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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Meditation for the Feast of St Augustine of Hippo


What the Scribes and Pharisees Needed


Let us lead good lives, and while we lead good lives let us on no account take it for granted that we are without sin. Living a life that is praiseworthy includes begging pardon for things that are blameworthy. But people who are beyond hope pay all the less attention to their own sins, they are more interested in those of others. They are looking for a chance to tear others to bits, not to put them right. Unable to excuse themselves, they are only too ready to accuse others.
Sin cannot possibly go unpunished.  The forces of nature become imbalanced, unstable and unsustainable. If a sin remains unpunished it is naturally unjust, and so undoubtedly it must be punished. This is what your God says to you: “Your sin is punished, either by man repenting or by God judging”. So either it, without you, it is punished by you or else it together with you is punished by God. What is repentance after all, but being angry with oneself? What’s the idea of beating your breast if you aren’t just pretending? Why beat it if you aren’t angry with it? So when you beat your breast you are being angry with your heart in order to make amends to your Lord. This is also how we can understand the text ‘Be angry and do not sin’. Be angry because you have sinned, and by punishing yourself stop sinning. Give your heart a shaking by repentance, and this will be a sacrifice to God.

Saint Augustine of Hippo – Doctor of Grace
Extract from "Magnificat" - August 2012. Vol 2 No11

“He cannot have God for his Father who will not have the Church for his mother.” - St. Augustine

“This is the sum of religion, to imitate whom you worship” - St. Augustine

 

Monday, 27 August 2012

St Monica - A Mother of Faith, Prayer and a Giant of the Church

 
Reading St Augustine’s “City of God” for practical reasons, I look upon the feast day of St Monica as a day of thanksgiving. The Church has benefited so profoundly from the fruits of her endeavours, expressed through St Augustine, her son. She is a befitting example of the power of prayer and faith by way of virtues.
Her life story is an example of the importance of family bonds and the responsibilities of the parents in regarding their children as “children of God” (CCC 222). I am quite sure that the secret of St Augustine’s greatness was the holiness of his doting mother St Monica. I know “Little Therese” (St Therese) whom I view in very high regard, came from a very pious family, for her mother and father Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin were beatified in October, 2008.

I am reminded of the commentary from the excellent book I read a few years ago “The Story of a Family – The Home of St Therese of Lisieux”. Which said; “Giants in any sphere of human endeavour stand on the shoulders of giants. Nobody gets to heaven alone. We are all what our birth, our families, our education, our country, etc. Have helped to make us”.
Short commentary and pertaining Verses of Scripture:
·        The purpose of Christian faith is to view it as a seed you nurture and growth both interiorly and exteriorly: “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Mark 4:8.

·        Always believe in miracles and desire to do God’s will. St Therese so eloquently stated in her oblation “’Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name he will give it to you!’ I am certain, then, that you will grant my desires, I know, O my God! That the more you want to give, the more you make us desire...”“Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22

St Monica’s biography from “Catholic Online”.
St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370• He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, "it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish." This thought, coupled with a vision that she had received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

St Maximilian Kolbe Pray For Us All !



I have come....to proclaim the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth hears my voice. Pilate questions, "What is Truth?” (John 18:37-38).
Happy Feast day! St Maximilian Kolbe, the Patron Saint of Difficult Times.
His life and death is an excellent testament to the Truth, proclaiming the embodiment of Christianity in its purest form. 
The following points are as to why I believe in regards particularly to St Maximilian Kolbe’s life this is very much the case. For he...
·       ...proclaimed the “Good News” of Christ through the devotion of his mother, the Blessed Virgin, entirely throughout his life. Using media technology at the time and ministry to spread the truth of God’s word in the most far-off reaches of the world, like Japan (Matt 28:19-20);
·       ...spread the joy of the Truth by raising his friends and acquaintances spirits when the world or trial was getting them down (Matt 25:21).
·       ...in living he loved, to the extent of giving his all including himself, for God and his neighbour (Matt 22:39).
·       ...showed compassion to his enemies and prayed to the great Mother of God. For the sinless to save the sinful, by asking the Virgin Mary for their hearts to softened and become converted by granting them the gift of faith to appreciate the Truth (Luke 6:27-31) ;
·       ...lived a life as an exemplary example of a child of God in humility and charity, by accepting completely our Mother’s “fiat” (“so be it” Luke 1:38), offered to him by way of two crowns one white for chastity the other red for martyrdom, in doing so he embraced our Lord’s passion and will quite devoutly (CCC 494). Thus obtaining prestigious entitlement from God’s first promise of righteousness conquering evil (Gen 3:15);
The Book of Revelation 20:4-6 provides a revealing validation as to why St Maximilian’s life of Christ is extremely important for everyone to hear all over the globe. Because in divine terms it describes what God’s Judgement of a soul’s destiny means separated between heaven, purgatory and hell. From Christ’s first resurrection to His Second Coming where body is reunited with soul. It is the very reason why we should emulate this example and similar others like St Therese for instance, in our own lives, but especially for bloggers!
This is a pertinent theological explanation by Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
“Here is an account of the reign of the saints, for the same space of time as Satan is bound. Those who suffer with Christ, shall reign with him in his spiritual and heavenly kingdom, in conformity to him in his wisdom, righteousness, and holiness: this is called the first resurrection, with which none but those who serve Christ, and suffer for him, shall be favoured. The happiness of these servants of God is declared. None can be blessed but those that are holy; and all that are holy shall be blessed. We know something of what the first death is, and it is very awful; but we know not what this second death is. It must be much more dreadful; it is the death of the soul, eternal separation from God. May we never know what it is: those who have been made partakers of a spiritual resurrection, are saved from the power of the second death. We may expect that a thousand years will follow the destruction of the anti-christian, idolatrous, persecuting powers, during which pure Christianity, in doctrine, worship, and holiness, will be made known over all the earth (bloggers take note). By the all-powerful working of the Holy Spirit, fallen man will be new-created; and faith and holiness will as certainly prevail, as unbelief and unholiness now do. We may easily perceive what a variety of dreadful pains, diseases, and other calamities would cease, if all men were true and consistent Christians. All the evils of public and private contests would be ended, and happiness of every kind largely increased. Every man would try to lighten suffering, instead of adding to the sorrows around him. It is our duty to pray for the promised glorious days, and to do everything in our public and private stations which can prepare for them.”
Meditation Point: “beheaded because of their testimony” or righteousness (Rev 20:4). Is this a reference directly to John the Baptist in the New Testament and indirectly Abel in the Old Testament!?
To the Patron Saint of difficult times, Pray for us!