St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo & Doctor of the Church; Com. of St Hermes: Missa “In medio Ecclesiae“
It was the combined efforts of two saints who had the greatest effects on the life of one of the great Doctors of the Church Saint Augustine of Hippo. Augustine’s mother Saint Monica played a major behind the scenes role in his conversion, while Saint Ambrose was on the front line with Augustine, who had become a great skeptic, teaching, influencing and converting him.
Augustine was born in Tagaste in what is today Algeria on November 13, 354. By the time he was 30 he was preaching rhetoric, interspersed with Manichean heresy, at the university of Milan. It was there he met St. Ambrose and sat in on his lectures where he was enthralled with Ambrose’s explanation of Sacred Scripture. In 356 Augustine heard a voice while he was embroiled in abandoned tears of helplessness searching for answers. The child-like voice chanted, “Take and read.” Without thinking Augustine opened the Bible to the words of Saint Paul in Romans 13:13-14 which said, “Let us walk becomingly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and as for the flesh, take no thought for its lusts.” He was so moved that he asked Ambrose if he could be baptized and then immediately told his mother Monica that he wanted to be baptized. Both she and Ambrose were delighted beyond belief. Monica firmly insisted that in order to be in full union with the Church he had to abandon his Manichean beliefs and forsake living with his girl friend and their three children illegitimately conceived. Augustine agreed, was baptized and then buried his mother the same year. Shortly after Monica’s death he returned to Africa and was ordained a priest at the age of 36.
During this time he dedicated full time to righting and writing the wrongs he had wrought to so many through his Manichean ideas. At the young age of 41 Augustine was consecrated the Bishop of Hippo where he preached and served the people for the rest of his life, defending the Church against all types of heresies. Even though a bishop, he still lived in community with fellow priests and wrote constantly beginning with his major works Confessions which was basically a catechism for all catechumens along with his great work Christian Doctrine.
In 410, as the Goth Alaric was laying siege to Rome Augustine wrote his most famous opus – City of God. His great words, “Too late have I loved You, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in You” show how God became the end-all and be-all in his life which ended at the age of 76 on August 28, 430 as the Vandals were storming the gates of Hippo. To preserve his body from the Vandals, the Augustinians stole him away to Sardinia where he was laid to rest, and later transferred to Pavia. Though Augustine’s works were appreciated during his lifetime, it wasn’t until after his death that his words really took root and was celebrated as a Doctor of the Church from the eighth century on, becoming official in the eleventh century. Today St. Augustine is revered as one of the greatest and learned scholars of the Church. His conversion proves the power of God’s love and the power of the Word of God.
This is also the feast of St. Hermes, who was a prefect of Rome. He suffered under Emperor Hadrian, about 132 during the pontificate of Pope St. Telesphorus.
INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 15: 5
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. v. Glory be…etc
Give ear to our prayers, O almighty God, and, by the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy confessor and bishop, graciously grant the effect of Thine accustomed mercy to those in whom Thou dost encourage a strong trust in the kindness which is their hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Commemoration of St. Hermes
God, Who didst strengthen blessed Hermes, Thy martyr, with the virtue of constancy in his suffering, grant us, in imitation of him, to despise the prosperity of the world for love of Thee, and not to fear worldly adversity. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE 2 Timothy 4: 1-8
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy. Dearly beloved, I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming, and His Kingdom. Preach the word: be instant in season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience, and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labor in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed; and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 36: 30-31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgment. V. The law of his God is in his heart: and his steps shall not be supplanted. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 88: 21) I have found David my servant: with my holy oil I have anointed him. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 5: 13-19
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house; so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For, amen I say unto you, till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven: but he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 92: 15
The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall be multiplied like the cedar that is in Libanus.
May the loving prayers of Augustine, Thy bishop, not be wanting to us, O Lord, to commend our gifts and ever to obtain pardon for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
Commemoration Secret for St. Hermes
We offer Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice of praise in commemoration of Thy saints; grant, we beseech Thee, that what hath conferred glory on them may profit us unto salvation. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12: 42
A faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord set over His family; to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
That Thy sacrifices may give us health, O Lord, may blessed Augustine, Thy bishop and illustrious doctor, we beseech Thee, act as our intercessor. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
Commemoration Postcommunion for St. Hermes
Filled with heavenly blessings, O Lord, we beseech Thy mercy that, by the intercession of blessed Hermes, Thy martyr, we may feel the salutary effects of that which we humbly perform. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.