Friday, May 27, 2011
Today is the optional memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, a Benedictine Monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 598.
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him to lead a party of forty monks to travel to south-eastern England to spread the Gospel there. They landed in 597, and were welcomed by the king of Kent, Ethelbert, who became a Christian along with many of his subjects.
Augustine went to Arles, in France, where he was consecrated archbishop of the English, and then returned to Canterbury to set up his see. The mission prospered, and he founded two more sees, at London and at Rochester in Kent.
Augustine died at Canterbury on May 26, 604 or 605.
St. Augustine has been called "Apostle of England" because of his missionary efforts. He is the patron of England.
"God, in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow Himself upon us; if you find anything better than Him, ask it; but if you ask anything beneath Him, you put an affront upon Him, and hurt yourself by preferring to Him a creature which He framed: Pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to Him, 'Thou, O Lord, are my portion.' Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures, for my part, You are my portion, You alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."