Liturgical Texts: August 2012 Archives

28 August: Saint Augustine

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Here are some lovely texts for the feast of Saint Augustine.

At First Vespers

Holy Father Saint Augustine,
Hearken to thy children's cry;
Plea for us as now thou standest
Near the throne of God on high:
Guide thy flock, O loving Shepherd,
Who to us in Christ art nigh.

Holy poverty's true lover,
All Christ's poor ones hymn thy praise,
Truth's own champion and defender,
Loved by all who seek her ways;
Scripture's God-enlightened teacher,
All her wealth thy pen displays.

Lighting depths obscure and hidden,
Thou dost break us heavenly bread
From the doctrine of our Saviour,
From the gracious words He said;
With the Psalms life-giving nectar
All who learn of thee are fed.

For the white-robed canon's choir
Laws of wisdom thou didst frame:
Those who love thy words and keep them,
Thy sure patronage may claim;
Safe, they tread the ways of Sion,
Calling on thy worthy name.

Glory to the King of Ages;
Praise and triumph to his reign;
Joining with the choir of Angels,
Let us sound our answering strain;
E'en now, 'neath our Patron's banner,
Citizens of heaven's domain. Amen.

Blessing of Herbs and Flowers

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Christians of both East and West have, from very early times, blessed herbs and fruit on the Feast of the Assumption. Thus blessed, these creatures become sacramentals of the Church and portents of divine protection from dangers to soul and body. In some places the herbs were placed on the altar, and even beneath the altar linens, so that from this proximity to the Most Holy Eucharist they might receive a special hallowing, beyond that conferred by the blessing prayers of the Church.

The prayers of the rite suggest that this custom of the Church hearkens back to the ancient customs ordained by God through Moses. According to Christian tradition, when the Apostles accompanied Saint Thomas, who had been absent at the time of the Blessed Virgin's death, to her tomb, upon opening it they discovered that her body was not there. Instead, they found the tomb filled with fragrant herbs and flowers. Blessed herbs recall the lingering fragrance of the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory