Most Holy Theotokos intercede for us!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Blessed Feast of Blessed Augustine!

St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, was born at Tagaste in North Africa (modern Tunisia) in A.D. 354. He was the son of St. Monica (August 27) and a pagan father, Patricius, who later was converted through the good counsel and example of his wife. As a young man, St. Augustine was very bright. The temptations of the world, however, led him away from the Christian upbringing of his boyhood. He traded the Orthodox faith for the teaching of heretics and corrupted his soul and body through debauchery and impurity. St. Monica's love and concern for her son led her to spend hours in tearful, whole-hearted prayer to God that he might repent. The grace of God, the love of his mother, and the teaching of St. Ambrose of Milan (December 7) brought Blessed Augustine to a life of repentance, purity, and Orthodox faith. He was baptized by St. Ambrose and then consecrated Bishop of Hippo, going on to become a Universal Teacher and Father of the Church. He was a bishop for 36 years and wrote many books, becoming perhaps the most prolific of the Fathers. He is especially known and loved for his "Confessions," an autobiography of his early years and conversion. He also was a defender of the Orthodox Faith, most notably against the heresy of Pelagianism which denied the active role of God's grace in human salvation. This most blessed teacher and friend of God died in A.D. 430. May his blessing be with us all and may he pray that all of us enter the kingdom of God. Amen.

Collect for Blessed Augustine of Hippo
"O almighty God, hearken to our supplications, and by the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, graciously grant the effect of Thy wonted mercy to those who hope in Thy lovingkindness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God unto the ages of ages. Amen" [from "The Monastic Diurnal."]

A Prayer to St. Augustine of Africa
"O noblest of the teachers of the Church of God, and mightiest pillar of faith, and reverend light of the world, and wondrous pattern of virtue, Augustine, commend to Christ God in my behalf the supplications which I now offer to thee, and commending them, defend me at all times with Thy fatherly tenderness. By thy holy intercession, confirm me in good deeds; protect me from every enemy; make me steadfast in faith; strengthen me in hope, edify me in holy charity. By thine intercession, drive far from me all which is evil, and add to me that which is expedient for me. And after my flesh's passing, commend my spirit unto God, that through thee, O holiest Confessor, I may attain to eternal life. Amen."
[from "Orthodox Prayers of Old England."]

For those wishing to read more about Blessed Augustine, I suggest the book "Augustine and His World," by Andrew Knowles and Pachomios Penkett. It is short and full of color illustrations and photoraphs, explaining not only St. Augustine's life, but also the context of his life--Roman North Africa, Pelagianism, curch history, local economy, etc.

St. Augustine on Spiritual Struggle
"Sometimes You cause me to enter into an extraordinary depth of feeling marked by a strange sweetness. If it were brought to perfection in me, it would be an experience quite beyond anything in this life. But I fall back into my usual ways under my miserable burdens. I am reabsorbed by my habitual practices. I am held in their grip. I weep profusely, but still I am held. Such is the strength of the burden of habit. Here I have the power to be, but do not wish it. There I wish to be, but lack the power. On both grounds I am in misery." [Confessions 10.40.65]

St. Augustine on Christ's Incarnation
"Man's maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother's breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die." [Sermons 191.1]

St. Augustine on Charity
"Those who have need of others must not be abandoned by those whom they need." [Letters 228.2]

A very blessed feast to all!


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Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast born the Savior of our souls.