A Prayer Composed by St. Augustine,
and Recommended to the Devotion of all Catholics by Urban VIII

Before thy eyes, O Lord, we bring our sins, and with them compare the stripes we have received. If we weigh the evil we have done, we find what we suffer to be much less than what we deserve. "What we have committed far outweighs what we endure. We feel the punishment of sin, and yet we turn not from our willfulness in sinning. Our weakness faints under Thy scourges; but our perverseness is still the same. Our diseased mind is racked with pain, and our neck is as stiff as ever. Our life is spent in sighs and grief; but in our actions we are not reformed. If Thou expect our amendment, we grow no better; if Thou take revenge, we are not able to subsist. When we are chastised, we acknowledge what we have done; but when thy visitation is over, we forget what we have wept for. If Thou stretch out Thy hand, we promise duty; if Thou suspend Thy sword, we keep not our promise. If Thou strike, we cry for pardon; and if Thou pardon, we provoke Thee again to strike. Here, O Lord, are criminals confessing their guilt; we know that unless Thou forgive Thou mayst justly destroy us. Grant, without our merit, what we ask, O Almighty Father, Who out of nothing didst create us to ask Thee, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Anthem. We wait in expectation of our Saviour's coming, Who will reform our frail bodies according to the model of his glorious Body.

V. Behold, the God of heaven is our Redeemer.
R. In Him, without fear, we will put our trust.

Let us pray:



Almighty God, who, for the redemption of mankind, didst send Thy only Son to take our flesh, and suffer death on the cross, we humbly pray that as our Saviour has left us here the example of His patience, He may vouchsafe to make us hereafter partakers of his glory, Who liveth and reigneth one God, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen.



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Novena to St. Augustine

O Glorious St. Augustine, our dear holy father, vouchsafe me your blessing; look down upon me with compassion, and obtain for me to be a worthy child of yours. Let me say with a love like that with which your seraphic heart burned for Jesus: "Too late have I known Thee, too late have I loved Thee," so that I may repair my past sinful life by the most ardent, generous love for my divine Spouse, "for many sins are forgiven those who love much." Ask for me a share in your profound humility, that I may ever be little and humble in my own eyes, preferring to be made little account of, in order to resemble Him, Who underwent such deep humiliations for the love of me. Obtain also for me, my beloved holy father, an unbounded courage and confidence, and that the sight of my faults may humble, but not deject me. Make me unchangeably patient and kind to all; at the hour of death may you own me for your child, and may I, in your dear company, praise almighty God for all eternity. Amen.



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Rosary of St. Augustine and St. Monica

As explained in Part III., this little Rosary bears partial indulgences of 200 days on every bead (Bened. XIII., Feb. 29, 1728): hence a total of over fourteen years each time it is recited. But the following prayers, by "way of meditation, on the Twelve Articles of the Creed, are not necessary as a condition. The mere recital of the thirteen Paters and Aves, concluded with a Hail, Holy Queen, are all that is necessary.



Under the Invocation of Our Blessed Lady, Mother of Consolation.


Let us recite thirteen "Our Fathers" and thirteen "Hail Marys" in remembrance and veneration of our Lord Jesus Christ and the twelve Apostles who composed the Creed, epitomizing in it the principal mysteries of our Holy Faith; and that our prayers maybe acceptable, let us implore the assistance of Holy Mary, Mother of Consolation, of our Holy Father Augustine, and St. Monica our Mother.

Direct, we beseech thee, O Lord, our actions by thy holy inspirations, and carry them on by thy gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from thee, and by thee be happily ended, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


1ST ART. I believe in God, the Father Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.--Let us consider how Almighty God created from nothing heaven and earth and all things. --Most holy Virgin, assist us to despise the vanities of earth, that we may obtain the everlasting rewards of heaven. Pater, Ave.

2ND ART. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.--Let us consider that Jesus Christ our Lord is the true and only Son of the Eternal Father.--Most holy Virgin, help us to believe and hope in Him, and love Him with all our hearts, because He alone is the true Saviour of the world. Pater, Ave.

3RD ART. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.--Let us consider that Jesus is the true Son of Mary ever Virgin: she conceived Him in her most chaste womb by the operation of the Holy Ghost, and brought Him forth without injury to her immaculate purity.--Most glorious Virgin, help us to recover and preserve the divine grace, that, as you are the natural mother, so we may be the adopted children of God. Pater, Ave.

