Saturday, May 27, 2006

Notes on the Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury.

Today the Church remembers Augustine of Canterbury, the Italian monk sent by Pope Gregory the Great in the late sixth century to evangelize the people of England. A reluctant missionary, Augustine so feared the daunting task ahead of him that during the long journey from Rome to Canterbury he turned around, went back to the Pope and asked to be relieved of his mission. To Augustine's chagrin, Pope Gregory refused his request. Ordered to persevere in his mission, Augustine ultimately enjoyed such great success that he became known as the "Apostle of England." Augustine's episcopal career was relatively short - he spent only about eight years as a bishop - but in the brief time given him he baptized thousands and established several new dioceses. Augustine faced the extremely challenging task of establishing unity between Anglo-Saxon converts and Britons who had been Christians since Roman times. Given the feelings of self-doubt that Augustine wrestled with on his way to England, I can't help but wonder whether he struggled with similar qualms as he dealt with the challenges of being a bishop. A saint who accomplished great things in spite of personal doubts about his own abilities, Augustine of Canterbury deserves our attention and admiration.

I'm sure I could write a lot more about Augustine of Canterbury - I find his story intriguing on a number of levels - but I'm not going to. Why not? Partly because today happens to be my birthday and I have celebrating to do. Another reason I'm going to hold off is that my parents are in town for the weekend and I want to spend time with them. In the absence of posting further reflections on the person of Augustine of Canterbury - if you want to read more, see what English Dominican novice Lawrence Lew has to say on his blog - I'm simply going to say a prayer for his protection as I mark the 26th anniversary of my birth. AMDG.

6 Comments:

At May 29, 2006 7:25 AM, Blogger Paula said...

Happy birthday!And thanks for these great posts...I do not comment each time, but I have enjoyed all of them since I found your blog.

 
At May 29, 2006 3:42 PM, Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

If it's not too late: Happy Birthday from one novice to another!

 
At May 30, 2006 2:56 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Paula and Brother Lawrence,

Thank you both for your comments. It's certainly not too late for the birthday greetings, which I deeply appreciate. Pax,

Joe

 
At November 18, 2012 6:35 PM, Blogger Cole Matson said...

I'm really enjoying reading the archives of your blog, Joe! The Catholic world is really a small one - May 27 is my birthday as well, and I know (now Fr.) Lawrence from Oxford, where he studied after the novitiate! He and I are now both in Scotland, he as chaplain to the Catholic members of Edinburgh's universities, and I as a PhD student in Theology, Imagination & the Arts at the University of St Andrews. Since this post was written, I briefly attended a Jesuit college (Loyola Maryland), became a Catholic as a result, was catechized and received into the Church through the Jesuits at Oxford, and am now working through a period of vocational discernment, in which numerous Jesuits have been guides. (I'm going on an Ignatian discernment retreat next month.)

God bless you!

AMDG,
Cole

 
At November 19, 2012 10:20 PM, Blogger Joe Koczera, S.J. said...

Thanks, Cole - glad to know this blog has been helpful, even in its dormancy. Prayers for your discernment!

Joe K sj

 
At November 19, 2012 10:34 PM, Blogger Cole Matson said...

Thanks!

 

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