Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Prayer of Saint Augustine to the Blessed Virgin

O blessed Virgin Mary,
who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving,
thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world?
What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor,
since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration.
Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer,
though they be unequal to thy merits; and receiving our vows,
obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses.
Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience,
and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation.
May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee,
become pardonable through thee;
may what we ask for with sure confidence,
through thee be granted. Take our offering,
grant us our requests,
obtain pardon for what we fear,
for thou art the sole hope of sinners.
Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins,
and in thee,
O blessed Lady,
is our hope of reward.
Holy Mary, succor the miserable,
help the fainthearted,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for thy people,
plead for the clergy,
intercede for all women consecrated to God;
may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection.
Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray,
and bring back to us the answers to our prayers.
Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God,
thou who, blessed by God,
didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world,
who liveth and reigneth, world without end.



Memorial of Saint Augustine
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

1 THES 2:9-13

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and so is God,
how devoutly and justly and blamelessly
we behaved toward you believers.
As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children,
exhorting and encouraging you and insisting
that you walk in a manner worthy of the God
who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 139:7-8, 9-10, 11-12AB

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

Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.

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

If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.

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

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall hide me,
and night shall be my light”–
For you darkness itself is not dark,
and night shines as the day.

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

MT 23:27-32

Jesus said,

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”


August 28

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: 
Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. 
But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.

There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother (August 27), the instructions of Ambrose (December 7) and, most of all, 
God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. 
The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.

In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”
(repeat antiphon*)
“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
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.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Bright as fire in darkness,
Sharper than a sword,
Lives throughout the ages
God’s eternal word.
Father, Son and Spirit,
Trinity of might,
Compassed in your glory,
Give the world your light.

Psalm 17 (18)
Thanksgiving for salvation and victory

I love you, Lord, my strength.

I will love you, Lord, my strength:
Lord, you are my foundation and my refuge,
you set me free.
My God is my help: I will put my hope in him,
my protector, my sign of salvation,
the one who raises me up.
I will call on the Lord – praise be to his name –
and I will be saved from my enemies.
The waves of death flooded round me,
the torrents of Belial tossed me about,
the cords of the underworld wound round me,
death’s traps opened before me.
In my distress I called on the Lord,
I cried out to my God:
from his temple he heard my voice,
my cry to him came to his ears.

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.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Psalm 17 (18)

The Lord saved me because he loved me.

The earth moved and shook,
at the coming of his anger the roots of the mountains rocked
and were shaken.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
consuming fire came from his mouth,
from it came forth flaming coals.
He bowed down the heavens and descended,
storm clouds were at his feet.
He rode on the cherubim and flew,
he travelled on the wings of the wind.
He made dark clouds his covering;
his dwelling-place, dark waters and clouds of the air.
The cloud-masses were split by his lightnings,
hail fell, hail and coals of fire.
The Lord thundered from the heavens,
the Most High let his voice be heard,
with hail and coals of fire.
He shot his arrows and scattered them,
hurled thunderbolts and threw them into confusion.
The depths of the oceans were laid bare,
the foundations of the globe were revealed,
at the sound of your anger, O Lord,
at the onset of the gale of your wrath.
He reached from on high and took me up,
he lifted me from the many waters.
He snatched me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.
They attacked me in my time of trouble,
but the Lord was my support.
He led me to the open spaces,
he was my deliverance, for he held me in favor.

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 saved me because he loved me.

Psalm 17 (18)

You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.

The Lord rewards me according to my uprightness,
he repays me according to the purity of my hands,
for I have kept to the paths of the Lord
and have not departed wickedly from my God.
For I keep all his decrees in my sight,
and I will not reject his judgements;
I am stainless before him,
I have kept myself away from evil.
And so the Lord has rewarded me according to my uprightness,
according to the purity of my hands in his sight.
You will be holy with the holy,
kind with the kind,
with the chosen you will be chosen,
but with the crooked you will show your cunning.
For you will bring salvation to a lowly people
but make the proud ashamed.
For you light my lamp, O Lord;
my God brings light to my darkness.
For with you I will attack the enemy’s squadrons;
with my God I will leap over their wall.