4TH ART. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.--Let us consider the passion, death, and burial of our crucified Redeemer, tenderly compassionating Him in our hearts.--Most afflicted Mother, obtain for us, that the wounds of our Blessed Lord may be always deeply impressed on our hearts. Pater, Ave.

5TH ART. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead.--Let us consider that the soul of Jesus descended into Limbo to liberate the Holy Fathers, with whom He arose glorious the third day after His death.--O holy Virgin, consoled in seeing your Divine Son arisen, assist us to arise from sin to a new life of grace and glory. Pater, Ave.

6TH ART. He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.--Let us consider that Jesus, forty days after his resurrection, blessed his Holy Mother, apostles, and disciples, and the faithful, who followed Him to Mount Olivet, in whose presence He ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of his Divine Father.--O Blessed Virgin, assist us to humble ourselves and bear our cross here, that we may be afterwards exalted and enjoy eternal glory in heaven. Pater, Ave.

7TH ART. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.--Let us consider that Jesus Christ will descend from heaven to the Valley of Josaphat to judge the whole human race on the last day.--Holy Mary, advocate of sinners, assist us, that being faithful during life, we may be at the right hand of God with the elect on that dreadful day. Pater, Ave.

8TH ART. I believe in the Holy Ghost.--Let us consider the most profound mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and with an act of lively faith let us believe that, as the Divine Son was generated from eternity by the Father, so the Holy Ghost in like manner proceeds from eternity, from the Father and the Son, and is with them one God.--Most pure Virgin, obtain for us from your Divine Spouse, an ardent charity, that our hearts, cleansed from all terrene affections, may burn always with the fire of divine love. Pater, Ave.

9TH ART. The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints.--Let us consider that God, through his infinite goodness, without any merit of ours, caused us to be born and brought up in the bosom of the Catholic Church, in which we participate of the infinite merits of Christ and the saints.--Most pious Virgin, assist us to thank Him for so great a favour, and to be ready, if necessary, to shed our blood to confess the truth of our holy faith. Pater, Ave.

10TH ART. The forgiveness of sins.--Let us consider that the Divine Goodness is infinitely greater than our wickedness, and that God can remit the faults which we miserable sinners commit.--Most pure Virgin, obtain for us true contrition both now and at the hour of our death, that, reconciled with God, we may afterwards feel the happy effects of the divine mercy. Pater, Ave.

11TH ART. The resurrection of the body.--Let us consider that on the day of general judgment we shall all rise again, each receiving his own body.--O immaculate Virgin, may thy holy Cincture preserve us from carnal impurities, that we may all appear spotless and unsullied on that glorious day. Pater, Ave.

12TH ART. Life everlasting.--Let us consider the ultimate end of man, namely, the everlasting life prepared by God for His faithful servants.--Most prudent Virgin, assist us to make a good use of our time now, that we may obtain hereafter the eternal joys of the blessed in heaven. Pater, Ave.

FINALLY. Let us consider how the Holy Cincture represents the Sacred Humanity of our Divine Redeemer, who for love of us shed his most Precious Blood, and laid down His life amidst the cruel torments and mockery of His enemies.--O holy Mother of God, assist us to meditate with fruit on the Sacred Cincture which we wear, as it is a mysterious emblem of your Divine Son, our Blessed Redeemer. Pater, Ave.

Prostrate at your feet, O most Holy Mary, Mother of Consolation, we recommend to you the preservation and exaltation of the Holy Catholic Church, the extirpation of heresies, peace among Christian rulers and all the faithful, and, above all, the conversion of poor sinners, and the relief of the suffering souls in Purgatory.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy; Our life, our sweetness, and our hope, To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thy eyes of mercy towards us, And after this our exile show unto us The blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O most clement, most pious, most sweet Virgin Mary. (7 years indulgence.)


This final offering of a Pater and Ave is in honour of the Sacred Humanity of our Lord.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Consolation.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Father Augustine.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother Monica.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:



Defend, we beseech thee, O Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, of our Holy Father Augustine, and of our Holy Mother Monica, this society (or family) from all adversity, and graciously preserve it, prostrate in spirit before thee, from all the snares of our enemies.

