Although the roman calendar celebrates no feast day today, the Augustinian calendar celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentine a thirteenth century saint known for his holiness and love for the poor. It is also the feast day of my former spiritual director, a good and holy priest, Fr. Howie McGraw. Celebrating Mass at St. Augustine parish this morning, I heard the readings from St. Nicholas’ Mass. The Old Testament reading from the book of Sirach, chapter 2 is one of my favorites. I share it with you today for your prayer and reflection. The last verse always gets me, “for equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows” (Sir 2:18, paraphrased).
St. Nicholas of Tolentine, pray for us! Anne
My child, when you come to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
and do not be impetuous in time of adversity.
Cling to him, do not leave him,
that you may prosper in your last days.
Accept whatever happens to you;
in periods of humiliation be patient.
For in fire gold is tested,
and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust in God, and he will help you;
make your ways straight and hope in him.
You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy,
do not stray lest you fall.
You that fear the Lord, trust in him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You that fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
Consider the generations long past and see:
has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been ignored?
For the Lord is compassionate and merciful;
forgives sins and saves in time of trouble.
Woe to timid hearts and drooping hands,
to the sinner who walks a double path!
Woe to the faint of heart! For they do not trust,
and therefore have no shelter!
Woe to you that have lost hope!
what will you do at the Lord’s visitation?
Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words;
those who love him keep his ways.
Those who fear the Lord seek to please him;
those who love him are filled with his law.
Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts
and humble themselves before him.
Let us fall into the hands of the Lord
and not into the hands of mortals,
For equal to his majesty is his mercy;
and equal to his name are his works.