"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving with Augustine

Today is Thanksgiving Day, which is such a uniquely American holiday.  Today is a day to be thankful for all of God’s gifts to: your family, your friends, your home, the abundance of food, and perhaps all the material things we have available and at our fingertips.  The source of all is our Creator, and we should be grateful and thankful.

I was reading this passage last night in St. Augustine’s Confessions from Book Nine.  Augustine’s mother Monica, who prayed for his soul no matter what throughout Augustine’s pagan and dissolute years, has recently seen his conversion.  Shortly after this joy in her life, Monica (who will also be canonized a saint) catches a fever and within nine days dies.  Augustine offers this prayer of thanks and for her soul, which I found very touching and apt for today’s feast.

Book Nine, Chapter 13, Paragraph 35:

So it is, Praise and my Life, God of my heart, that I set aside for a little her good actions, for which I give thanks to you with rejoicing, and pray to you for my mother’s sins.  Hear my prayers, through the Healing of our wounds, who hung on a tree, who sitting at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us.  I know that she dealt mercifully, and forgave her debtors from her heart; forgive her what debts she gave up in all those years after she was washed in the saving waters.  Forgive, Lord, forgive, I prayEnter not into judgement with her.  Let mercy triumph over judgement, for your sayings are true, and you have promised mercy to the merciful.  That they are merciful is your gift also; you who have mercy to those to whom you will have mercy, and are merciful to those to whom you will grant mercy.
                -Phillip Burton translation, Everyman Library.

Augustine is thankful for all his mother did for him, and goes on to pray for God to have mercy on her.  And in that last sentence we see that Augustine sees God having mercy as a gift too. 

So today, among your many blessings, be additionally thankful for your mother and for God’s mercy.


  1. Thank you Manny for this most wonderful post.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  2. So beautiful.
    Hope your day was a good one!

  3. Thank you all. I do hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.