Daily Reflection May 27 2008: Saint Augustine of Canterbury

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Collect of the Day:

O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Your Confessor and Bishop, did vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith; grant that, through his intercession, the hearts of those that have gone astray may return to the unity of Your truth, and that we may be of one mind in doing Your will. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one world without end. Amen.

About the Saint:

Saint Augustine of Canterbury also known as Saint Augustine the Less to distinguish him from his illustrious namesake from Hippo. Augustine was chosen by Pope Gregory the Great as leader of the mission sent from Rome for the evangelization of the English. He landed in the Isle of Thanet in the Spring of AD 597 and, within a year, Aethelbert, King of Kent, was baptised with several thousand of his subjects.

The foundation of Canterbury Cathedral was laid five years later, supposedly, on the site of an old Roman Church. Augustine was consecrated by Vergilius, Archbishop of Arles and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

The alienation between the British Church and the Italian missionaries might have been averted had Augustine recognised the consideration that was due to the Church which had existed in Britain for three centuries, and had been more tolerant of the diversity between British and Roman usage.

He had laid the foundation stone of the Monastery of St. Peter & St. Paul outside Canterbury, later known as St. Augustine’s, in the year of his arrival and here he was buried. He died on 26th May, traditionally in AD 604, but possibly as late as 609.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: I Thessalonians: 2:2-8: We were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well.

The Gospel: Matthew: 9:35-37: The harvest is rich but the labourers are few.

In today’s Gospel we are told:

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. “(Matt 9:35-37).

We are shown here that Jesus had compassion for the people he saw as He went about from village to village, for the people that He met through His normal daily living as well as His ministry. He likened them to sheep without a shepherd, a helpless and harassed people. He then went on to say the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Today I still see a multitude of people that are shepherdless, harassed and helpless. Why is this so? There are many who profess to be Christian. So then again why are the workers so few? I believe it is time to put our money where our mouths are so to speak if we believe, St. James tells us that our Faith should be evident through our works. St. Peter tells us that we should always be ready to give cause for the joy that is within us, but are we? Or do we always leave it to someone else?

I have written numerous times on this site that Christianity is not a solo affair rather corporate. As St. Augustine of Hippo tells us, I do not want to be saved without YOU!!! (my emphasis). Last week I saw some actions of “Christians” that I through my secular job come into contact with, stunned me to the bone. They were spreading malicious gossip, and wishing violence on some co workers. They belong to a Mega-Church that preaches the once saved always saved doctrine, so perhaps they do not think it matters what you do after you have said the Sinners Prayer.

I do not judge or condemn these folk, rather pray for their conversion, although it opened my eyes to the fact as Christians we represent Christ, and our actions reflect on Him. Remember as Our Blessed Lord told us:

“Not everyone who keeps saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matt 7:21).

So in which camp do you want to be, the SHEEP or the GOATS? Because as Christ said you cannot serve two masters; the world and the kingdom. We as Christians must face the fact that some of our own actions like those mentioned above maybe have kept people in the dark, or have made people label all Christians as hypocrites. So it is time to let our lives shine forth and match our words, and shine forth as a beacon of peace to those whom we meet who are hapless and harassed, so one day we might hear these most comforting words:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Msgr. Ian+

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