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.

You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.

All were astonished by the gracious words
– that came from his lips.

First Reading
Jeremiah 2:1-13,20-25

The Lord says this:
I remember the affection of your youth,
the love of your bridal days:
you followed me through the wilderness,
through a land unsown.
Israel was sacred to the Lord,
the first-fruits of his harvest;
anyone who ate of this had to pay for it,
misfortune came to them –
it is the Lord who speaks.
Listen to the word of the Lord, House of Jacob,
and all you families of the House of Israel.
Thus says the Lord,
‘What shortcoming did your fathers find in me
that led them to desert me?
Vanity they pursued,
vanity they became.
They never said, “Where is the Lord,
who brought us out of the land of Egypt
and led us through the wilderness,
through a land arid and scored,
a land of drought and darkness,
a land where no one passes,
and no man lives?”
‘I brought you to a fertile country
to enjoy its produce and good things;
but no sooner had you entered than you defiled my land,
and made my heritage detestable.
The priests have never asked, “Where is the Lord?”
Those who administer the Law have no knowledge of me.
The shepherds have rebelled against me;
the prophets have prophesied in the name of Baal,
following things with no power in them.
‘So I must put you on trial once more
– it is the Lord who speaks –
and your children’s children too.
Now take ship for the islands of Kittim
or send to Kedar to enquire.
Take careful notice and observe
if anything like this has happened.
Does a nation change its gods?
– and these are not gods at all!
Yet my people have exchanged their Glory
for what has no power in it.
You heavens, stand aghast at this,
stand stupefied, stand utterly appalled
– it is the Lord who speaks.
Since my people have committed a double crime:
they have abandoned me,
the fountain of living water,
only to dig cisterns for themselves,
leaky cisterns
that hold no water.
‘It is long ago now since you broke your yoke,
burst your bonds
and said, “I will not serve!”
Yet on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you have lain down like a harlot.
Yet I had planted you, a choice vine,
a shoot of soundest stock.
How is it you have become a degenerate plant,
you bastard Vine?
Should you launder yourself with potash
and put in quantities of lye,
I should still detect the stain of your guilt
– it is the Lord who speaks.
How dare you say, “I am not defiled,
I have not run after the Baals?”
Look at your footprints in the Valley,
and acknowledge what you have done.
A frantic she-camel running in all directions
bolts for the desert,
snuffing the breeze in desire;
who can control her when she is on heat?
Whoever looks for her will have no trouble,
he will find her with her mate!
Beware! Your own foot may soon go unshod,
your own throat may grow dry.
But “Who cares?” you said
“For I am in love with strangers
and they are the ones I follow.”’


I planted you, a choice vine,
a shoot of soundest stock:
how is it that you have become a degenerate plant,
you poisonous vine?
The kingdom of God will be taken from you
and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

I looked to find right reason there,
and all was treason;
to find plain dealing,
and I heard only the plaint of the oppressed.
The kingdom of God will be taken from you
and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Second Reading
The Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop

O Eternal Truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, 
and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; 
but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, 
through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Late have I loved you, 
Beauty so ancient and so new, 
late have I loved you!

Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.

You were with me, but I was not with you.

They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.

You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; 
and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.


Let Truth, the Light of my heart,
speak to me,
and not the voice of my own darkness.
I wandered far away,
yet I remembered you.
See, now I return to your fountain,
with longing and a burning thirst.

I myself am not the goal of my own existence.
Left to myself, I lived in sin,
bringing death upon myself.
In you I have discovered life.
See, now I return to your fountain,
with longing and a burning thirst.

Let us pray.

Lord God, renew your Church
with the Spirit of wisdom and love
which you gave so fully to Saint Augustine.
Lead us by that same Spirit to seek you,
the only fountain of true wisdom
and the source of everlasting love.
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.