St Monica, Widow: Missa “Cognovi, Domine”
Born into a Christian family in the village of Tagaste, Northern Africa in 332, Saint Monica learned at an early age the virtues of patience and obedience which she exhibited throughout her lifetime. When she reached womanhood her parents married her off to a nobleman by the name of Patricius who was a kind husband, but possessed a terrible temper and a wanderlust which Monica tolerated because of her marriage vows. She tried to calm and win him over through her obedience and patience, always praying that he would realize the error of his ways and come to see the only answer was God.
Her prayers were answered in 371 when Patricius received Baptism as he lay dying. This patient love and total faith in God’s Providence was transferred from Patricius to their son Augustine who was 17 when his father died, leaving Monica a widow. Though Augustine had begun studying as a catechumen his father’s genes took hold and her son opted for the world, also being led down the wrong path by Manichean heresy rationalizing that he wasn’t responsible for his own free will. Oh, how wrong he was and Monica knew it, but rather than alienating her son she opened her arms to him using the psychology of catching more flies with honey than vinegar. But her loving protection backfired as Augustine fled to Italy to do his own thing. Monica would not see her son for 15 more years when, under the influence of Saint Ambrose, Augustine’s heart and mind finally discovered the truth and invited his mother to Ostia, Italy in 387 where, on Easter Sunday at the age of 33, Augustine was finally baptized into the true faith and a mother’s patient prayers were finally answered. It had been her dying wish to see him come back to the Church and shortly after she passed on to her Heavenly reward in the same year.
Little did Monica realize how powerful were her prayers and what a gift her son would give back to Holy Mother Church as a great Doctor who had been tutored by another great Doctor of the Church St. Ambrose. Monica has become the role model for mothers everywhere especially mothers who have wayward children or offspring that have fallen away. Persevering prayer does indeed pay off, not necessarily in our timetable but in God’s time. That is where patience and obedience play such a vital role. In 1586 St. Monica was officially added to the Roman Calendar by Pope Sixtus V and her relics were moved from Ostia to the church of St. Augustine where her son’s relics rested and once again mother and son were reunited on earth as they were reunited in Heaven on Augustine’s death in 430 AD.
INTROIT Psalm 118: 75, 120
I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me : pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear, I am afraid of Thy judgments. (Psalm 118) Blessed are the undefiled in the way : who walk in the law of the Lord. 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. Repeat I know, O Lord…
O God, the consoler of them that mourn and the health of them that hope in Thee, Who didst show Thine acceptance of blessed Monica’s pious tears in the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, by the intercession of them both, to deplore our sins and find the mercy of Thy grace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE 1 Timothy 5: 3-10
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy. Dearly beloved: Honor widows, that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children, or grandchildren, let her learn first to govern her own house, and to make a return of duty to her parents: for this is acceptable before God. But she that is a widow indeed and desolate, let her trust in God, and continue in prayers and supplications night and day. For she that liveth in pleasures, is dead while she is living. And this give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband, having testimony for her good works, if she have brought up children, if she have received to harbor, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have ministered to them that suffer tribulation, íf she have diligently followed every good work.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 44: 5) With thy comeliness, and thy beauty, set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Alleluia. V. Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 7: 11-16
At that time, Jesus went into a city called Naim: and there went with Him His disciples, and a great multitude. And when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city were with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said to her: “Weep not.” And He came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And He said: “Young man, I say to thee, Arise.” And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great Prophet is risen up amongst us, and God has visited His people.
OFFERTORY Psalm 44: 3
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips : therefore God hath blessed thee for ever and for ages of ages. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the offerings of thy holy people be accepted by Thee, 0 Lord, in honor of Thy saints, through whose merits they know that they have received aid in time of trouble. 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. R. Amen.
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 Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved injustice and hated iniquity : therefore God thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Alleluia.
Having fed Thy family, O Lord, with holy gifts, we beseech Thee, ever to comfort us by the intercession of her whose festival we celebrate. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.