Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), bishop, confessor, Doctor of the Church, and one of the Four Great Fathers of the Latin Church. He is at times referred to as the Doctor of Grace. One of the most influential thinkers and writers of the Church, Augustine’s legacy in written works numbers at over 100 books, and 5,000,000 words! Within those words, the philosophy and virtues of our faith are revealed, inspiring us to a closer relationship with the Lord. The conversion of Saint Augustine, following years of sinful living, reminds us that we, too, are called to daily conversion… and that it is never too late to fully turn to the Lord!
Below, a prayer written by Saint Augustine, entitled the “Threnus Prayer: A Prayer for Those in Tribulation.” Deeply penitential, we are reminded of our fallen human nature as we pray to Our Lord for help and forgiveness.
We would be wise to place before Thine eyes, O Lord,
Our misdeeds and the wounds we receive.
For if we do, the less we suffer
And the greater we merit.
We feel the punishment for sin,
Yet we do not shun our obstinacy in sinning.
Our fragile nature is shattered by Thy scourges,
Yet our evil ways remain unchanged.
The sick mind is wrenched,
Yet the stiff neck is not bent.
Life sighs in pain,
And yet, it does not amend itself.
If Thou waiteth, we do not reform,
If Thou punisheth, we do not last.
When accused, we admit what we have done,
Yet when punished, we forget.
If Thou punisheth, we make promises;
If Thou holdeth back the sword, we do not carry out our promises.
If Thou striketh us, we cry out that Thou might spare us;
If Thou sparest us, we again provoke Thee to strike us.
If difficulties come, we ask for a time for repentance.
If mercy comes to our aid, we abuse Thy patience which has spared us.
Even when our wounds are scarcely healed,
Our ungrateful mind forgets.
If Thou hearest us quickly, we become haughty from mercy.
If Thou art slow, we complain out of impatience.
We are willing to serve Thee because of what Thou hast done,
Yet we do not fear to neglect what Thou willst have us do.
Thou hast in Thy power, O Lord, we confessed sinners;
Be merciful, for Thou art kind and loving.
We have known that, unless Thou forgiveth us,
Thou shalt justly punish us.
But with Thee is much pity
And abundant forgiveness.
Grant, without any merit on our part, what we ask,
O Thou, who hast made from nothing those who ask Thee.
Have mercy on us crying out to Thee, O Lord.
May the voice of the faithful and of the tearful stir up Thy mercy.
May that forgiveness not consider that we sin,
While it reflects on the fact we ask.
Since it is a great misery that we are accused,
May the fact that we are miserable make Thy mercy be the greater.
We beg Thy help,
And before Thee we place the evils and sorrows of our crimes.
By our prayers we look for Thy mercy,
The very mercy which we have spurned by our sins.
Raise us up in Thy mercy, O Lord our God,
So that in the fellowship of salvation and the joy of charity,
While we long to be saved,
We may rejoice in the faith and peace of all the nations.
Through Christ our Lord Who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."