No one can read chapter 11 of Book IX of St. Augustine’s Confessions without tears.
Reading St. Monica’s words so moved Matthew Arnold that he turned this sonnet:
‘Oh could thy grave at home, at Carthage, be!’—
Care not for that, and lay me where I fall.
Everywhere heard will be the judgement-call.
But at God’s altar, oh! remember me.
Thus Monica, and died in Italy.
Yet fervent had her longing been, through all
Her course, for home at last, and burial
With her own husband, by the Libyan sea.
Had been; but at the end, to her pure soul
All tie with all beside seem’d vain and cheap,
And union before God the only care.
Creeds pass, rites change, no altar standeth whole;
Yet we her memory, as she pray’d, will keep,
Keep by this: Life in God, and union there!
Indeed. But the poet has missed the mark. St. Monica begged to be remembered at the altar. Union with God–we find it at the altar.
Some of our beloved separated Christian brethren ask us, How did the Last Supper become the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
The answer is two-fold: