Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

Province of Saint Ann

St Ann Crown red

Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

Province of Saint Ann

St Ann Crown red
Eymard stained glass window

Daily Eucharistic Reflections

May 27, 2024

Saint Augustine of Canterbury

Today’s saint was prior of Saint Andrew’s monastery in Rome in the sixth century when Pope Gregory the Great sent him to England to evangelize the pagan Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Kent. When Gregory saw fair-haired Anglo-Saxon slaves in Rome, he decided these “angels” should become Christians. When Britain was a province of the Roman Empire, it had largely converted to Christianity, but these Roman Christians were persecuted and influenced by the Anglo-Saxon invaders. Augustine converted King Ethelbert of Kent and many of his subjects shortly after his arrival. Before he died in 604, he had become Archbishop of Canterbury and arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury.

It is an interesting coincidence that the Gospel of the Weekday presents a very different picture of conversion. When the rich man kneels in front of Our Lord, he asks what he must do to gain eternal life, and Jesus responds that the man must keep the commandments. When the inquirer says he has observed the commandments all his life, Our Lord says that the man should sell all he has, give to the poor, and thus gain treasure in heaven; “then come, follow me.”

When St. Augustine invited the people of Kent to become followers of Jesus through Baptism, he converted them. Jesus fails to convert (“Come, follow me.”) the rich man because the rich man is already “following” his wealth.

What does all of this mean to us?

I suggest that you and I are followers of Jesus, like Augustine and his converts, but we are also somewhat less than totally Our Lord’s followers. Some of us, myself, perhaps most of all, are possessed by our “stuff.” To the extent things preoccupy us, possessions, as the rich man was, we are not following Jesus.

Prayer:

I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me, sing psalms to the name of the Lord most high. (Today’s Communion Antiphon)

 

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