O God, our refuge and strength, and the foundation of all goodness, mercifully hear the fervent prayers of thy Church, and grant that what we ask with faith we may effectually obtain: through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Only the above thirteen Paters and Aves, and the Hail, Holy Queen, are necessary to be entitled to all our daily indulgences.



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A Devout Prayer to Our Holy Father St. Augustine

O Glorious Father, St. Augustine, the light and oracle of the faithful, I most fervently join with the whole Church of Christ in thanking the Almighty for having chosen thee to become a peculiar object of His love, and an everlasting monument of His tender mercies. Illustrious penitent, thy admirable conversion proves to the whole world that no crimes are too great for the God of all mercies to pardon, no heart too corrupt for His love to purify, and no obstacle too strong for His grace to overcome. Penetrated with veneration for thy virtues, I choose thee for my Father, my Protector, and my Advocate. I most humbly beseech thee to have compassion on my youth, and to protect me in those dangers which thou well knowest are attendant on my inexperienced age. O blessed victim of charity, obtain that I may seriously consecrate my heart to my Creator, and faithfully observe that great commandment of charity so deeply graven on thy heart. Thou wert the son of thy mother's precious tears, the conquest of her prayers, and afterwards the faithful imitator of her virtues; obtain for me the most profound respect and tender affection for my parents, gratitude for their care, and the grace to profit of the advantages which their solicitude for my eternal welfare has provided for me. I recommend to thee in a particular manner, O great saint, all those unhappy souls who are in the dreadful state of mortal sin, and conjure thee, by the unceasing tears thou didst shed over thy own wanderings, to procure them the grace of conversion, and to obtain for me such horror of sin that I may avoid it as the only real evil, and thereby merit to behold for all eternity that uncreated Beauty who was too long hidden from my view, and eternally love that infinite Goodness Whom thou didst bitterly regret having loved too late. Amen.


Another Prayer.

We humbly supplicate and beseech thee, O thrice blessed Augustine, our glorious Father, that thou wouldst be mindful of us poor sinners this day, daily, and at the hour of our death, that by your merits and prayers, and the merits and prayers of all the saints of your holy Order, we may be delivered from all evils, as well of soul as body, and daily increase in virtue and good works; obtain for us that we may know our God and know ourselves, that in His mercy He may cause us to love Him above all things in life and death; impart to us, we beseech thee, some share of that love with which you so ardently glowed, that our hearts being all inflamed with this divine love, and happily departing out of this mortal pilgrimage, we may deserve to praise with thee the most amiable Heart of our dearest Jesus for a never ending eternity. Amen.



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Anthem for the Commemoration of St. Augustine
Salve, gemma confessorum."


Gem that glitterest 'mid the throng
Of the Lord's Confessors bright,
Thine the voice, and thine the tongue
Skilled to tell of heaven aright.

Scribe of life--profoundly tried
In the hidden depths of faith--
Shining like a lamp to guide
Holy Doctors on their path.

Sacred Pontiff, crowned with blessing,
Look on us who gather here;
All with simple love confessing
Thee our guide and Father dear.

Look on us, and lead our feet
To the life that knows no closing
Where the blessed spirits meet.
Where the saints are all reposing.



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St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876


St. Augustine, that great Doctor of the Church, who stands far above all human praise, was born at Tagaste, in Africa, in the year 354. His father, Patricius, was a heathen; his mother, Monica, a Christian, who is honored as a Saint on the 4th of May. Nature had bestowed upon Augustine the most liberal gifts, and his talents were such as to fit him for the study of all the sciences. He excelled, however, in oratory, to which he early evinced great inclination. His father had educated him in paganism, but his pious mother endeavored to convert him to Christianity. One day, when suffering excessively from cramps, and supposing that he was about to die, he desired to be baptized; but no sooner had his pains ceased than he changed his mind.

When at Carthage, where he studied rhetoric, he was seduced by the Manichees, and became an adherent to their heresy. From his own account, he spent his early youth in great frivolity, and became so great a slave to impurity, that he feared he never should be able to abstain from it. To this horrible vice he was brought, as he wrote himself, by idleness, gaming, the carelessness of his father, who was not strict enough with him, immoral plays which he frequented, and bad company. His pious mother left nothing undone to correct his conduct; she exhorted him, and punished him, but her efforts were entirely fruitless. He continued in this life of sin and shame for nine years, during which St. Monica prayed, with floods of tears, to the Almighty, for her son's salvation.

