Wednesday, August 27, 2014

St. Augustine and St. Monica

 It has been awhile since I last posted. July was a busy month with an unexpected trip to Vermont to attend the funeral of my maternal aunt and godmother.

My hometown parish and the site of the funeral was St. Augustine Church, Montpelier, Vermont. It is in Montpelier that I was born and St. Augustine Church where I was baptized, received First Penance, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Montpelier is a charming, capitol city and St. Augustine Church's is a Gothic styled church built out of Vermont granite.

St. Augustine was a fourth century bishop from Hippo, Africa. The wayward son of St. Monica, who shed many tears and offered many prayers for his conversion. He was a brilliant man, who when he did embrace the Catholic faith at age 32, brought his great natural talents to bear when explaining and defending the faith to others. He is a doctor of the Catholic Church. His feast day is August 28.

 St. Monica is the model for mothers and all who seek the conversion of a loved one. She prayed and trusted in the power of prayer. Her prayers were not immediately answered. She persevered, trusted and cried out to the Lord, begging Him to draw her son to the truths of the Catholic faith. St. Augustine wrote an autobiography, Confessions, describing the state of his mind and soul during his youth and early adulthood. He had a tender love for his mother and knew of her heartache at his lack of faith. However, he persisted in sin and followed false doctrines. Eventually, the clouds of disbelief and the shadow of sin were lifted, and he came to know the God of truth. He is remembered for saying: "Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you."   St. Monica, pray for us and for our loved ones.
 One of my favorite stories about St. Augustine is reflected in this picture. It is the story of Augustine trying to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity. As he walks along the beach pondering the mystery, he sees a little boy trying to put the ocean into a little hole he had dug out of the sand. "You can't fill the hole with the ocean," Augustine tells the child. "Neither can you comprehend the mystery of the Holy Trinity in your limited intellect," retorts the boy and upon saying it, he vanishes!

Here is a link to an Algerian Dessert possibly from Augustine's time


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