Salarian Way. He is mentioned in the Depositio Martyrum of the year 354.


St. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine Aurelius was born on November 13, 354, in Tagaste, North Africa. His father was a pagan, his mother, St. Monica. Still unbaptized 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, capitalizing 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 recognized 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 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 symbolize 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 honor him as their spiritual father.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Brewers; diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan; printers; city of Saint Augustine, Florida; diocese of Saint Augustine, Florida; sore eyes; diocese of Superior, Wisconsin; theologians; diocese of Tucson, Arizona.

Symbols: flaming heart pierced by two arrows; eagle; child with shell and spoon; word Veritas with rays of light from Heaven; chalice; dove; pen and book; scroll; scourge; model of a church; Bible opened to Romans XIII; child; shell.


St. Hermes
St. Hermes was prefect of Rome. Along with Pope Alexander I, he was put to death about the year 116. A cemetery on the Salerian Way bears his name. The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Rome the birthday of St. Hermes, a man of rank, who (as the Acts of the martyr-pope St. Alexander I narrate) was first cast into prison and then beheaded along with many others. He gained the martyr’s crown under the judge Aurelian.” His body rests in the Church of St. Mark, Rome.


Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint Augustine of Hippo

statue of Saint Augustine of Hippo; created by an unknown Moravian sculptor, date unknown; Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Brno-Zábrdovice, Czech Republic; photographed 28 January 2018 by Ondraness

Also known as

  • Aurelius Augustinus
  • Doctor of Grace

Memorial

Profile

Son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of God. Taught rhetoric at Carthage and Milan, Italy. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”

Augustine finally broke with the Manichaeans and was converted by the prayers of his mother and the help of Saint Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him. On the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and founded a monastery. Monk. Priest. Preacher. Bishop of Hippo in 396. Founded religious communities. Fought Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism and other heresies. Oversaw his church and his see during the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vandals. Doctor of the Church. His later thinking can also be summed up in a line from his writings: Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.

Born

Died

Canonized

Patronage

Representation

Additional Information

Readings

God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it. Saint Augustine

The honors of this world, what are they but puff, and emptiness and peril of falling? Saint Augustine

Daily advance, then, in this love, both by praying and by well doing, that through the help of Him who enjoined it on you, and whose gift it is, it may be nourished and increased, until, being perfected, it render you perfect. Saint Augustine

What do you possess if you possess not God? Saint Augustine

Unhappy is the soul enslaved by the love of anything that is mortal. Saint Augustine

The love of worldly possessions is a sort of bird line, which entangles the soul, and prevents it flying to God. Saint Augustine

This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God. Saint Augustine

God bestows more consideration on the purity of the intention with which our actions are performed than on the actions themselves. Saint Augustine

I will suggest a means whereby you can praise God all day long, if you wish. Whatever you do, do it well, and you have praised God. Saint Augustine

This is the business of our life. By labor and prayer to advance in the grace of God, till we come to that height of perfection in which, with clean hearts, we may behold God. Saint Augustine

God in his omnipotence could not give more, in His wisdom He knew not how to give more, in His riches He had not more to give, than the Eucharist. Saint Augustine

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. Saint Augustine

Our life and our death are with our neighbor. Saint Augustine

Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet. Saint Augustine

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced “the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever.” He was calling me and saying: “I am the way of truth, I am the life.” Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. – from the Confessions of Saint Augustine

Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. – from The City of God by Saint Augustine

A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers.” – from Against Faustus the Manichean, by Saint Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended. – from Sermons by Saint Augustine

At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps. – from Homilies on John by Saint Augustine

Since we cannot, as yet, understand that He was begotten by the Father before the day-star, let us celebrate His birth of the Virgin in the nocturnal hours. Since we do not comprehend how His name existed before the light of the sun, let us recognize His tabernacle placed in the sun. Since we do not, as yet, gaze upon the Son inseparably united with His Father, let us remember Him as the ‘bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber.’ Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, let us grow familiar with the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Saint Augustine

He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us. – Saint Augustine

Question the beauty of the earth, the sea, the air distending and diffusing itself, the sky, question all these realities. All respond: ‘See, we are beautiful.’ These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change? – Saint Augustine

One and the same Word of God extends throughout the Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since He who was in the beginning God with God has no need for separate syllables; for he is not subject to time. – Saint Augustine

Jesus Christ will be Lord of all, or he will not be Lord at all. – Saint Augustine

If physical things please you, then praise God for them, but turn back your love to Him who created them, lest in the things that please you, you displease Him. If souls please you, love them in God; for in themselves they are changeable, but in Him they are firmly established. Without Him they pass away and perish. In Him, then, let them be loved, and carry along with you to Him as many souls as you can, and say to them, “Let us love Him, let us love Him; He made the world and is not far from it. He did not make all things and then leave them, but they are of Him and in Him. See, there He is wherever truth is loved. He is within the very heart, yet the heart has strayed from Him. Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and hold fast to Him who made you. Stand with Him and you will stand fast. Rest in Him and you shall be at rest.” – Saint Augustine, from The Confessions

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation. – Saint Augustine

O Sacrament of Love! O sign of Unity! O bond of Charity! He who would have Life finds here indeed a Life to live in and a Life to live by. – Saint Augustine

If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider it certain that you have not begun to be a true servant of God; for Saint Paul says plainly that all who chose to live piously in Christ, shall suffer persecutions – Saint Augustine

I speak to you who have just been reborn in baptism, my little children in Christ, you who are the new offspring of the Church, gift of the Father, proof of Mother Church’s fruitfulness. All of you who stand fast in the Lord are a holy seed, a new colony of bees, the very flower of our ministry and fruit of our toil, my joy and my crown. It is the words of the Apostle that I address to you: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh and its desires, so that you may be clothed with the life of him whom you have put on in this sacrament. You have all been clothed with Christ by your baptism in him. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female; you are all one in Christ Jesus. Such is the power of this sacrament: it is a sacrament of new life which begins here and now with the forgiveness of all past sins, and will be brought to completion in the resurrection of the dead. You have been buried with Christ by baptism into death in order that, as Christ has risen from the dead, you also may walk in newness of life. You are walking now by faith, still on pilgrimage in a mortal body away from the Lord; but he to whom your steps are directed is himself the sure and certain way for you: Jesus Christ, who for our sake became man. For all who fear him he has stored up abundant happiness, which he will reveal to those who hope in him, bringing it to completion when we have attained the reality which even now we possess in hope. This is the octave day of your new birth. Today is fulfilled in you the sign of faith that was prefigured in the Old Testament by the circumcision of the flesh on the eighth day after birth. When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh; his risen body was still the same body, but it was no longer subject to death. By his resurrection he consecrated Sunday, or the Lord’s day. Though the third after his passion, this day is the eighth after the Sabbath, and thus also the first day of the week. And so your own hope of resurrection, though not yet realized, is sure and certain, because you have received the sacrament or sign of this reality, and have been given the pledge of the Spirit. If, then, you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. – from a sermon by Saint Augustine


The Word Among Us

Meditation: Matthew 23:23-26

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

Cleanse first the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26)

Ice cream sundaes, quickly consumed, can leave a lovely fluted dish splotched with leftover cherry pits, chocolate sprinkles, and nuts. The dish looks pretty on the outside, but the inside is a sticky mess. That’s like the image Jesus used to get these Pharisees’ attention. We know some Pharisees, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, believed in Jesus and became his disciples. But these Pharisees despised him.

Jesus’ rebuke might sound harsh; it might even make you squirm inside. After all, most of us know his words could just as easily apply to us. But Jesus isn’t trying to shame the Pharisees (or us) into change. He is trying to draw our gaze to the truth: only Jesus can cleanse the “inside of the cup,” our hearts (Matthew 23:26).

No matter how forcefully Jesus’ words strike you, be assured of this: God is not mad at you. He loves you intensely, and he is trying to open your eyes to the leftover mess in your heart. His rebuke is meant as an invitation to turn back to him.

St. Augustine, whose memorial we celebrate today, once told God, “You made me see that there was something to see.” Augustine saw Jesus and his holiness, and that shed light on his own need for God and his potential to be like Jesus. “You called and shouted,” he acknowledged, “and broke through my deafness.”

Jesus was shouting to break through the Pharisees’ deafness. God, who is good and gentle, is also powerful and wise. Don’t be frightened by the power of his voice. He isn’t screaming at you, “Hey you, your cup is filthy!” He’s inviting you closer so that you can hear him calling out, “Here I am! Let me help you.”

Jesus wants to help you. He wants you to be holy just as he is holy. He wants to hold your hand and guide you as you deal with whatever separates you from him. Perhaps he will lead you to look at what is gumming up your sundae dish. Perhaps it will lead to the confessional for a thorough scrubbing. Once everything is cleared away, the Spirit will deepen your faith in Jesus—and give you a deeper experience of his love.

“Jesus, cleanse me from the inside out.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
Psalm 96:10-13


Daily Gospel Commentary

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Commentary on the 1st letter of Saint John, VI, 3 ; SC 75 (copyright Augustinian heritage institute)

“Cleanse first the inside “

“Little children, this is how we know we are of the truth, when we love in action and truth, not only in words and speech, and assure our heart in his presence” (1Jn 3:18-19). What does “in his presence” mean? Where he himself sees. Hence, the Lord himself says in the gospel, “Beware of practicing your righteousness in the presence of men, in order to be seen by them; otlierwise you will not have a reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 6:1)… 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.


Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for August 28, 2018:

Who usually has the final word in an argument or family decision? If it doesn’t balance out, check if one of you is taking unfair advantage of the other. Somebody may be talking too much.


Regnum Christi

August 28, 2018 – First Things First

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Matthew 23:23-26

 

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you again in prayer. Even though I cannot see you, I know through faith that you are present in my life. I hope in your promise to be with me. I love you, and I know you love me. Accept this prayer as a token of my love.

Petition: Lord, help me to dedicate my life to weightier matters rather than mere appearances.

  1. Tithed Up in Knots: When God originally commanded his people to tithe, it was so that they would acknowledge him as the source of all the gifts in their lives. It was to be the recognition on their part that all they had was from him, that he is Lord, and that his law is the way to salvation. Yet it became easy for the Israelites to fall into legalism and forget the true purpose of the tithe. They observed the letter of the law and forgot the meaning of the law: acknowledge the sovereignty of God. In the end, all we are and all we have belongs to God. We have to use our talents, wealth and possessions all for him and his kingdom. Is there some area in which I do not acknowledge his sovereignty in my life?
  1. What Really Counts: What are the weightier matters of the law? Jesus speaks of justice and mercy and faith. When we neglect these, we are distorting true religion, for true religion is not a question of formalisms and actions to appease God, but rather of turning our hearts to his word. We need to make our hearts more like his, in charity and mercy toward others. How many times do we miss the most important things and work only at side issues? How often do we try to please God in the wrong way, by supposing we are doing his will when really we are only doing our own will instead? How often do we forget the true essence of devotion to the law of God?
  1. Interior Cleaning: “First clean the inside of the cup…” We should tend to our soul and make sure the intentions behind our actions are holy motivations. We need to check our heart frequently so that we can work with purity of intention. Sometimes we work only to present an appearance to others, to appear virtuous and holy, but inside we are filled with negative judgments, such as lack of charity. Virtue comes from within the heart of a person, where the Spirit dwells and inspires as he wills. We need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit and follow his lead.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know what is in my heart. Purify it and recast it in the image of your divine heart, so that I may love you and love others as you love them. Let me put aside all vanity and desire for appearances that does not give glory to you.

Resolution: I will examine my conscience as to the motives of my actions each day, making sure I am inspired by mercy, justice and faith.


Homily of the Day

In the first reading Paul encourages the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions that we taught you by word or by letter.” May they remain true and faithful to the Good News preached to them.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus denounces the religious leaders of his time for their lack of godliness and sincerity. He accuses them of hypocrisy; of cleansing the outside while being defiled in the inside.

This applies to all of us who call ourselves people of God. We are all sinners, fallen and in great need of God’s grace.

Jesus is calls us out of our conceited selves and reminds us that holiness is not something that we put on for others to see and notice. It is more important to nurture our relationship with God than to receive the empty admiration of others.


One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

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All Issues > Volume 34, Issue 5

<< Tuesday, August 28, 2018 >> St. Augustine
 
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
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Psalm 96:10-13 Matthew 23:23-26
Similar Reflections
 

ARE YOU EXPECTING? (SEE AUG. 27)

 
“On the question of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him…” �2 Thessalonians 2:1
 
The Thessalonians had been seduced into becoming agitated and terrified because they thought the world was about to end (2 Thes 2:2). Some Thessalonians even quit their jobs because they thought they had only a few days left on the earth (2 Thes 3:7ff). Also, some of the Corinthians divorced their unbelieving spouses, possibly because they expected the Lord to come and the world to end at any minute (1 Cor 7:12ff). These early Christians were wrong in their reaction to the possibility that the world would end. However, they were not wrong in expecting the world’s end and Christ’s return.

The worst mistake we can make is to ignore the fact that Jesus will come back to earth at a time we least expect (Lk 12:40). “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest. Since everything is to be destroyed in this way, what sort of men must you not be! How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming of the day of God and trying to hasten it!” (2 Pt 3:10-12)

The early Christians had one word on the tips of their tongues. They repeatedly cried out “Maranatha!” (“Come, Lord Jesus!”) (Rv 22:20; 1 Cor 16:22) to which the Lord responds: “Yes, I am coming soon!” (Rv 22:20)

 
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Promise: “First cleanse the inside of the cup so that its outside may be clean.” —Mt 23:26
Praise: While in his final illness, St. Augustine had the seven penitential psalms (Ps 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) hung on his bedroom wall so he could read them in a spirit of repentance.