Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thursday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Monica (331-387), mother of Saint Augustine (354-430)

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 69 The Presumption of Defending Another in the Monastery
Mass: 1 Cor 1:1-9; Resp Ps 145; Mt 24:42-51

Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might.

(Mt 24:44)

In today's Gospel, Jesus said to His disciples, and now says to us: Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come (Mt 24:42). There may be a tendency for us, especially in times of distress or anguish, to respond, "Hey now, dear Jesus, it is not I who am asleep but it is you. I call on You and You do not hear. Where are you?" Let us consider what the psalmist sang at Vigils: "They say, 'The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.' Understand, you stupid people! You fools when will you be wise? Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see?" (Ps 94:7-9). Or something Saint Augustine wrote in his Confessions: "You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Let us love. Let us run." Yes, we need to hear Jesus: Stay awake! We continue to call on the Name of the Lord who made heaven and earth, while remembering: "Jesus Christ loves you; He gave His life to save you; and now He is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you" (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 164).

Saint Monica shares more than a little wisdom with us. And she had a little experience to draw from considering her husband, Patricus, who not only had a violent temper, was licentious. Monica cautions: "Guard your tongue when your husband is angry." This advice seems fitting for anyone who might encounter an angry person. We remember too the desert father, Abba Poeman: "A brother asked Abbot Poeman, 'Is it better to speak or to be silent? The old man said to him, 'The man who speaks for God's sake does well; but he who is silent for God's sake also does well.'" Saint Benedict offers these tools for good works: "You are not to act in anger" (RB 4:22), and, "If people curse you, do not curse them back but bless them instead" (RB 4:32).


Today's photo: From a 2015 visit to Ostia Antica where Saint Monica died. 15 miles SW of Rome, Italy, close to the modern city of Ostia. Saint Monica's relics are now preserved in the Church of Saint Augustine in Rome, near the Piazza Navona.

© Gertrude Feick 2020

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