Tuesday, August 27, 2013




Dear St. Monica,
troubled wife and mother,
many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime.
Yet, you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence, and profound faith,
you prayed daily for the conversion
of your beloved husband, Patricius,
and your beloved son, Augustine;
your prayers were answered.
Grant me that same fortitude, patience,
and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
that God may favorably hear my plea for

(Mention your intention here.)

and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.



Memorial of Saint Monica

1 THES 2:1-8

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters,
that our reception among you was not without effect.
Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated,
as you know, in Philippi,
we drew courage through our God
to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.
Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives,
nor did it work through deception.
But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel,
that is how we speak,
not as trying to please men,
but rather God, who judges our hearts.
Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know,
or with a pretext for greed–God is witness–
nor did we seek praise from men,
either from you or from others,
although we were able to impose our weight as Apostles of Christ.
Rather, we were gentle among you,
as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 139:1-3, 4-6

R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.

R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.

R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

MT 23:23-26

Jesus said:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”


August 27

St. Monica (322?-387)

The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. 
Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism.

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil) and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. 
In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. 
She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. 
Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” 
She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.

Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions.


O Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

How wonderful is God among his saints:
come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

How wonderful is God among his saints:
come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

How wonderful is God among his saints:
come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

How wonderful is God among his saints:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

How wonderful is God among his saints:
come, let us adore him.


Worship, glory, praise and honor
To our God, high-throned above:
We, with many generations
Join to praise thy name of love.
In the scriptures, by the Spirit,
May we see the Savior’s face,
Hear his word and heed his calling,
Know his will and grow in grace.

Psalm 9B (10)

The Lord will protect the rights of the oppressed.

With what purpose, Lord, do you stay away,
hide yourself in time of need and trouble?
The wicked in their pride persecute the weak,
trap them in the plots they have devised.
The sinner glories in his desires,
the miser congratulates himself.
The sinner in his arrogance rejects the Lord:
“there is no God, no retribution.”
This is what he thinks
– and all goes well for him.
Your judgements are far beyond his comprehension:
he despises all who stand against him.
The sinner says to himself: “I will stand firm;
nothing can touch me, from generation to generation.”
His mouth is full of malice and deceit,
under his tongue hide trouble and distress.
He lies in ambush by the villages,
he kills the innocent in some secret place.
He watches the weak,
he hides like a lion in its lair, and makes plans.
He plans to rob the weak,
lure him to his trap and rob him.
He rushes in, makes a dive,
and the poor victim is caught.
For he has said to himself, “God has forgotten.
He is not watching, he will never see.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord will protect the rights of the oppressed.

Psalm 9B (10)

Lord, you have seen our trouble and our sorrow.

Rise up, Lord, raise your hand!
Do not forget the weak.
Why does the wicked man spurn God?
Because he says to himself, “you will not take revenge.”
But you do see: you see the trouble and the pain,
and then you take things into your own hands.
The weak fall to your care,
and you are the help of the orphan.
Break the arms of the sinner and evil-doer:
seek out wickedness until there is no more to be found.
The Lord is King for ever and for ever.
The Gentiles have perished from his land.
You have heard the prayer of the weak, Lord,
and you will strengthen their hearts.
You will lend your ear to the pleas of the orphans and the helpless,
so mere mortals can frighten them no longer.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, you have seen our trouble and our sorrow.

Psalm 11 (12)
A prayer against the proud

The words of the Lord are words without alloy,
silver from the furnace, seven times refined.

Save me, Lord, for the good men are all gone:
there is no-one to be trusted among the sons of men.
Neighbor speaks falsehood to neighbor:
with lying lips and crooked hearts they speak.
Let the Lord condemn all lying lips,
all boastful tongues.
They say “Our tongues will make us great,
our lips are ours, we have no master.”
“On account of the sufferings of the poor,
the groans of the weak, I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will bring to safety the one whom men despise.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
silver tried by fire, freed from dross,
silver seven times refined.
You, Lord, will help us
and guard us from now to all eternity –
while the wicked walk round outside,
where the vilest are most honored of the children of men.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The words of the Lord are words without alloy,
silver from the furnace, seven times refined.

The Lord will guide the humble on the right path.
– He will teach his ways to the meek.

First Reading
Jeremiah 1:1-19

The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of a priestly family living at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. The word of the Lord was addressed to him in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign; then in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah, 
king of Judah, until the deportation of Jerusalem which occurred in the fifth month.