God, at length, granted her petition. Augustine began to be displeased with the Manichean heresy, as he perceived it had no foundation. His unchaste life also began to disgust him more and more, and he sought to free himself by changing his residence. He therefore left Carthage, where, after finishing the study of rhetoric, he had taught with great success; and, against the will of his mother, he went to Rome. There he became dangerously sick, and he attributed his recovery to the prayers of his mother. After having made himself famous in Rome by his eloquence, he was sent, by the Roman prefect Symmachus, to Milan, where the emperor desired to establish an able master of rhetoric.

At that period, the holy bishop St. Ambrose, resided at Milan, and was greatly celebrated on account of his holiness and eloquence. Augustine sought his acquaintance, and was often present at his discourses, although it was not from any desire to learn, but simply from curiosity. He desired to become acquainted with the style of the bishop, and to learn whether he truly deserved the great reputation he enjoyed on account of his eloquence. This curiosity, however, led him eventually to the truth; for, while he intended only to listen to the style in which the Saint expressed himself, he heard, at the same time, how well founded his teachings were, and became thoroughly convinced of the falsity of the Manichean heresy. But notwithstanding this, he could not persuade himself to accept the truth of the Catholic Church; his unchaste desires barred the way. He admired the pure life of St. Ambrose, but feared his own inability to follow such an example.

Meanwhile, St. Monica, induced by pious solicitude for her son, had come to Milan. Repairing to St. Ambrose, she made him acquainted with her son's spiritual condition, and begged him, with tearful eyes, to use all his endeavors to convert him. The holy bishop, deeply touched by the mother's devotion, consoled her with the hope that her son would surely soon come to the knowledge of the ill use he made of his life, and would reform, which opinion of the Saint was verified. Simplician, a venerable and pious monk, one day accidentally related to Augustine, whose mind was in a very unsettled state, that Victorinus, the most celebrated orator at Rome, was as old as he was at that time, when he received holy baptism. Pontician, a friend and compatriot of Augustine, told him one day, of the conversion of two imperial courtiers who, after reading the life of St. Antony, immediately reformed, left the court and retired from the world, to live as hermits in solitude.

These, and other facts considerably moved the heart of Augustine, and he began to think of changing his conduct. His reason convinced him of its necessity, but he was restrained by his evil habits. Day after day he formed the resolution to change his life, but imaginary causes withheld him, and he deferred from one time to another. One day, when he had struggled severely with himself, on the one hand, told by evil habit, that it would be impossible for him to live chastely, while on the other, the virtue of chastity pointed to so many chaste youths and maidens, men and widows, saying to him: "And are you not able to do what these and those are doing!" he wept bitterly, and walking into the garden, he sat down under a fig-tree and sighed in deep grief to God; "O Lord, how long? Tomorrow, tomorrow? Why do I not at once put an end to this miserable existence?"




When, exhausted with the sorrow within his soul, he was thus sitting there, he heard a voice saying to him; "Take up and read! take up and read!" Full of awe, he arose, took up the nearest book, and opening it, he read the words of St. Paul: "Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in chamberings and impurities, not in strife and envy, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences." It needed no more to calm the storm in Augustine's heart and end his inner strife. His mind was suddenly changed, and he determined, not only to lead a chaste life, but also to abandon heresy and unite himself to the true faith by receiving holy baptism. He immediately imparted his resolution to his pious mother, so devoted to his spiritual welfare, and to St. Ambrose, and after careful preparation, he received holy baptism, on Easter Eve, in the 33d year of his age. It is believed that the well-known hymn, "We praise Thee, O Lord! " was composed by St. Ambrose and the newly baptized Augustine, and that it was sung on this occasion for the first time, to give thanks to the Almighty for the grace conferred.

The joy of St. Ambrose and of St. Monica, at this conversion, can better be imagined than described. I will only say this; as the pious mother had shed floods of tears, in the bitterness of her sorrow, so she wept tears of joy, when at last the event took place to which she had so long looked forward. Soon after St. Augustine had been baptized, he desired to return to his home, to live only for his salvation. He set out accompanied by his holy mother, who, when they had reached Ostia, became sick and ended her holy life by a happy death. Augustine, after having remained a short time at Rome, continued his voyage and arrived in Africa. He retired to his house in the country and lived there for three years, in solitude and continual prayer, fasting and other penances, and in contemplating the divine mysteries and reading the word of God.

