St Monica

St Monica

August 27 – Memorial of St Monica

St Monica (d. 387), prayed for 30 years for the conversion of her pagan husband, and with the help and guidance of St. Ambrose, won the conversion of her son, St. Augustine.

St. Monica is the patroness of mothers. She is an excellent role model, not only to us mothers, but to all of the importance of prayer. In the modern world, we need modern-day saints, praying for the conversion of those who have lost faith. The prayer of a mother is a powerful prayer.

St. Monica, pray for us!

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The Lay Apostolate

Bloch-SermonOnTheMountEvery Christian person, by virtue of their Baptism, is called to participation in the life of the Church. This participation sometimes may take the form of a vocation to the priesthood or to religious life. For those not called in that particular way, we have both the right and the duty to participation in the lay apostolate.

“Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.” (CCC 900)

The lay apostolate does not mean that lay people should do everything in the Church, and it certainly isn’t a call to do the things that are reserved to a priest. The ministry of the priesthood is a ministry to the baptized faithful; the lay apostolate is a ministry to the greater society. Sometimes the laity’s ministry includes service to their parish, in roles that are appropriate to their state in life. Often, the laity serve in many ways outside of their parish Church, in social ministries. Whatever the particular ministry is, it must always be in conformity with the Gospel and the teaching of the Church.

“Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity ‘to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.’ (CCC 2442)

There are many opportunities in your parish for lay people to serve both within the appropriate ministries of the Church, as well as social outreach ministries. Often, you just need to call and find out where help is needed. Are you involved in your parish? One aspect of our baptismal call is that of service, in cooperation with the ministry of the Church. How do you respond to that call?

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

assumption window

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on August 15 is a solemnity in the life of the Church. You may remember that a solemnity is our most important type of feast.  In the dioceses of the United States, it is a Holy Day of obligation.  More that you just “have to go” to Mass, you should want to go to Mass. Do we really have that much else to do that we cannot find a Mass to go to today?  Mary is the example of perfect obedience and trust in God, and we could do well always to learn from her example.

For those that pray the rosary regularly, when you get to this mystery, you might say, “the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul into heaven.”  The Assumption is not simply celebrating that Mary went to heaven.  (Of course she did!)  Let’s look at what the Catechism teaches in this regard:

“Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” (CCC 966)

Mary’s assumption into heaven is a foreshadowing of our life in heaven to come, hopefully the resurrection of all Christians.  We can point to scriptural evidence to support this belief.  Some key places are chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, Genesis 3:15, Corinthians 15:54, other letters of Paul, and Psalm 132  as evidence of Mary’s victory over sin and death.  Here is verse 8 of Psalm 132: “Arise, O Lord, into thy resting place: thou and the ark, which thou hast sanctified.”  The Church understands the ark of the New Covenant to be Mary, taken body and soul to her resting place.

The Assumption is a dogma of the Catholic Church, proclaimed in 1950 by Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus.  However, there is much evidence of this belief from as early as the third and fourth centuries, and it was celebrated by Christians as early as the fifth century.

 

Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us.

 

 

*As a side note, I am blessed to be in a parish under the patronage of our Blessed Mother. The above image is one of our stained glass windows (I apologize for the quality, taking them on my phone). The first image is the window depicting the Assumption, so you will note the inscription “Definita 1950 Pio XII.” The image below is a portion of the window depicting the crowning of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth.

queen of heaven window