Mass Schedule – Easter IV (May 3, 2015)
04, St. Monica, Mother of Augustine 387 A.D.
05, Conversion of St. Augustine 386 A.D.
07, St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr 1079 A.D.
09, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 391 A.D.
+ We know about Monica almost entirely from the autobiography (the Confessions) of her son Augustine, a major Christian writer, theologian and philosopher (see 28 August). Monica was born in North Africa, near Carthage, in what is now Tunisia, perhaps around 331, of Christian parents, and was a Christian throughout her life. As a girl, she was fond of wine, and one occasion when she was taunted by a slave girl for drunkenness, led her to resolve never to drink again. She was married to a pagan husband, Patricius, a man of hot temper, who was often unfaithful to her, but never insulted or struck her. It was her happiness to see both him and his mother baptized into Christ. Monica soon recognized that her son was a man of extraordinary intellectual gifts, a brilliant thinker and a natural leader of men (as a youngster he was head of a local gang of juvenile delinquents), and she had strong ambitions and high hopes for his success in a secular career. Indeed, though we do not know all the circumstances, most Christians today would say that her efforts to steer him into a socially advantageous marriage were in every way a disaster. However, as she matured through a life of prayer, her ambitions for his worldly success were transformed into a desire for his conversion. He, as a youth, rejected her religion with scorn, and looked to various pagan philosophies for clues to the meaning of life. He undertook a career as an orator and teacher of the art of oratory (rhetoric), and moved from Africa to Rome and thence to Milan, at that time the seat of government in Italy. His mother followed him there a few years later. In Milan, Augustine met the bishop Ambrose, from whom he learned that Christianity could be intellectually respectable, and under whose preaching he was eventually converted and baptized on Easter Eve in 387, to the great joy of Monica. After his baptism they planned to return to Africa together but in Ostia, the port city of Rome, Monica fell ill and said, “You will bury your mother here. All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord. Do not fret because I am buried far from our home in Africa. Nothing is far from God, and he will know where to find me when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.”
+ Our Monday Morning Bible Study meets next Monday, May 11th at 10:00 A.M.
+ There is a traditional list of eight great Doctors (Teachers, Theologians) of the ancient Church. It lists four Western (Latin) Doctors — Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Jerome of Strido, and Gregory the Great and four Eastern Doctors — Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus. The two Gregorys and Basil were known as the Cappadocian Fathers since they were associated with Cappadocia, a region in what is now Central Turkey. Gregory of Nazianzus was born about 330. He went to school in Athens with his friend Basil, and with the aforesaid Julian. He and Basil compiled an anthology, called the Philokalia, of the works of the great (but somewhat erratic) Alexandrian theologian, philosopher, and scholar of the previous century, Origen. Later, he went home to assist his father, a bishop, in his struggles against Arianism. Meanwhile, his friend Basil had become Archbishop of (Cappadocian) Caesarea. Faced with a rival Arian bishop at Tyana, he undertook to consolidate his position by maneuvering Gregory into the position of Bishop of Sasima, an unhealthy settlement on the border between the two jurisdictions. Gregory called Sasima “a detestable little place without water or grass or any mark of civilization.” He felt “like a bone flung to dogs.” He refused to reside at Sasima. Basil accused him of shirking his duty. He accused Basil of making him a pawn in ecclesiastical politics. Their friendship suffered a severe breach, which took some time to heal. Gregory suffered a breakdown and retired to recuperate. In 379, after the death of the Arian Emperor Valens, Gregory was asked to go to Constantinople to preach there. For thirty years, the city had been controlled by Arians or pagans, and the orthodox did not even have a church there. Gregory went. He converted his own house there into a church and held services in it. There he preached the Five Theological Orations for which he is best known, a series of five sermons on the Trinity and in defense of the deity of Christ. People flocked to hear him preach, and the city was largely won over to the Athanasian (Trinitarian, catholic, orthodox) position by his powers of persuasion. The following year, he was consecrated bishop of Constantinople. He presided at the Council of Constantinople in 381, which confirmed the Athanasian position of the earlier Council of Nicaea in 325. Having accomplished what he believed to be his mission at Constantinople, and heartily sick of ecclesiastical politics, Gregory resigned and retired to his home town of Nazianzus, where he died in 389.
+ Wednesday, May 6, Agape & Christian Education and I hope you all can come out as well as bring a friend. I have resumed the class I started last fall on the Sacraments of the Church. Thanks goes out to all our cooks, teachers, and helpers and especially to Jackie Jamison for her leadership in organizing and developing our Wednesday Agape. All teachers please remember that class is over at 7:15.
+ All Saints Men’s Group will met next on May 5, at 7:00 a.m. in undercroft.
+ The Holy Communion is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
+ All Saints parishioner may obtain a Mass card from the Church office. A Mass card is a greeting card given to someone to inform him or her that a deceased loved one or friend was remembered and prayed for at a weekly Mass. It is a specifically Christian way to express one’s love. Call Julie McDermott at the Church office (434-979-2842) and she will help you fill out the form. The celebrant will sign the card and we will mail it from the Church to the family of the loved one.