A nobleman requested him to go to Hippo, and as it seemed to Augustine to be for a good and holy purpose, he complied. Having been there for some time, he was ordained priest by bishop Valerius, who was well acquainted with his virtue and great knowledge. After his ordination, which, in his deep humility, he long opposed, he founded a monastery and commenced to live a religious life with several other learned men. He wrote rules for them and thus made the beginning of the "Order of St. Augustine" afterwards so highly celebrated in the Church of Christ. After he had thus spent four years, bishop Valerius ordered him to preach the Gospel, which, at that remote period, was done only by bishops. Incredible is the good which the holy man did by his sermons, and the esteem which he gained. In consideration of this, Valerius, with the consent of the other bishops, and to the great rejoicing of all Catholics, consecrated St. Augustine as his Coadjutor, to assist him in the government of the Diocese, and, at his death, to be his successor.

Want of space prevents us from enlarging on all the good which St. Augustine did, as well during Valerius' life, as after his death, by abolishing many abuses; by defending the Catholic faith; by vanquishing the most bitter heretics; and especially by writing a great many books, which contain an inexhaustible treasure of erudition. Even the most learned men of that period were unable to comprehend how one man could write with such ability on so many different subjects. Hence the conclusion to which all came was, that his talents and erudition had been an especial gift of God bestowed upon him, because the Church of Christ, assailed and persecuted by so many different heresies, needed a man of such wonderful genius to protect and defend it. None of the heretics were equal to him; they all feared him as much as the Catholics loved and honored him. The fame of his great holiness and wisdom penetrated even into far off lands, and everywhere his praise resounded on account of the many and glorious victories which he won over the heretics, as well in public disputes as on all other occasions. St. Jerome, St. Paulinus, and other holy men who were then living, sought his friendship, corresponded with him, and hesitated not to ask his advice. The Sovereign Pontiffs of his time held him in great esteem, and in all the councils at which he assisted, his voice was listened to with respect and attention.

In his own eyes, he possessed no merits, and he was so far from all self-esteem, that he humbly received the advice of anyone. He publicly acknowledged and corrected several faults which had crept into his works. Still more to be admired is the fact, that he wrote a book in which he laid bare, before the whole world, all the iniquities he had committed before his conversion to the true faith, in order that the divine mercy bestowed on him might move other sinners to repentance. His income as bishop, and all presents made to him, were given to the poor. From the time of his baptism until his death, he lived in chastity, and proved that a man, although for many years a slave to vice, can, by the grace of God, break all sinful fetters. He, however, avoided carefully every occasion which might endanger his chastity, and used severe means to protect it. The habit of cursing, which he had before he was baptized, he overcame so entirely, that, during all the rest of his life, no one ever heard a curse from his lips. He hated calumny and detraction so exceedingly, that he had written the following words on the wall of his dining-room: "For him who defames the character of his neighbor, there is no place at this table." One day, it happened that a visitor began to speak ill of a neighbor. The Saint, turning to him, said : "Sir, either I must erase those words or you must change your conversation."

The great love of God, which burned in his heart, caused him unceasingly to repent of the iniquities of his past life. He therefore often exclaimed with a sorrowful heart: "Too late have I known thee; too late have I loved thee, thou Beauty ever ancient, and ever new! O unhappy time in which I did not love thee!" This repentance he continued until his death, which took place in his 76th year, to the great grief of all Catholics. Four years before he departed, he had entrusted the Episcopal functions to someone else, as he felt exhausted from his incessant labors, and thenceforth passed his time in devout exercises. During this time, Hippo was besieged by the cruel Vandals. The misery awaiting this city grieved the Saint so deeply that he prayed most fervently to the Almighty, either to save the city from the enemy, or not to let him live to see its destruction. After this prayer he was seized by a fever, which he considered as a messenger of approaching death. He received, with the most profound devotion, the holy sacraments, and having requested that the seven penitential psalms should be written out for him, he had them hung near his bed, on the wall, that in reading them he might end his life.

