Tag Archives: doctor

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


franciscanmedia.org

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Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Exorcism of the demon-possessed in Capernaum

Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

ca. 1410

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Franciscan Media

<em>Saint Gregory the Great</em> | Jusepe de Ribera, also known as José de RiberaImage: Saint Gregory the Great | Jusepe de Ribera, also known as José de Ribera

Saint Gregory the Great

Saint of the Day for September 3

(c. 540 – March 12, 604)

 

Saint Gregory the Great’s Story

Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate, and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome.

Ordained a priest, Gregory became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, but at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.

Gregory was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, and for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is disputed.

Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king.

His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily Gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” Gregory has been given a place with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

An Anglican historian has written: “It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great.”


Reflection

Gregory was content to be a monk, but he willingly served the Church in other ways when asked. He sacrificed his own preferences in many ways, especially when he was called to be Bishop of Rome. Once he was called to public service, Gregory gave his considerable energies completely to this work. Gregory’s description of bishops as physicians fits in well with Pope Francis’ description of the Church as a “field hospital.”


Saint Gregory the Great is the Patron Saint of:

England
Epilepsy
Musicians
Teachers


 

On Gregory the Great
Saint Gregory the Great’s Sermon on the Mystery of the Resurrection
A Light in the “Dark Ages”, The Life and Legacy of Saint Gregory the Great [Catholic Caucus]
The Archangels – Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (from a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great)

Pope St.Gregory I (the Great) [Repost]
Gregory the Great, a Model for Civil and Religious Leaders
I Had a Dream: The Music of Palestrina and Gregory the Great Had Come Back
Saint Gregory The Great: Pope, Doctor of the Church
[Pope]St.Gregory The Great


 

franciscanmedia.org


Saint Gregory the Great

Jusepe de Ribera

circa 1614
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome


 

Pray for Pope Francis.


Jesus Christ in Nazareth

 

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Saint Gregory the Great inspired by a dove

It’s time to kneel down and pray for our nation (Sacramental Marriage)


 

Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
Novena asking for St Michael The Archangel to stand with us and bring us victory


 

Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)


7 Powerful Ways to Pray for Christians Suffering in the Middle East


 

Pray the Rosary!

50 Boko Haram Islamic Radicals Killed; 1,000 Hostages, Women and Children, Rescued in Nigeria
Nigeria: In the Face of Ongoing Islamist Attacks, the Faith is Growing
US Promises to Help Nigeria Exterminate Boko Haram
Is This Bishop Right about the Rosary Conquering Boko Haram? [Catholic Caucus]
Why Boko Haram and ISIS Target Women
Report reveals scale of Boko Haram violence inflictef on Nigerian Catholics
Military evacuating girls, women rescued from Boko Haram
Echos of Lepanto Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Harm
After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram (Catholic Caucus)
Nigerian Bishop Says Christ Showed Him How to Beat Islamic Terror Group

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Jesus, High Priest

 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Photograph taken by Céline, in three poses, in the sacristy court yard. This is the third pose, which Thérèse sent to Bellière, as we read in the last paragraph of her letter LT-258. The pictures from her breviary that Thérèse holds sum up her name:the Infant Jesus
and the Holy Face.Date: June 7th, 1897.The 47 photos of Thérèse

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October 1 – Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story

“I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.”

These are the words of Thérèse of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun called the “Little Flower,” who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering a redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the Carmel convent “to save souls and pray for priests.” And shortly before she died, she wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

Thérèse was canonized in 1925. On October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized in light of her holiness and the influence of her teaching on spirituality in the Church.

Her parents, Louis and Zélie, were beatified in 2008, and canonized in 2015.


Reflection

Thérèse has much to teach our age of the image, the appearance, the “self.” We have become a dangerously self-conscious people, painfully aware of the need to be fulfilled, yet knowing we are not. Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live.

Preoccupation with self separates modern men and women from God, from their fellow human beings, and ultimately from themselves. We must re-learn to forget ourselves, to contemplate a God who draws us out of ourselves, and to serve others as the ultimate expression of selfhood. These are the insights of Saint Thérèse, and they are more valid today than ever.


