About the Saint:
Today we honour the holy martyr and “Apostle of Germany” Saint Boniface. St. Boniface was a native of Devonshire, England. His first attempt to convert pagans having failed he went to Rome where he received the Pope’s blessing on his mission, and then set forth with the papal authority to preach to the German tribes. He thus became the apostle and first archbishop of the Germans. While engaged in his earnest work he, with other Christians, suffered martyrdom, on June 5, 755.
Collect of the Day:
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to call a multitude of peoples to the knowledge of Thy name by means of the zeal of blessed Boniface, Thy martyr and bishop, mercifully grant that, as we venerate his festival, we may experience the benefits of his protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
Forever and ever.
The First Reading: The Acts of the Apostles: 26:19-23: Christ will proclaim light to the people and to the whole world.
The Gospel: John: 10:11-16: The Good Shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.
A letter by St Boniface
The careful shepherd watches over Christ’s flock
In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.
The ancient fathers showed us how we should carry out this duty: Clement, Cornelius and many others in the city of Rome, Cyprian at Carthage, Athanasius at Alexandria. They all lived under emperors who were pagans; they all steered Christ’s ship – or rather his most dear spouse, the Church. This they did by teaching and defending her, by their labours and sufferings, even to the shedding of blood.
I am terrified when I think of all this. Fear and trembling came upon me and the darkness of my sins almost covered me. I would gladly give up the task of guiding the Church which I have accepted if I could find such an action warranted by the example of the fathers or by holy Scripture.
Since this is the case, and since the truth can be assaulted but never defeated or falsified, with our tired mind let us turn to the words of Solomon: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own prudence. Think on him in all your ways, and he will guide your steps. In another place he says: The name of the Lord is an impregnable tower. The just man seeks refuge in it and he will be saved.
Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.
Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful and he tells us: My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, let us die for the holy laws of our fathers, so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them.
Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead let us be careful shepherds watching over Christ’s flock. Let us preach the whole of God’s plan to the powerful and to the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season, as Saint Gregory writes in his book of Pastoral Instruction.
Sanctified, O Lord, by Thy saving mysteries, we beseech Thee that the loving prayer of St. Boniface, Thy martyr and bishop, by whose patronage Thou hast given us to be governed, may never be wanting. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
world without end.