Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - SUNDAY, MAY 27th, 2018 A.D.: ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY
For today’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Post Communion Collect for the Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury (May 28th) in the Missale Romanum 1962 ed. Below is the English translation of this prayer in the Angelus Press edition of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal:
“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, through his 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 our Lord, etc. Amen.”
As we celebrate Trinity Sunday today, we do well to meditate on the life of a missionary who, in his own day, fulfilled the “Great Commission” of our Lord to teach the nations and baptize them in the Name of the Trinity (cf. Mt. 28:18-20).
Pope St. Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine, the prior of his own monastery on the Caelian Hill, on a lengthy journey from Rome to England at the end of the sixth century in order to rekindle the Faith on that island. Christianity had already taken root in some regions of England, but generally speaking, it had suffered decline for various reasons, and was in need of robust renewal. St. Augustine was fearful of what might befall him, but God’s grace made his mission a great success, and it has a vibrant legacy. The Collect for this feast can help us to consider more deeply how we may be more faithful to our mission here in the local Church.
In the petition, we pray that “the hearts of the straying may return to the unity of Thy truth.” In other words, we must desire and pray for others who do not know or love Christ or His Church, so that they may come to know and love Him in His One Church. In praying for them, we are truly loving them, for to love someone is to desire their good. To pray for someone else’s conversion to Christ and His Church is to desire their highest good, namely, a share in divine life!
Praying in this way calls us to an unabashed affirmation that the Catholic Faith is the true religion. In other words, the revelation of Jesus Christ to His Catholic Church is the fullness of truth, which is entirely coherent in its unity, simplicity, mystery, and beauty. We believe this about the truths shown us in divine revelation as well as those of natural revelation, because they proceed from and culminate in Christ, the Word, who is Himself this One Truth (cf. Jn.1:1-14, 14:6; Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 33-5, 38, 41, 50, 107-8, 286, 427, 1698).
In recognizing the unity of the truth, we pray that may do God’s will, i.e., that which is truly good. Our petition carries with it the consequent recognition that there are moral goods and moral evils, whose quality can be determined by their correspondence to what is truly and objectively good for the human person. We pray that we may do those things which correspond to the providential design of the good God for our salvation (cf. Catechism nos. 1733, 1749- 56, 1951-8). In this way, Catholics who, by God’s grace, live the fullness of the truth will renew both the Church and the whole of society (cf. Catechism nos. 775, 898-9, 908-9). In an intensely relativistic age, wherein the salvation of many souls hangs in the balance, believing Catholics must be knowledgeable, clear, gentle, faithful, and full of joyful conviction in presenting and living the teaching of Jesus and His Church.(David Allen)
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.