by Ken Rolheiser
Saints of August and Our Journey

When it comes to fitness, we often treat our dogs better than we treat ourselves. We take them for walks daily, for a run in the park area. Once a week is not enough exercise. 

I have a senior friend who walks five kilometers a day. She is thinking of walking twice a day to improve muscle tone and general fitness. This has serious implications for our spiritual lives. Once a week verses daily or several times a day prayer.

To live, grow and share our faith better let us reflect on the examples of Saints of August which the church celebrates. The real presence of the Eucharist, regular confession, the rosary, humility, evangelizing and ceaseless prayer are their prescriptions.

August 1 - St Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists, suffered greatly from rheumatoid arthritis. The Eucharist sustained him through all. In the words of Alphonsus: “If you desire to find Him immediately, He is quite close to you. Tell Him what you desire, for it is to console you and grant your prayer that He remains in the tabernacle.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a National Eucharistic Revival this year. We would benefit greatly from spending more time, especially alone, with Jesus in church and in our personal prayer space.

August 4 - St John Vianney, the famed Cure d’Ars, patron Saint of confessors, had great difficulty passing his seminary exams. Yet this brilliant mind served God by often spending up to sixteen hours a day ministering to penitents in the confessional.

He left us with this gem: “Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels and the saints. They are your public.” St John Paul II was moved by the example of St John Vianney and went to confession every week.

August 8 - St Dominic is famous for having received a rosary from Our Lady. Mary invited him to spread the devotion of the rosary or the Angelic Psalter to help win salvation for sinners. Religious members pray a Daily Psalter or brievary containing a number of psalms.

The Rosary matches a number of psalms meditating on the life of Christ and helps lay members sustain a meaningful prayer life. St Dominic said: “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.” 

August 24 - St. Bernard brought a healing touch to people who lined the roads in the thousands all the while suffering terrible stomach trouble that lasted his whole life long.

St Bernard said: “The three most important virtues are humility, humility, and humility.” Along with humility we may reflect on Saint Bartholomew (August 24), or the apostle Nathaniel, of whom Jesus said, “There is no duplicity in him.”

August 27 - And finally we have St Monica who illustrates the power of prayer, especially for family members. She so beautifully stormed heaven with her continuous prayer for her wayward son Augustine. 

Prayer, fasting and good works prevailed, and Augustine became one of the most learned Saints in the Church. Proof positive that our prayers will bear fruit.

Many saintly and holy priests throughout church history have loved their earthly mothers greatly and been blessed and edified by their mother’s holy example. St. Augustine is no exemption; in fact, he famously credited his conversion to his mother’s ceaseless prayers and good works.

Saints of August, as we seek and savor your words of wisdom, pray for us!

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