The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.’
I said, ‘Ah, Lord; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!’
But the Lord replied,
‘Do not say, “I am a child.”
Go now to those to whom I send you
and, say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to protect you –
it is the Lord who speaks!’
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me:
‘There! I am putting my words into your mouth.
Look, today I am setting you
over nations and over kingdoms,
to tear up and to knock down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’

The word of the Lord was addressed to me asking, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ ‘I see a branch of the Watchful Tree’ 
I answered. Then the Lord said, ‘Well seen! I too watch over my word to see it fulfilled.’
A second time the word of the Lord was spoken to me, asking, ‘What do you see?’ ‘I see a cooking pot on the boil,’ 
I answered ‘with its contents tilting from the North.’
Then the Lord said:
‘The North is where disaster is boiling over
for all who live in this land;
since I am now going to summon all the kingdoms of the North –
it is the Lord who speaks.
They are going to come, and each will set his throne
in front of the gates of Jerusalem,
all round outside its walls,
and outside all the towns of Judah.
I am going to pronounce my judgements against them
for all their wickedness; since they have abandoned me
to offer incense to other gods
and worship what their own hands have made.
‘So now brace yourself for action.
Stand up and tell them
all I command you.
Do not be dismayed at their presence,
or in their presence I will make you dismayed.
I, for my part, today will make you
into a fortified city,
a pillar of iron,
and a wall of bronze
to confront all this land:
the kings of Judah, its princes,
its priests and the country people.
They will fight against you
but shall not overcome you,
for I am with you to deliver you –
it is the Lord who speaks.’


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you.
See, I am putting my words into your mouth.

I, the Lord,
have called you to serve the cause of right,
to make, through you,
a covenant with my own people and to shed a light on the nations.
See, I am putting my words into your mouth.

Second Reading
The Confessions of St. Augustine, bishop

Let us gain eternal wisdom

Because the day when she was to leave this life was drawing near – a day known to you, though we were ignorant of it – she and I happened to be alone, through (as I believe) the mysterious workings of your will. We stood leaning against a window which looked out on a garden within the house where we were staying, at Ostia on the Tiber; for there, far from the crowds, we were recruiting our strength after the long journey, in order to prepare ourselves for our voyage overseas. We were alone, conferring very intimately. Forgetting what lay in the past, and stretching out to what was ahead, we enquired between ourselves, in the light of present truth, into what you are and what the eternal life of the saints would be like, for Eye has not seen nor ear heard nor human heart conceived it. And yet, with the mouth of our hearts wide open we panted thirstily for the celestial streams of your fountain, the fount of life which is with you.

This was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. Yet you know, O Lord, how on that very day, amid this talk of ours that seemed to make the world with all its charms grow cheap, she said, “For my part, my son, I no longer find pleasure in anything that this life holds. What I am doing here still, or why I am still here, I do not know, for worldly hope has withered away for me. One thing only there was for which I desired to linger in this life: to see you a Catholic Christian before I died. And my God has granted this to me more lavishly than I could have hoped, letting me see even you spurning earthly happiness to be his servant. What am I still doing here?”
What I replied I cannot clearly remember, because just about that time – five days later, or not much more – she took to her bed with fever. One day during her illness she lapsed into unconsciousness and for a short time was unaware of her surroundings. We all came running, but she quickly returned to her senses, and, 
gazing at me and my brother as we stood there, she asked in puzzlement, “Where was I?”

We were bewildered with grief, but she looked keenly at us and said, “You are to bury your mother here”. I was silent, holding back my tears, but my brother said something about his hope that she would not die far from home but in her own country, for that would be a happier way. On hearing this she looked anxious and her eyes rebuked him for thinking so; then she turned her gaze from him to me and said, “What silly talk!” Shortly afterwards, addressing us both, she said, “Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be”. Having made her meaning clear to us with such words as she could muster, 
she fell silent, and the pain of the disease grew worse.


Our time is growing short.
Those who enjoy life should act as though there was nothing to enjoy,
and those who deal in worldly things should not become engrossed in them.
I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

It is not the spirit of the world which we have received.
I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

Let us pray.

God our Father, comforter of the sorrowful,
you accepted Saint Monica’s offering of tears
for the conversion of her son, Augustine.
Help us, by their intercession,
to be truly contrite for our sins
so that we may receive the grace of your forgiveness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.