In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
OPENING PRAYER TO SAINTS MONICA AND AUGUSTINE
(For the conversion and sanctification of ourselves and our loved ones)
Lord our God, ever merciful to all who hope in you, you adorned your servant Monica with the priceless gift of reconciling her husband and children to you; you listened to her fervent and continuous prayers calling Saint Augustine from the ways of error to serve you in holiness, making of him a sign in the world of the power of the grace of Christ and of the intercession of the saints on our behalf; renew, O Lord, in your Church and in our hearts the spirit you gave to Saint Augustine and Saint Monica; grant that in our thirst for true wisdom we and our loved ones may never cease to search for you, and may our hearts rest united in you, the living fountain of unending love. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
A SHORT MEDITATION ON THE LIVES OF SAINTS MONICA AND AUGUSTINE
(PART 9: ST. AUGUSTINE)
Augustine’s last days, death, canonization, legacies, etc.
Augustine devoted his final days to prayer and repentance as he battled illness and watched his home, Hippo, besieged by Germanic invaders. His days and nights were spent praying the penitential psalms, which he asked to have written on the wall of his room. He died on August 28th, as the city of Hippo was being sacked by the Vandals. Shortly after his death in AD 430, the city was burnt to the ground by its attackers, who, nonetheless, left Augustine’s library unharmed. His body was laid to rest in Hippo, but was later taken to Sardinia for safekeeping, and finally to Pavia in Northern Italy, where it now rests in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro. He was subsequently canonized and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1298. He continues to serve as the patron saint of printers, brewers, and theologians.
St. Augustine is one of the greatest and most influential Church Fathers. His writings have shaped both Catholic and Protestant theology and his greatest work The Confessions is one of the most widely translated, published, and read books after the Bible.
Having journeyed for nine days through this novena, we shall consider twelve (12) factual statements on St. Augustine as a summary of all we have read so far:
1. St. Augustine was an African – He was born in A.D. 354 in Thagaste, Numidia (modern-day Souk Ahras, Algeria) into an upper-class family, and Latin seems to have been his first language.
2. St. Augustine’s words are quoted in St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings on nearly every page.
3. St. Augustine participated in what St. Paul delicately calls “youthful passions” (2 Timothy 2:22) – When he was 19, he began a long-term affair with a woman. We do not know her name, because Augustine deliberately did not record it, perhaps out of concern for her reputation. She bore him a son, who was named Adeodatus (Latin, “By God Given” or, more colloquially, “Gift of God”). This naming indicates an awareness that, no matter how a child is conceived, and even if the parents did something very wrong, every child is a gift of God. The young Adeodatus was the pride and hope of his parents, possessing an extraordinary mental endowment just like his father, Augustine. When Augustine and Adeodatus’ mother painfully parted ways, young Adeodatus chose to remain with his father Augustine and with Monica, his grandmother.
4. His mother, St. Monica, was chiefly instrumental to his conversion through her daily and persistent prayers, tears, and physically “running after him.” She died a fulfilled woman after her son’s conversion and is currently buried in the church of St. Augustine in Rome. St. Augustine was converted to the Faith when he was thirty-two years of age
5. When Augustine had become a Christian, He was baptized, along with Adeodatus at the next Easter Vigil. St. Ambrose of Milan baptized both of them. Adeodatus was a teenager himself. Their personal and spiritual relationship was a very close one. Adeodatus for Augustine was a wonder – literally a “gift from God.” He said Adeodatus was awe-inspiring and lived a life of such purity that no one needed to doubt his eternal salvation. In the year 387 Adeodatus was present with Augustine and Monica at the port town of Ostia to await a ship back to North Africa. He witnessed the death of Monica, his grandmother. In writing about the event in Book Nine of Confessions, Augustine commented that Adeodatus had to be consoled afterward. The weeping of Adeodatus made Augustine also want to weep, but he held back his own tears until he was alone. The journey to North Africa was then postponed for over a year, which father and son spent together in Rome.
6. Adeodatus accompanied Augustine back to Thagaste, where Augustine began a lay Christian community. Adeodatus was a member of this initial community. Adeodatus appeared in the book by Augustine named De Magistro (“On the Teacher”) as an exceptionally intelligent youth aged seventeen years, and as a close friend of his father. In the year 390 Adeodatus died before reaching his eighteenth birthday. He died at the very same age Augustine had been when Adeodatus was born. The early death of Adeodatus was a number of close deaths that caused Augustine great sadness. His Confessions reveals his numerous tears on various subsequent occasions when his recalling of Adeodatus prompted Augustine to meditate upon God’s plan of salvation, and on the fickleness of human life. Following the death of Adeodatus, Augustine sold almost all his possessions and gave the money to the poor. He did, however, retain the family house, which he later turned into a monastery whose members are popularly known today as “Order of St. Augustine” (Augustinians)
7. In 391, Augustine was ordained a Priest of the diocese of Hippo (now Annaba, Algeria). Augustine did not want to be a bishop so he avoided going to towns where a bishop was needed. He founded his monastery in Hippo where Valerius was bishop but was immediately made his auxiliary bishop. He was already a bishop in the fifth year of his priesthood. As bishop, he wrote extensively (in fact, he wrote prodigiously), and the value of his writings was such that he became a Church Father.
8. Augustine spent his life fighting the great heresies of the Manicheans, Pelagians, Arians, and Donatists. His challenge of Pelagius on the doctrine of grace accorded him the title: “Doctor of grace.”