Saint Thérèse is the Patron Saint of:

Florists
Missionaries
Pilots
Priests


franciscanmedia.org

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On St. Thérèse of Lisieux

On Praying for Priests (Thoughts from St. Thérèse of Lisieux)
Tens of thousands expected to venerate St. Therese relics at Westminster Cathedral [Catholic Caucus]
The Little-Known St. Thérèse (Catholic Caucus)
All Is Grace
Three Novenas to Saint Therese of Lisieux/St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Prayer Thread)
Catholic Caucus: The Little-Known St. Thérèse
Catholic relic (of St. Therese of the Child Jesus) nicked from Toronto church [Catholic Caucus]
Leonard Porter’s St. Therese (magnificent)
Blessed Mother… and Father, Too (parents of St. Therese beatified) [Catholic Caucus]
“A Shower of Roses” [Catholic Caucus]
The Christmas Conversion of St. Thérèse

Benedict XVI Welcomes Relics of St. Thérèse – Urges Faithful to Love Scripture as She Did
St. Therese of The Little Flower – Following Her Road Map & Compass To God (Card Sean Titular Chrch)
St. Therese and the Little Way
Today we remember the Little Flower

New Film on the Life of St. Thèrése of Lisieux Screened for the Roman Curia
St. Therese and Her Little Way
Saint Therese of Lisieux-Excerpts from autobiography:STORY OF A SOUL
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
The Little Way of St. Therese [Long]
Catholic Caucus – St. Therese of Lisieux


Catholic Culture

Ordinary Time: October 1st

Memorial St. Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and Doctor of the Church

» Enjoy our Liturgical Seasons series of e-books!

Old Calendar: St. Remigius, bishop, confessor (Remi) ; Other Titles: The Little Flower; Theresa of the Child Jesus; Teresa of the Child Jesus; Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face; Therese of the Infant Jesus; Thérèse Lisieux; Theresa Lisieux; Therese Lisieux

Today is the memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, more popularly known as “the Little Flower.” Although just an obscure cloistered Carmelite nun, she has had universal appeal since her death in 1897. St. Thérèse is the patroness of all foreign missions and patroness of France. Her feast day was formerly October 3.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Remigius, bishop and confessor, who died in 533. He baptized King Clovis, bringing the Frankish nation to Christianity. He is one of the patrons of France.

 


St. Thérèse
Marie Thérèse Martin was born at Alençon, France on January 2, 1873, the youngest of five daughters. Her father, Louis, was a watchmaker, and her mother, Zelie, who died of breast cancer when Thérèse was four, was a lace maker. She was brought up in a model Christian home. While still a child she felt the attraction of the cloister, and at fifteen obtained permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux. For the next nine years she lived a very ordinary religious life. There are no miracles, exploits or austerities recorded of her. She attained a very high degree of holiness by carrying out her ordinary daily duties with perfect fidelity, having a childlike confidence in God’s providence and merciful love and being ready to be at the service of others at all times. She also had a great love of the Church and a zeal for the conversion of souls. She prayed especially for priests. She died of consumption on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24, and was canonized in 1925. She has never ceased to fulfill her promise: “I will pass my heaven in doing good on earth.” Her interior life is known through her autobiography called Story of a Soul. Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

Patron: florists; foreign missions; missionaries; pilots; against tuberculosis; AIDS sufferers; illness; loss of parents; Australia; France; Russia; Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska; Diocese of Fresno, California; Diocese of Juneau, Alaska; Diocese of Pueblo, Colorado.

Symbols: roses; discalced Carmelite nun holding roses; Carmelite nun with roses at her feet; Carmelite nun holding images of the Child Jesus and Holy Face of Jesus; Carmelite nun holding a crucifix and roses; book.

Things to Do:

 


St. Remigius
Also known as Remi, he was born at Laon, the son of Count Emilius of Laon and St. Celina. He became known for his preaching, and in 459, when he was only twenty-two, he was appointed bishop of Rheims. He was ordained and consecrated and reigned for more than seventy years, devoting himself to the evangelization of the Franks. In 496, Clovis, pagan King of northern Gaul, supposedly in response to a suggestion by his wife, Clotildis, a Christian, invoked the Christian God when the invading Alemanni were on the verge of defeating his forces, whereupon the tide of battle turned and Clovis was victorious. St. Remigius, aided by St. Vedast, instructed him and his chieftains in Christianity, and soon after baptized Clovis, his two sisters, and three thousand of his followers. Remigius was a zealous proponent of orthodoxy, opposed Arianism, and converted an Arian bishop at a synod of Arian bishops in 517. He was censured by a group of bishops for ordaining one Claudius, whom they felt was unworthy of the priesthood, but St. Remigius was generally held in great veneration for his holiness, learning, and miracles. He was the most influential prelate of Gaul and is considered the apostle of the Franks. He died at Rheims on January 13. — Dictionary of Saints, John J. Delaney

Patron: France.

