S. Augustine of Hippo| S. Hermes| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Augustine of Hippo
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).
Augustine is still acclaimed and condemned in our day. He is a prophet for today, trumpeting the need to scrap escapisms and stand face-to-face with personal responsibility and dignity.
“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions).
Patron Saint of:
Today in the Latin Calendar we also commemorate S. Hermes, Martyr. A story about this commemoration can be found below.
Martyr, Bishop of Salano (Spalato) in Dalmatia. Very little is known about him; in Romans 16:14, St. Paul says: “Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren that are with them.” This last name is supposed by many to refer to the subject of his article, who is also said to have succeeded Titus as Bishop of Dalmatia, and to have been martyred. A passing mention is made of a Hermas in the Acta SS. Bolland., April 8, under Herodion; and Pape (Scottish variance for Pope) says he was one of the seventy-two disciples of Our Lord. Hermes was a very common name among slaves. Migne (P.G., 4 November) says he was one of the seventy disciples, along with Patrobas, Linus, Gaius and Philologus; and Canisius talks of a “Hermæus presbyter” . . . who converted many from idols to Christ, suffered for his faith with Nicander, Bishop of Myra, and was “lacerated and hanged.”
Some of his relics were given to Spoleto by Gregory the Great. Other relics went to Lothair I by Pope Leo IV; Lothair brought them first to Cornelismünster, near Aachen. The relics later came to Ronse in the 9th century. During those times, Viking raids forced the monks to flee the town more than once, and the monastery was burnt by the Normans in 880. The relics were recovered in 940 and housed in a Romanesque-style crypt in 1083. The church of Saint Hermes, which was later built on top of the crypt, was consecrated in 1129. A pilgrimage in honour of the saint, who had by then be known to cure mental illnesses, sustained the local economy. There is still a French saying today which translates as “Saint Hermes cures the area’s madmen but keeps the Ronse dwellers as they are”.
In past centuries, St. Elmo’s Fire was sometimes called “St. Hermes’ Fire.”
Four Little Words:
“Thy will be done.” What a comfort those four little words are to my soul. I have repeated them until they are softened to the sweetest harmony. We are in darkness, and must be thankful that our knowledge is not needed to perfect thy work. —St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
As soon as we are aware of becoming discouraged, we must revive our faith and abandon ourselves in the arms of the divine Father, who is always ready to receive us-- always, that is, if we go to Him sincerely.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Four: 237-262
We continue to the fourth notebook that Saint Faustina filled with reflections and revelations from Jesus. As we enter into this notebook, allow yourself to seek God in the silence. This chapter begins with Saint Faustina revealing that she was experiencing a “dark night” (Diary #1235). She lacked the sensory feelings of closeness to God. By analogy, it would be as if you were in a dark room filled with treasures and someone told you that all the treasures of this room were yours. You could not see them but you trusted the person who spoke about all that was around you. Knowledge of these treasures filled your mind even though the darkness hid them from your eyes.
So it is with God. Saint Faustina loved our Lord with all her heart and with every beat of her heart. She knew His closeness and love. But it appears that she could not sense this through her human senses. This gift of darkness allowed her to enter into a relationship with God on a spiritual level far deeper.
Seek this depth of relationship with God as you read through this chapter. Move beyond a desire to feel close to God and allow yourself to become close to God. He wants to enter your heart on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. Be open to the newness of a relationship shrouded in darkness and allow the Lord to communicate His Mercy to you on this new level of love.
Reflection 240: Sweetness or Bitterness in Life?
Which do you prefer for your life? Daily sensory experiences of sweetness or bitterness? In other words, do you desire to take delight in the many aspects of your daily life or do you desire that the daily duty you fulfill leaves you with a certain bitterness within your senses? For most people the answer is simple. “Sweetness” is much better. But is it? Interestingly, the experience of sweetness or bitterness in life is not a good guide toward a life of holiness. At times, even sin can taste “sweet” to us while acts of holiness can be “bitter” at first. Understanding this will allow us to move deeper into our embrace of the Will of God. Our goal must be to seek His Will purely for the sake of His Will. We must have no preference regarding the delight or suffering that comes as a result of embracing His Will. If God’s Will requires great sacrifice, leaving us with a sensory experience of suffering, then so be it. If His Will draws us to an exchange of love that leaves us with a sweet delight, then so be it. Though it is hard to arrive at a level of total detachment, we must strive for it. His Will and His Will alone must be our focus. In His Will alone do we discover His abundance of Mercy (See Diary #1245).
Reflect upon the difference between God’s Will and the delight or distaste you feel from embracing it. When His Will calls you to sacrifice, you will find it to be a sort of “bitter” experience. Bitter in the sense that it may challenge your senses. Do not worry about this. Seek His Will in all things and the joy in your heart will ultimately overshadow all other immediate experiences you have. His Will opens the door to His abundant Mercy.
Lord, I seek Your most holy Will about all things. Help me to choose Your Will no matter how difficult or how delightful it may be. Purify me, dear Lord, and give me a single focus in life so that my embrace of all You call me to do will bring forth Your perfect Mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.