9. Augustine is said to have numbered the Ten Commandments (Decalogue) the way we have it today in the Catholic Church (cf. CCC #2066). It was without division prior to the time of Augustine. St. Augustine also worked with St. Jerome on the New Testament Vulgate, and he was largely responsible for the inclusion of Hebrews and Revelation into the Bible.
10. Augustine was the first theologian to say that men and women were both equal and made in the image of God. Augustine taught in North Africa, Rome, and Milan. He published nearly five million words before the printing press.
11. Augustine passed to his heavenly reward on August 28, 430 (hence his feast day of Aug. 28). After his death, he was canonized by popular acclaim – “Vox Populi” (Voice of the People), as the custom of papal canonization had not yet arisen.
12. Together with saints Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and Jerome, Augustine was one of the original four doctors of the Church. He was proclaimed a doctor by Pope Boniface VII in 1298. He was named a doctor because of the extraordinarily high value of his writings, which include major theological, philosophical, and spiritual works. Among his most famous works are:
- The Confessions (his spiritual autobiography)
- The City of God
- On Christian Doctrine
- Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love
This is just a tiny selection of what he wrote though… This saintly genius could not stop writing!
Silent Prayer and Reflection…
EVERYDAY PRAYER TO SAINTS MONICA AND AUGUSTINE
Dear Saint Monica, troubled wife and mother, you endured many sorrows, difficulties, and humiliations. However, you never despaired or lost faith. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord.
Today we pray for those who are ready to come home and just need to be invited. May the Holy Spirit open our hearts and eyes to them that we may be the inviting and welcoming presence they seek.
Dear St Monica, troubled wife, and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. Yet you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea for (mention your petition here).
And grant me the grace to accept his will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
O holy Saint Augustine, who has famously declared that “Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.”, aid me in my own search for our Lord that through your intercession I may be granted the wisdom to determine the purpose God has planned for me. Pray that I be blessed with the courage to follow God’s will even at times when I do not understand. Ask our Lord to lead me to a life worthy of His love, that I may one day share the riches of His kingdom. Petition our Lord and Savior to ease the burden of my problems and grant my special intention, and I will honor you all of my days.
Beloved Saint Augustine the miracles you have performed for the greater glory of God have caused people to seek your intercession for their most pressing concerns. Hear my cries as I invoke your name to petition God for an increased faith and to aid me in my present distress. (State the nature of your problem or the special favour you seek)
Glorious Saint Augustine I boldly ask for your intercession confident in your boundless wisdom and compassion. May this devotion lead me to a life dedicated to fulfilling the will of God that I may one day be deemed worthy of sharing His Kingdom with you and all the saints for all eternity.
- Lord, you gave Saint Monica the strength to overcome the difficulties of her marriage, help all spouses who experience trouble in their marriage to be a consolation to one another.
- Lord, you comforted Saint Monica in her prayer for the conversion of her son, help us not to despair in times of trial, and to place all our hope in you.
- Lord, you granted Saint Monica the grace of bringing her husband and her son to you, may all wives and mothers be instruments of your love in their families, so that they know how to lead their husbands and children to you.
- Lord, through a true conversion of heart you led Saint Augustine out of the depths of sin to your love, come to our heart, so that we will forget our sins and we will be embraced by you, our one and only good.
- Lord, you inflamed the hearts of Saint Monica and her son Saint Augustine so that they would aspire to heavenly things, may we also long for the supreme source of life.
Full of confidence we pray to our heavenly Father in the words Christ taught us. Our Father… Hail Mary (X3)… Glory be…
PRAYER OF PETITION
Blessed Saint Monica, please add your prayers to all those mothers who are concerned and worried about their children, especially those who have turned away from Christ and His Church. Take them under your protection and give them the courage to walk in the ways of the Lord despite the temptation and false values they find in today’s world. Please also, take my personal request to God for my loved ones with the same fervour and persistence with which you prayed for your own son. Amen. Blessed Saint Augustine, we entrust to your powerful intercession our hearts and those of our loved ones, so that we will all be faithful to the Love and Grace of God who invites us to conversion, to live and rest in Him, to live in the communion of love with all our brothers and sisters and to spread his love to all our neighbours. Amen.
Saint Monica and Saint Augustine, lead me to true conversion.
Saint Monica and Saint Augustine, lead me to true conversion.
Saint Monica and Saint Augustine, lead me to true conversion.
O Saint Monica, who through prayer and tears achieved the conversion of your son and your husband to God, look into my bitter heart. I pray now for this person who causes so much trouble and suffering to my heart and to my whole family… (Name the person you pray for)
Saint Monica, may your prayers join mine to move the Good God, so that He, the living and true God may make this person for whom I pray for, return to the right path. Santa Monica, let the Father in Heaven call this prodigal son back to his father’s home. Give me this joy and I will be forever grateful.
LET US PRAY
O God, comforter of the afflicted, health to those who wait on You, who mercifully accepted the pious tears of the blessed mother Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine and her husband Patricius, grant us through Your Intercession, that we may weep for our sins and find indulgence of Your grace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
St. Augustine, pray for us!
Santa Monica, intercede for us!
Through the intercession of Saints Monica and Augustine, may the Lord bless + us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Great job praying Day 9! May the good Lord hear your humble prayers
Compiled from various sources by Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?