After taking a long break, we’re going to start a weekly post that gives a brief look at upcoming saints and feast days, in addition to relevant posts from our archives. We’ll post links that will give you plenty of time to prepare for upcoming major feast days. We’ll keep revising this basic template as needed and welcome feedback as to what you think it should include!
Collect: Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Saints and Feasts of the Week:
August 27: Monica, mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
We celebrate Monica, the mother of Augustine, the day before we remember her son. Monica lived from 322-387. Married to an unbeliever named Patricius (who eventually converted at the end of his life), Monica is known for her faithfulness in suffering (specifically her husband’s adultery and son’s waywardness) and her prayers and strivings for her children to love Christ. Augustine recognized “My mother placed great hope in [God],” and she “was in greater labor to ensure my salvation than she had been at my birth.”
August 28: Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher of the Faith, 430
Augustine lived from 354-430. He is one of the most important figures of the faith, most notably writing the Confessions and City of God. The child of a believer and an unbeliever, Augustine was trained as an orator and rhetorician.. Before converting to Christianity, he was a Manichaeist (rejecting all knowledge that doesn’t come explicitly through reason and accepting a dualist reality). One day while walking in a garden, he heard a child’s voice say “Tolle, Lege,” which means “Take up and read.” He took this as a word from the Lord to read the Bible and he was immediately struck by Paul’s words in Romans 12 through 15, which describes a Christian’s transformed life. He was baptized by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, at the Easter Vigil in 387. From that point on, he turned his immense intellect and ardor to the Christian tradition, using his rhetorical skill in service to God. He became the bishop of Hippo and died in 430 AD, while the Vandals besieged his city.
August 29: The Beheading of John the Baptist
The beheading of John the Baptist is recorded in Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-27; and Luke 9:9. Herod had imprisoned John after John had publicly denounced Herod for divorcing his wife and unlawfully taking up with Herodias, his brother’s wife. During a party, Herodias’s daughter danced and pleased Herod. When he asked her what she would wish, she diplomatically asked according to her mother’s wishes for John’s head on a platter. Though Herod didn’t want to, he beheaded John– the “Elijah who was to come” and the “greatest of those born to women.”
August 30: John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688
John Bunyan lived from 1628-1688. He is known for writing the spiritual allegory Pilgrim’s Progress while imprisoned for 12 years for being a nonconformist preacher.
August 31: Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Born in Iona in Ireland, Aidan was a monk known for bringing the Gospel to Northumbria. Most of what we know of his life is from the historian Bede who said:
“He was one to traverse both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity; and wherever in his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if infidels, to embrace the mystery of the faith or if they were believers, to strengthen them in the faith, and to stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works. … This [the reading of scriptures and psalms, and meditation upon holy truths] was the daily employment of himself and all that were with him, wheresoever they went; and if it happened, which was but seldom, that he was invited to eat with the king, he went with one or two clerks, and having taken a small repast, made haste to be gone with them, either to read or write. At that time, many religious men and women, stirred up by his example, adopted the custom of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, till the ninth hour, throughout the year, except during the fifty days after Easter. He never gave money to the powerful men of the world, but only meat, if he happened to entertain them; and, on the contrary, whatsoever gifts of money he received from the rich, he either distributed them, as has been said, to the use of the poor, or bestowed them in ransoming such as had been wrong fully sold for slaves. Moreover, he afterwards made many of those he had ransomed his disciples, and after having taught and instructed them, advanced them to the order of priesthood.”
He founded a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne which became known as Lindisfarne Priory. He became the bishop there and died in 651, after becoming ill on a missionary journey. He died leaning against the wall of the local church.
Homely Links (from the Archives)
We actually have very few August posts, but 2 years ago, Amanda reflected on her experience with The Churching of Women after Childbirth
As modern culture does away with all forms of ceremony, I think we individuals feel increasingly isolated and cut off from anything beyond ourselves. But when an individual woman takes part in the Churching of Women, she finds herself kneeling in the same position as the many mothers who have gone before her. She finds herself taking the same posture as Mary herself, who could declare, “I am the Lord’s handmaiden, may it be to me as you have said.” When she may not know what to say – overwhelmed with post-partum hormones, sleep deprivation, joy, and often frustration – she is given living and fitting words that can bring shape to her soul.