St. Augustine


Greetings! I started a new blog called The Ever Blessed this past Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Check out its latest post. I will no longer be blogging @ Shmuelson. Godspeed and Ave Maria!

Today, on the Liturgical calendar for the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, we celebrate the memory of Saint Bernardine of Sienna. Saint Bernardine was an Italian Franciscan missionary priest during the early 1400’s. He was best known for his ministry in spreading devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus throughout most of Italy. I have just recently stumbled upon this saint, and I am very excited about his patronage….being that I am an asthmatic graphic designer.

So, how does one become the Patron Saint of breathing problems and advertising? This takes many forms. In brief, Saints are chosen to be patrons when an interest, talent, or event in their lives overlaps with a special area. For a Catholic, a saint’s patronage is about three things, or rather three devotional qualifiers: example, empathy, and intercession. Let’s consider for instance today’s Saint and look at each of the three qualifiers to patronage.

As stated above, Saint Bernardine is the patron saint of breathing problems and advertising. How he became the patron of breathing problems was through a personal miracle. Unfortunately, Bernardine was born with a pulmonary defect in his lungs which prevented his voice from being heard by large groups. Since Bernardine was a preacher by nature, this was cause for some personal conflict. After a considerable amount of prayer for the Blessed Virgin’s intercession, Bernardine was healed of his defect and his voice grew more powerful with every sermon. For an asthmatic like myself, St. Bernardine’s patronage is important to me. I make his patronage practical in my spiritual life by looking to him for an example of trust in God’s healing power over breathing ailments that ultimately have no power in controlling me or what God has planned for me. I then trust in his intercessions because of his empathy. He’s walked in my shoes too, so to speak. He knows my pain. And he can only know my pain because ultimately Christ knows my pain. St. Bernardine’s life testimony ministers to me an example of how I too can ” overcome the world” (John 16:33). So, I am excited to imitate his example and seek his prayers. For more about why Catholics pray to saints read my post here. And to read a sermon quote by St. Augustine that further elaborates saintly patronage and veneration click here.

Saint Bernardine is the patron of advertising because of his main preaching ministry, which was to spread devotion to the Holy Name. St. Bernardine manufactured and distributed beautifully designed sacred images with the name of Jesus in the ancient monogram “I.H.S.”. What the monogram actually stands for has been lost in translation but most think it displays the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek (Latinized: Iota Eta Sigma). It is used as a symbol through which we can venerate Jesus’s name. Simply, what St. Bernardine did was create a “sacred advertising campaign”. Through it, he was able to successfully encourage greater devotion to Christ. As a Graphic Designer, I am reminded by Bernardine’s example that the ultimate goal and gain of my Advertising talents is to encourage devotion to the good news of Jesus – whose very name is good news enough (Matthew 1:21). So, I make an effort, in a variety ways, to include God in my design processes and to keep myself open to the possibility of facilitating the Church’s ministry through them. And, when my work stresses me out and makes me reach for my inhaler, I call on my brother for help…

Saint Bernardine of Siena of the Holy Name of Jesus, pray for us!

Heroes of the Catholic Faith

Heroes of the Catholic Faith

I always find it interesting when Protestants quote Church fathers or Catholic Saints. It seems that there is a bit of a disconnect there. I always find myself wanting to ask in those instances, “do you know what that person would say about you?” I don’t mean any disrespect to my Protestant brothers and sisters. I just want to make an observation here. And that observation is, when Protestant scholars, ministers, and laymen quote Church fathers or Catholic Saints, they either neglect or are ignorant of the belief structures at play in the person(s) they are quoting.  What I am trying to say here is the quote doesn’t make the “quote-tee”, the quote-tee makes the quote.  Consider for instance, three of the most quoted saints by Protestants: St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Francis of Assisi, and Blessed Mother Teresa:

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

-Saint Augustine of Hippo, Confessiones, I. 7, 3rd century

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

-Saint Francis of Assisi

“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

-Blessed Mother Teresa

Now, these are all beautiful quotes. Who wouldn’t want to quote them? I don’t know about you, but each one of these quotes speaks to my soul in a stirring way. It makes me take a step back and ask, what immense Faith is at play here? What has gone into such people that makes them speak these truths – truths that seem like they could’ve come out of the Master’s mouth itself? Speaking of the Master, let’s take a look at one of His quotes,

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

The Gospel According to St. Luke 6:45

So, what treasure went into the hearts of saints like Augustine, Francis, and Mother Teresa to make their mouths brim with good teaching? The Catholic Faith – and nothing but. All three of these Saints, beloved as they are by most of Protestantism, believed in the Catholic Church. For instance, here are some St. Augustine and Blessed Mother Teresa quotes on the Papacy:

“If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today?”

-St. Augustine of Hippo (“Against the Letters of Petilani” c. 402 A.D.)

“Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.'”

-St. Augustine of Hippo (“Sermon 295,” c. 411 A.D.)

“He [Pope John Paul II] has been the greatest gift of God, a sunray of God’s love shining in the darkness of the world.

-Blessed Mother Teresa

Here are all three on Marian devotion:

A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?”

-St. Augustine of Hippo (“Sermon 186,” c. 411 A.D.)

“Holy Virgin Mary, among all women on earth there is none like thee; thou art the Daughter and Handmaid of the Most High King and Father of Heaven; thou art the Mother of Our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ; thou art the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Pray for us, with St. Michael the Archangel and all the Powers of Heaven and all the Saints, to Thy Most Holy and Beloved Son, our Lord and Master.”

-St. Francis of Assisi, The Antiphon: Holy Virgin Mary

“Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us.”

-Blessed Mother Teresa, Nazareth Prayer for the Family

And, here they are again on the Eucharist:

“That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend His Body and Blood, which He poured out to us unto the forgiveness of sins.”

-St. Augustine, Sermons, 227

“…the Lord gave me, and gives me still, such faith in priests who live according to the rite of the holy Roman Church because of their orders that, were they to persecute me, I would still want to have recourse to them…..And I act in this way because, in this world, I see nothing physically of the most high Son of God except His most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others. I want to have these most holy mysteries honored and venerated above all things and I want to reserve them in precious places.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

“If we have our Lord in the midst of us, with daily Mass and Holy Communion, I fear nothing for the Sisters nor myself; He will look after us. But without Him I cannot be – I am helpless”

-Blessed Mother Teresa

Don’t expect me to go through every Catholic doctrine and proof-quote here. I just wanted to show what St. Augustine, St. Francis, and Mother Teresa had to say about what mattered most to them, that is, the main things that distinguish Catholicism from other forms of Christianity. So, if you are one of those Protestants that quotes Saints like these, are you not able to connect the dots? Catholic Saints are CATHOLIC Saints. They stood and died for doctrines that most of Protestantism so easily throws away. So, the next time you quote a Catholic Saint, consider what you are doing. Don’t do it out of novelty, so as to diminish their memories. And don’t forget why these holy ones are so quotable… it’s because they are Catholic.