Symbols: Oil stock; dove with Holy Ampulla in its beak; birds; veil of St. Veronica; font; broken fetters.
Often Portrayed As: Dressed as a bishop with a miter and staff with a cross and is holding the oil of the sacred phial in his right hand with a dove hovering over. For centuries the events at the crowning of Clovis I became a symbol used by the monarchy to claim the divine right to rule.

Things to Do: Things to Do:

  • Learn about Rheims, France and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Rheims where King Clovis was baptized.
  • Find out what the divine right of kings means.
  • Offer reparation by prayers and good works for the losses resulting from the infidelity of France (the eldest daughter of the Church) as well as much of Europe, who has departed from the faith on which their culture was built.
  • Read Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Europa.

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The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 9:51-56

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

They entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there. (Luke 9:52)

Maybe you’ve heard this expression: “The Queen thinks the world smells of fresh paint.”

No, there’s nothing wrong with the Queen of England’s nose. It’s just that, when she visits a town, her people make sure the locals work hard to spruce things up. The landscaping is freshly groomed. Highways are swept clean. Painters splash color onto walls. Everyone tries to look their best for their monarch.

Contrast this with Jesus. When he sent messengers ahead into Samaria, he didn’t instruct them to beautify it—not even to renovate the local religious practices. He simply told them to proclaim good news: Jesus the King was coming to visit (Luke 9:6).

But when James and John encountered opposition in one particular village, their tempers flared. They had missed that Jesus was prepared to enter these villagers’ messy lives with the power to heal them.

Just like the messengers in today’s Gospel, Jesus is sending you out “ahead” of his coming. Your assignment is to help prepare the people around you for his reception. It’s not as hard as you might think.

First, focus on loving people right where they are. Don’t wait for them to renovate their lives. And don’t pressure or nag them either. Trust that Jesus can use your small acts of kindness and love to prepare them for a deeper relationship with him.

Second, bring good news. When the time is right, share about the difference Jesus has made in your life.

Finally, don’t be offended if people aren’t ready to hear about Jesus. After all, Jesus didn’t hold a grudge against the Samaritans. He even healed a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:16)! Then, after Jesus’ resurrection, his disciples went again into Samaria to proclaim the gospel (Acts 8:25).

So keep sowing seeds of love in the people around you. And pray for a harvest! In time, they will be ready to receive their King.

“Lord, please use my small acts of love to prepare your way.”

 

Zechariah 8:20-23
Psalm 87:1-7

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Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
October 1, 2019 “To live out of love is to give one’s self.” – St. Therese. Make a conscious effort to give yourself to your family today, through your time, prayers, and acts of service.

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Regnum Christi

October 1, 2019 – Heavenly Helpers

Memorial of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Luke 9: 51-56

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, make me meek and humble of heart.

