Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Marian post (3)

Our Lady, St Monica and St Augustine

This is the third and last of my Marian posts to celebrate the Assumption. It concerns Our Lady of Consolation.

Most years I do my "back to school novena" to Our Lady of Consolation. The Augustinians celebrate this feast on the 4th September so the novena starts on the 27th August, for others the feast day is the 20th June. I know about the novena thanks to the Augustinian Recollects in Devon, you can find more out about them here. Once you are on their mailing list, they notify you about various novenas they support throughout the year, for each one you can have your petitions placed at the foot of their altar. They also do the "piety lists" for Holy Souls in November, I'm staggered how many parishes have stopped doing this, if your parish has stoppped this then why not support the Augustinians? I'm very fond of them, in particular for their simple and effective promotion of popular piety. Anyway I'm way off topic.....

Back to Our Lady of Consolation.

I have read that "we are not on this earth to pick the flowers of consolation" and I agree whole heartedly with this statement. The sense of consolation in this life consists of brief moments of respite, each one somewhat transient, but with grace at work, you know that the real flowers of consolation await in heaven. This allows you to enjoy the sensation of consolation while it lasts and move on to face the next battle, we are the Church Militant afterall, knowing the consolation is still there even when you can't feel it.

The Augustinian tradition has Our Lady of Consolation giving St Monica a leather cincture which she gave to her son. Augustinians still wear it today. The cincture signifies chastity and I have the feeling that nothing would have given St Augustine more consolation than chastity, he spent so much of his life engaged in and fighting the voluptuous pleasures.

And isn't this the point of the appeal of praying to Our Lady of Consolation? She knows what is best for us and it will involve hard discipline (like chastity). Consolation isn't about warm cosy feelings, big hugs and hot chocolate, it is about the grace to uphold a vrituous life. It is about our willful ordering of ourselves to the will of our Creator and this is a tall order but who better to assist than the Mother of God?

Have I ever told you how difficult I find teaching?

Our Lady of Consolation, pray for us.

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