Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest, and Companions

July 10

“St. Augustine Zhao Rong”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest, and Companions, Chinese Martyrs

Additional Information about St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

1 John 5:1-5

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Commentary on 1 Jn 5:1-5

The beginning of this chapter from St. John’s first letter provides us with an understanding of Christ and God being of the same essence. “Children of God are identified not only by their love for others (1 John 4:7-9) and for God (1 John 5:1-2) but by their belief in the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. Faith, the acceptance of Jesus in his true character and the obedience in love to God's commands (1 John 5:3), is the source of the Christian's power in the world and conquers the world of evil (1 John 5:4-5), even as Christ overcame the world (John 16:33).”[3]
CCC: 1 Jn 5:1 2780, 2790
Psalm 126:1b-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3a) The Lord has done marvels for us.

 When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
 we were like men dreaming.
 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

 Then they said among the nations,
 "The LORD has done great things for them."
 The LORD has done great things for us;
 we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
 like the torrents in the southern desert.
 Those that sow in tears
 shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

 Although they go forth weeping,
 carrying the seed to be sown,
 They shall come back rejoicing,
 carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Commentary on Ps 126:1bc-2ab. 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

Psalm 126 is a lament. In this short psalm the singer rejoices at the return of Israel following the Diaspora, the conquering of Israel and its enslavement. In this hymn, the people remember the greatness of God as he restores their nation and brings the people back to their own land ("Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves."). The sense is one of being overflowing with thanksgiving.

John 12:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me."
Commentary on John 12:24-26

Jesus has made his final entry into Jerusalem.  His hour is at hand and, in the presence of Gentiles as well as his disciples he reflects on his salvific mission.  St. John’s passage, given here, is foundational to our understanding of the Paschal Mystery. Using the analogy of the grain of wheat, the Lord invites us to his own sacrifice.

"Beautifully, Christ begins to elucidate the mystery of his atoning death.  If it be thought strange that he must die in order to bring life, let it be remembered that this paradox already exists in nature.  The grain of wheat left to itself produces nothing; only when it appears to have died and has been buried does it bring forth fruit - in far greater abundance than itself (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:36)." [4]

Out of the Lord's analogy, wheat that comes from the seemingly dead and buried seed becomes the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Into the body's death to sin in Baptism, we are invited to share the salvation that comes from following Christ from death to life.

CCC: Jn 12:24 2731

(No reflection has been written for this new addition – summary provided by Universalis)

Augustine Zhao Rong was one of the Chinese soldiers who escorted Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse to his execution. Moved by his patience, he asked to be baptized, and in due course was sent to the seminary and ordained a priest. He was arrested and savagely tortured. He died in 1815.

With him are celebrated 119 of his companions in martyrdom in China between 1648 and 1930 (including Bishop Dufresse).

Official persecution of Christians by the Emperors ceased in 1842, but violent anti-religious sentiments persisted, and in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, Christians were particularly attacked and many thousands were killed.

[1] The icon is “St. Augustine Zhao Rong” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL).  This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[3] See NAB footnote on 1 John 5:1ff

[4] Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice Hall, Inc., © 1968, 63:131, pp. 449

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