  1. An Unpopular Strategy: Jesus was like the general of an army. His wasn’t a visible enemy, though; his enemy was the hidden forces of evil itself. Jesus waged war on the devil until the bitter end. “This was the purpose of the appearing of the Son of God, to undo the work of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Jesus marched on toward Jerusalem, and this Gospel described his march with a military term: “resolutely”. Nevertheless, even though he was engaged in fierce combat, Jesus didn’t show it in a way the world understood. Our Lord approached his battle in Jerusalem like a sheep being led to the slaughter. His strategy was humility. Humility was the atomic bomb that he would drop on Satan’s designs and plans. He thus undid the pride and arrogance of Lucifer.
  1. A Lesson in Humility: St. John the Evangelist is an active participant in this passage. He himself knew that Jesus’ purpose was to wage war (see 1 John 3:8), and he and his brother dreamed of being well-decorated in Jesus’ battalion. They sought places at his right and left hand in the Kingdom (see Mark 10:35-37), and now they seek to use their rank as apostles to bring down revenge on their opponents. Jesus rebuked them, redefining for them the idea of kingship in his reign. They learned quickly that the weapons of attack were kindness, gentleness, charity and humility.
  1. Mission Oriented: In military standards, a commander-in-chief might have considered the incident in Samaria a defeat. Christ was uprooted from their presence, so humanly speaking, he lost. This, however, is not the case. Had Jesus complained or retaliated against the fanaticism of the Samaritans, that would have been a defeat. Instead, the Gospel tells us: “They journeyed to another village.” Simple as that! Christ won victory because he didn’t waste time on fickle, whimsical and capricious expectations; rather as a true soldier, he forgave, forgot and continued to the next town.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, allow me to understand the bumps and bruises of your “boot camp.” It is hard to understand why life is so taxing for my weak nature, but I know that we are at war with the forces of evil. Seeing you die for this war and winning it gives me greater courage to commit my bit to the war effort. Help me to prefer the virtue of humility over my pride.

Resolution: Today, I will be to the one who does an everyday chore in my house. I will make the coffee for all or wash the dishes to demonstrate to the Lord (and myself) that I can be humble.

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Homily of the Day

]Jesus and his disciples were headed for Jerusalem. This would be his

final destination where he would prepare himself as the “Lamb” for the
Passover Meal. Jesus’ disciples were all witnesses to his great wisdom
and compassion. They also saw him perform great and spectacular
miracles of healing, expelling demons and raising people from the
dead. The disciples indeed had firsthand experience of Divine Power
realized in the person of Jesus.

Naturally though, because they were only human, their tendency was to
think in terms of human wisdom. Human weaknesses dictated impulsive
reactions, more like reflex actions to a given situation. The disciple
brothers James and John had been frustrated with their efforts to
preach the good news in the towns where they had been sent. They
impulsively asked Jesus to call down fire from heaven and burn up
these towns.

Indeed God’s ways are not man’s ways. God is constantly teaching us
this throughout our lifetime. Life daily asks us all sorts of
questions. Our response to these questions will measure our progress.

Great power comes with natural purity. This power describes the Good
News which Jesus wants us to hear. Although convinced by the great
power of God’s word, we must not deal with it as though it were a
human word. Neither should we force others to believe and accept God’s
word right away. The fruits of Love will lead people to recognize that
the message is authentic; by their own free will they will be
convinced to accept willingly and wholeheartedly the truth of God’s
love, the Power that gives Life, Life to the fullest.

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One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Espanol

All Issues > Volume 35, Issue 6

<< Tuesday, October 1, 2019 >> St. Therese of the Child Jesus
 
Zechariah 8:20-23
View Readings
Psalm 87:1-7 Luke 9:51-56
Similar Reflections
 

READY, GET SET, GO

 
Jesus “set His face toward Jerusalem.” �Luke 9:51 (our translation)
 
Jesus “firmly resolved to proceed toward Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51). This was one of the most important decisions in human history. This decision to go to Jerusalem was a crucial moment in God’s plan of salvation, for it ended in Jesus’ saving death and glorious Resurrection.

Immediately after making this decision, Jesus was opposed by Samaritans and had to rebuke James and John to deliver them from the evil one (Lk 9:53, 55). We likewise face serious problems after we make our most important decisions for Jesus. How many people have been rejected by their friends and co-workers after they have decided to give their lives to Jesus! So many Christians have made the decision to be pure, only to face what seemed to be huge temptations, and even abuse, for trying to live a holy life.

After I had “set my face” toward the vocation of the priesthood, the devil tried to talk me out of it by spotlighting many abuses in the Church. Many Christian couples, after they have “set their faces” toward becoming a holy family, experience financial difficulties. Those who set their faces in obedience to God have unsettling experiences.

Nevertheless, we all must keep our faces set towards God’s will in our life. If we do, we will finally rise from the dead after having suffered and died for love of Jesus. Set your face (see Is 50:7).

 
Prayer: Father, may I not move to the right or to the left, but be set in Your ways (Dt 5:32).
Promise: “Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to implore the favor of the Lord.” —Zec 8:22
Praise: St. Therese was reared in an extremely devout Catholic family. She is the child of two canonized Saints, Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin.

———

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.

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.

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.

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.