In his last days he desired to be left alone, that he might not be interrupted in his devotional exercises. This solitude lasted twelve days, during which he shed abundant tears in reading the penitential psalms. He said, one day: "Every Christian, how piously soever he may have lived, ought to die a penitent." With such feelings of intense love and contrition, this great and holy Doctor of the Church died, in the year of our Lord 430. His holy body was buried with great solemnity in the Cathedral, but was afterwards taken to Sardinia, and thence to Pavia, where it rests at this day, and is greatly honored and venerated. The encomiums which the most eminent men have bestowed upon this Saint are almost countless. His works, in which he still continues to live, raise the fame of his learning and virtue above all human praise.




PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.


Out of many points in the life of St. Augustine,
which are worthy of imitation, we will consider only a few.


I. St. Augustine was already thirty-three years old, when he was converted and began to serve the Almighty. Up to that time he had lived in great frivolity: but after it, in the most perfect holiness. He often wept because he had begun so late to love and serve God, and he endeavored by his zeal to atone for his neglect. You have, perhaps, passed the greater part of your life as wickedly, or even worse than St. Augustine. Endeavor then, to correct your conduct in the time which is still left to you. Repent daily with your whole heart for having begun so late to serve God, and make amends, by redoubled fervor for the time you have lost.

II. St. Augustine long deferred his conversion, but when once resolved, he earnestly did penance and continued in it and returned not again to his former life of sin. Have you not also deferred your reform long enough? Make today a heroic determination. Reform, do penance; and continue in it with firmness and constancy.

III. The incentive to the conversion of St. Augustine was the preaching of St. Ambrose, which he went to hear, and the verse of the Epistle of St. Paul, which he read. A sinner who neither goes to hear a sermon nor reads devout books, is far from conversion, far from his salvation. How is your conduct in regard to this?

IV. St. Augustine revealed to the whole world the iniquities which he had committed in his youth. Why do you hesitate to reveal your sins to a priest, in secret? The same holy teacher says: "If you lie hidden without confession," that is, if you do not confess, but hide your sins, " you will be damned without confession." Is it less terrible to be damned, than to confess your sin to a priest who can never reveal a word of it?

V. St. Augustine believed at first that it would be impossible for him to live chastely and reform his evil habits. But the example of so many Saints who lived a pure life, and afterwards his own experience taught him that it was possible; for, he confessed that what had seemed impossible had become an easy task. You will experience the same if, like St. Augustine, you commence to conquer yourself.

VI. From a hardened heretic, St. Augustine became not only a fervent Catholic, but also a teacher and protector of the true faith. The gift of the Catholic faith he prized above everything, and offered frequently to God most humble thanks for it. "There is no greater treasure," he writes, "no greater honor, no greater good, in this world, than the Catholic faith." From the period of his conversion, he was eager in his endeavors to convert the heretics from their errors, and bring them back into the pale of the true Church, both, by word of mouth, and also by his pen. His most fervent wish was, that all might be Catholics. May you esteem the gift of the Catholic faith more than you have heretofore done. Give thanks to God that He has bestowed this gift upon you. Seek, by words as well as by a truly Christian life, to convert others to the true faith. And, finally, learn from St. Augustine, how you should pass the time which God gives you, when he sends you sickness before your end. Guard yourself against frivolous and idle conversations, do not permit them at your sick bed. Use the time to repent of your iniquities. Let others read to you from a devout book, that you may constantly be occupied with good thoughts. The last days of your life are precious; use them rightly; they never return. Cease not to repent of your sins and to pray God to forgive you, until your last breath; for, the words of St. Augustine are and ever will remain true: " No Christian, however piously he may have lived, should die without repentance."




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Prayer of St. Augustine to Our Lord in His Passion and Death

O Most adorable Lord, Who for the redemption of the world didst deign to be born, to be circumcised, to be rejected by the Jews, to be betrayed by Judas with a false kiss, to be bound with cords and chains, as an innocent lamb to be led to the slaughter, to be ignominiously exposed before Annas, Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod; to be accused by false witnesses, scourged, and shamefully loaded; to be denied with spittle, crowned with thorns, beaten with blows, struck with a reed, buffeted in the face, despoiled of thy clothes, fastened with nails to a cross, and then raised upon it, and placed between two thieves; to be offered gall and vinegar to drink; and, last of all, to be pierced with a lance. Do Thou, O my Lord Jesus Christ, by the virtue of thy most holy sufferings, which Thou didst so undeservedly undergo, for the merit and in memory of thy most holy death and cross, deliver me from the pains of hell, and deign to carry me, as Thou didst the good thief who was crucified with Thee, to the kingdom of thy Father, where Thou reignest with Him and the Holy Spirit one God, world without end. Amen.



