Wednesday, August 28, 2019


FEAST OF ST. AGUSTINE OF HIPPO


Ester, Chapter 9, Verse 2-4
2 The Jews mustered in their cities throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus to attack those who sought to do them harm, and no one could withstand them, for fear of them fell upon all the peoples. 3 Moreover, all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, governors, and royal procurators supported the Jews out of fear of Mordecai; 4 for Mordecai was powerful in the royal palace, and the report was spreading through all the provinces that he was continually growing in power.

The Jews destroyed their tormentors and the feast of Purim was established but what the heck is a satrap.

Satrap[1]


Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires. The word satrap is also often used metaphorically in modern literature to refer to world leaders or governors who are heavily influenced by larger world superpowers or hegemonies and act as their surrogates.


Satraps today

·         It is also used in modern times to refer (usually derogatorily) to the loyal subservient lieutenants or clients of some powerful figure (with equal imprecision also styled mogul, tycoon, or the like), in politics or business.
·         In Portuguese, Italian and Spanish, the word s├ítrapa not only carries the aforementioned ancient historical meaning, but in modern usage also applies to people who abuse power or authority. It can refer as well to those living in luxurious and ostentatious conditions or to individuals who act astutely and even disloyally.
·         The College of 'Pataphysics used the title Transcendent Satrap for certain of its members, including Marcel Duchamp, Jean Baudrillard and the Marx brothers.
·         In the Serbian language, satrap is used to mock a person who displays servile tendencies to an authority figure.
·         THRUSH, the primary antagonist organization in the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., was divided into satrapies, based on geographic location.


Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo[2]

St. Augustine (354-430) was born at Tagaste, Africa, and died in Hippo. His father, Patricius, was a pagan; his mother, Monica, a devout Christian. He received a good Christian education. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by St. Ambrose. Returning to Tagaste, he distributed his goods to the poor, and was ordained a priest. He was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church.

"Though I am but dust and ashes, suffer me to utter my plea to Thy mercy; suffer me to speak, since it is to God's mercy that I speak and not to man's scorn. From Thee too I might have scorn, but Thou wilt return and have compassion on me. ... I only know that the gifts Thy mercy had provided sustained me from the first moment. ... All my hope is naught save in Thy great mercy. Grant what Thou dost command, and command what Thou wilt" (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, 6, 19).
As a young man, Augustine prepared for a career as a teacher of Rhetoric and subsequently taught in Carthage and Rome. Unfortunately, despite having a saint for a mother, as his career progressed, he wandered far from his Christian upbringing, and his life sank into an abyss of pride and lust. Like many young pagan men of his time, he lived with a mistress and conceived a child with her out of wedlock. However, the Lord did not want to lose hold of this lost sheep altogether: thus, inspired by the writings of the Roman philosopher Cicero (and, no doubt, prompted by the Holy Spirit), Augustine began what would prove to be a lifelong search for wisdom. This search took him first to the religious cult called the "Manichees," a strange sect that believed the material world is the product of the powers of "darkness," while the spiritual realm is the realm of "light." After becoming disillusioned with the bizarre theories of the Manichees, Augustine adopted the philosophy of the Neo-Platonists. This was a school of philosophy centered on the writings of the ancient philosopher Plotinus, who described the mystical journey that all people ought to undertake as "the flight of the alone to the Alone," in other words, as a mystical, solitary search for the ineffable Source of all things. In 386, Augustine moved to Milan to a new teaching post, and there, by divine providence, he encountered the preaching of the archbishop of the city, the great theologian St. Ambrose. As a result of the example and preaching of this great saint, as well as the prayers and tears of his saintly mother, Augustine was quickly plunged into a profound inner struggle, wrestling with his sins of the flesh and with temptations to intellectual pride. The turning point of this struggle came in the summer of 386 when Augustine was sitting in a garden, recollecting his past life and gazing into the depths of his own soul. He describes what happened next in his autobiographical Confessions (written in 397)[3]:

Such things I said, weeping in the most bitter sorrow of my heart. And suddenly, I heard a voice from some nearby house, a boy's voice or a girl's voice, I do not know but it was a sort of sing-song repeated again and again, "Take and read, take and read." I ceased weeping and immediately began to search my mind most carefully as to whether children were accustomed to chant these words in any kind of game, and I could not remember that I had ever heard any such thing. Damming back the flood of my tears I arose, interpreting the incident as quite certainly a divine command to open my book of Scripture and read the passage at which I should open. ... I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the passage upon which my eyes first fell: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in its concupiscences" (Rom 13:13). I had no wish to read further, and no need. For in that instant, with the very ending of the sentence, it was as though a light of utter confidence shone in my heart, and all the darkness of uncertainty vanished away.

Then we [Augustine and his friend Alypius] went in to my mother and told her, to her great joy. We related how it had come about: she was filled with triumphant exultation and praised You who are mighty beyond what we ask or conceive: for she saw that You had given her more than with all her pitiful weeping she had ever asked. For You converted me to Yourself ... (Confessions, 8.11-12).

A prayer by St. Augustine
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy;
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, That I love but what is holy;
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy;
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, That I always may be holy. Amen.[4]

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Battle for the Soul of America-Day 13

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