This short passage reflects the life of St Augustine of Canterbury. It tells of the missionary work of Jesus and how he brought hope to the people. England had been a Christian nation but had fell back in paganism. Pope Gregory the great asked Augustine to go to England and try to reconvert it. He did this very successfully. Augustine was a great preacher, organiser and teacher. He was an exceptionally holy man who led by example. England as a nation was not yet formed. Augustine helped bring the warring tribes to some sort of peace and laid the groundwork for the future development of England as one united country. In this he was bringing good news in a practical manner. He was a true shepherd to the people. Although since the Reformation England has not been a Catholic country, she played an important role in the Church in Europe up 'til the time of Henry VIII, and in Bede the Venerble, who is a Doctor of the Church, along with at least four very important mystics of the 14th century, she has given great inspiration to the Catholic world. The writings of Julian of Norwich, Walter Hilton and the book "the Cloud of Unknowing" are among the best produced by any mystics. Here is a very famous speech that St Augustine of Canterbury made on arriving in England towards the end of the 590s. It is great.
Pope St. Gregory the Great sent today’s saint along with thirty monks to bring to the Angle people the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us ask St. Augustine to pray with us today that priests, consecrated men and women, and lay people who work in the Church, may understand how to bring missionary enthusiasm to the communities they serve. Our reflection is from a speech that St. Augustine of Canterbury gave to King Ethelbert when he arrived in England.
Your everlasting peace, O king, and that of your kingdom is the object we desire to promote in coming here. We bring you news of never-ending joy. Do not regard us as superstitious because we have been at pains to come from Rome to your dominions for the sake of your salvation and that of your subjects. Do not see us as coming to force upon an unknown people benefits against their will. Be assured that only a great love constrains us to do this. For we long, beyond all the desires and glory of the world, to have as many fellow citizens with us as we can in the kingdom of God. We strive with all our efforts to prevent those from perishing, who may be advanced to the company of the holy angels.
The loving-kindness of Christ has everywhere infused goodwill into preachers of his truth. Thus without thought of themselves they burn with zeal for the salvation of all nations. Moved, too, by such love as this, Gregory, the present father of all Christendom, thirsts ardently for your salvation. He would have come to you himself had he been able, but he cannot leave the care of so many souls committed to his charge. Therefore, he has sent us in his place to open to you the way of everlasting light and the gate of the kingdom of heaven. You will reign there forever if you reject the idols of the devil and decide to enter through Christ.