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Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.--Saint Augustine

(Indulgence of 3 years)


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Verses to St. Monica by Father Russell, S.J.


Among the sainted matrons whom we honour
With Mass and matin song,
One draws the gaze of filial love upon her
From all the throng.
Next to St. Anne, the Blessed Virgin's mother,
I prize St. Monica o'er ev'ry other.

Great is the glory of Augustine--high
His place on earth, in heaven.
But if St. Monica, with prayer and sigh,
Less hard had striven
To bring the child forth to his truer birth,
What were his fame in heaven, and e'en on earth?

His father's name to us is nothing strange--
"Patrick" but, ah! no saint.
Saint surely she, who all so soon could change,
That pagan taint--
Who wept and prayed, and suffered till she won,
Her heathen husband, her half-heathen son.

Have you not seen them sitting on the beach?
The younger face less fair--
They talk not, 'tis society for each
The other's there--
Hands interlaced, deep eyes upturned in thought:
Their hearts bless God, whose grace the change hath wrought.

Hid in her son, yet many a touching trace
In Agustine's page we find,
Which shows her like to him not more in face
Than royal mind.
Another item for the common story--
How large a mother's part in hero's glory.

St. Monica, still many a mother shares
Thy strong maternal faith.
Still sheds such bitter tears, still breathes such prayers,
To save from death
Some soul perchance from all hearts else exiled,
As vile or wicked, yet her child, her child!

Pray for the wretched mothers who this hour
Weep for the doubly dead,
Weep for the cherished wanderer, and shower
Tears on his head
Whose faults and sins would weary out all others.
Save the meek Heart of Jesus, or a mother's.

When thou hadst longer been away from earth
Than she (God rest her!) yet
Who did far more for me than give me birth,
Whose cheek was wet
With tears less bitter (God be thanked!) than thine,
Augustine asked prayers for thee--and I for mine.

Be Monicas, oh, mothers! pray and weep,
Send ceaseless sighs to heaven.
That ye for heaven and God secure may keep
Whom God has given.
Love them, but save their souls at any cost--
"The child of holy tears cannot be lost."



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Lessons of St. Augustine


Saint Augustine, Sermo ad Caesariensis Ecclesiae plebem 6:

"No man can find salvation save in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church he can find everything save salvation. He can have dignities, he can have the Sacraments, can sing 'Alleluia', answer 'Amen,' accept the Gospels have faith in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never save in the Catholic Church can he find salvation."


St. Augustine, De Spiritu et littera, lviii

But "God wills all men to be saved to come and to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy, ii, 4); not, however, so as to take away their will, for the good or bad use of which they are most justly judged. When this happens it is true that unbelievers act contrary to God's will, when thy do not believe in His Gospel; but that does not mean that they conquer God, but that they deprive themselves of the great good and involve themselves in evils as their reward, afterwards to experience in their punishment His power whose mercies they despised in His gifts."


"Sinners do not hope for the pardon of the sins of which they repent: but they hope that, though they continue to commit sin, God will have mercy upon them: and thus they make the mercy of God serve as a motive for continuing to offend Him. This hope will make God hasten the execution of His vengeance: for surely a master will not defer the punishment of servants who offend him because he is good. God is good: I will do what I please!"--St. Augustine


We can be guilty of no greater folly than to delay our preparation for death, repentance, the reception of the sacraments, and the amendment of our life, from day to day, from the time of health to the time of illness, and in illness to the very last moments, thinking that even then we can obtain pardon. St. Augustine observes: "It is very dangerous to postpone the performance of a duty on which our whole eternity depends to the most inconvenient time, the last hour."


"Let no one say to himself. I do penance to God in private. I do it before God. Is it then in vain that Christ hath said: 'Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven?' Is it in vain that the keys have been given to the Church? Do we make void the Gospel? void the words of Christ?"--St. Augustine