Carissimi: Today’s Mass; S. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop & Confessor

staugustineofcanterburySt Augustine, Bishop & Confessor, Apostle to the Angles; Comm. S. John Pope & Martyr and St Philip Neri, Confessor (trans. May 26): Missa “Sacerdotes tui

“Your words are fair, but of doubtful meaning; I cannot forsake what I have so long believed. But as you have come from far we will not molest you; you may preach, and gain as many as you can to your religion” Greeting of King Ethelbert, Isle of Thanet, to Augustine in the Summer of 597

Details of Augustine’s life are scarce. Believed to have been a pupil of Felix, bishop of Messana, he became a monk and later Prior of St Andrew’s in Rome. He was sent by Pope Gregory to lead a party of around 30 monks to bring England (such as it was) under the influence of the Roman world. The journey was halted at one point, the monks losing their nerve and returning to Rome, before successfully landing at Ebbsfleet in 597. Received cautiously by the King of Kent, Ethelbert, Augustine managed to estbalish a community of monks based first at St Martin’s church, later transferring to the site of the present Cathedral.

Augustine struggled to establish his authority within the British Isles and did not bring to completion Gregory’s plan to form an English church based on two provinces and twelve bishops.

He died on May 26th, now remembered as his feast day, but the year of his death is uncertain, between 604 and 609. He was buried at what is now called St Augustine’s Abbey.

For Ss John I and Philip Neri, see below…

INTROIT Psalm 131: 9-10

Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice: for Thy servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of Thy anointed. V. O Lord, remember David, and all his meekness. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice…

COLLECT

O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, didst vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith: grant that, thought the intercession , the hearts of the straying may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may do Thy will with one accord. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of St John Pope & Martyr
Eternal Shepherd, look with favor upon Your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed John, Your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom You constituted shepherd of the whole Church.

Commemoration of St Philip Neri
O God, Who didst exalt blessed Philip, Thy confessor, with the glory of Thy saints, mercifully grant that we, who are gladdened by his feast, may profit by the example of his virtues. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

EPISTLE Hebrews 7: 23-27

Lesson from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Hebrews: Brethren, there were made many priests, because by reason of death they were not suffered to continue: but Jesus, for that He continueth forever, hath an everlasting priesthood. Whereby He is able also to save forever them that come to God by Him; always living to make intercession for us. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, and undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as the other priests, to offer sacrifice first for His own sins, and then for the people’s; for this Jesus Christ our Lord did once, in offering Himself.

GRADUAL Psalm 131: 16-17

I will clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall rejoice with exceeding great joy. There will I bring forth a horn to David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.

Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 109:4 The Lord has sworn, and He will not repent: You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedec. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Luke 10:1-9

At that time, Jesus appointed also other seventy-two: and he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come. And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest. Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25

My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.

SECRET

We offer Thee this sacrifice, O Lord, on the solemn feast of blessed Augustine, Thy Bishop and Confessor, humbly entreating that the sheep which are lost may return to the one fold, and be nourished by this food of salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of St John Pope & Martyr
Having offered You our gifts, we beseech You, O Lord, mercifully to enlighten Your Church, so that Your flock may everywhere prosper, and its shepherds, under Your guidance, be rendered acceptable to You.

Commemoration of St Philip Neri
Look with satisfaction, we beseech Thee, O Lord, upon the sacrifices here before Thee, and grant that the Holy Spirit may kindle within us that fire with which He miraculously penetrated the heart of blessed Philip. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.

PREFACE of the Common

It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 24: 46-47

Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord cometh he shall find watching: Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.

POSTCOMMUNION

We who are refreshed by this saving Victim humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that though the intercession of blessed Augustine pleading for us, It may continually be offered in every place to the glory of Thy name. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of St John Pope & Martyr
Since Your Church has been nourished by sacred food, govern her in Your clemency, we beseech You, O Lord, so that under the guidance of Your almighty rule she may enjoy ever greater freedom and remain steadfast in purity of faith.

Commemoration of St Philip Neri
Regaled with Heavenly delights, O Lord, we pray Thee, that, by the merits of blessed Philip, Thy confessor, and after his example, we may ever seek those things by which we truly live. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.

St John Pope & Martyr

A native of Tuscany in Italy, John was elected Pope while he was still an archdeacon upon the death of Pope Hormisdas in 523. At that time, the ruler of Italy was Theodoric the Goth who subscribed to the Arian brand of Christianity, but had tolerated and even favored his Catholic subjects during the early part of his reign. However, about the time of St. John’s accession to the Papacy, Theodoric’s policy underwent a drastic change as a result of two events: the treasonable (in the sovereign’s view) correspondence between ranking members of the Roman Senate and Constantinople and the severe edict against heretics enacted by the emperor Justin I, who was the first Catholic on the Byzantine throne in fifty years. Spurred on by the appeals of Eastern Arians, Theodoric threatened to wage war against Justin but ultimately decided to negotiate with him through a delegation of five Bishops and four senators. At its head he named Pope John – much against the latter’s wishes. Little is known for certain about the nature of the message which the Pope bore and the manner in which he carried out his mission. What is known is that he succeeded in persuading the Emperor to mitigate his treatment of the Arians and thus avoid reprisals against the Catholics in Italy. The Pope’s visit also brought about the reconciliation of the Western and Eastern Churches which had been plagued by a schism since 482 when Zeno’s Henoticon had been published. However, Theodoric had been becoming more suspicious with each passing day. While waiting for the delegation to return, he ordered the execution of the philosopher Boethius and his father-in-law Symmachus on a charge of treason; and as he got word of the friendly relations between the Pope and the emperor, he concluded that they were plotting against him. Hence, on the delegation’s return to the capitol city of Ravenna, Pope John was imprisoned by order of Theodoric and died a short time later as a result of the treatment he experienced there.

May26StPhilipNeriSt Philip Neri

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise.
At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.

At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services.

The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.)

Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.