Collect: Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and, that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saints of the Week
Monday, August 26: St. Louis
Born in 2014, the fourth son of King Louis VIII, Louis was crowned King of France at the age of 12 (his elder brothers had all died during his childhood). He married Margaret of Provence, who bore five sons and six daughters and was his strong and loving companion. His life and reign were devoted to God — he prayed the full monastic office every day and night, heard two masses a day, and made confession every Friday. He committed himself to justice and order — outlawing private wars and usury, personally inserting himself into unjust situations. In the midst of splendor and power, he lived austerely, ascetically — it’s said that at one point, he even discussed abdicating the throne in order to become a monk. In 1239, the crown of Thorns was given to France and Louis built the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle to hold it. In 1244, after unexpectedly recovering from serious illness, Louis led a crusade to the Holy Land (the Muslims had just captured Jerusalem) for six years. At one point,he was captured by the Egyptians and while waiting for ransom negotiations, his wife delivered a son and also took command of the French forces in Louis’s place. In 1270, though so weak he could hardly mount a horse, he attempted a second crusade. He died while in Tunis; his remains were carried back to France and twenty-seven years later, Louis was canonized as a saint.
Wednesday, August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo
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.
Saturday, August 31: St. Aidan
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.
Getting to this week means that I’ve finished writing the summaries for our whole Ordo Calendar (this calendar from Whithorn Press)! It’s been a year since our first weekly guide! I’ve learned so much and am very grateful to have been able to keep this discipline throughout the whole year. I have primarily drawn from Stars in a Dark World by Fr. John Julian, as well as Celebrating the Saints, edited by Christopher Webber and Robert Atwell.