Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Special Guest...

Rome will be chaotic over the next few days as the city seeks to cope with the necessary security arrangements for the 25 European leaders visiting the city. However, a much more important and influential visitor will be arriving in just over a week's time. The relics of St. Augustine will be in Rome from Nov 7th-15th as part of the celebrations of the 1650th Anniversary of his birth. He will be in the Augustinian church of S. Agostino (where his mother St. Monica lies) with brief visits to the Augustinianum, the Pope's private chapel and Ostia. In his Confessions, he wrote about Monica's death at Ostia:
... she was prostrated by fever; and while she was sick, she one day sank into a swoon, and was 'for a short time unconscious of visible things. We hurried up to her; but she soon regained her senses, and gazing on me and my brother as we stood by her, she said to us inquiringly, "Where was I?" Then looking intently at us stupefied with grief, "Here," saith she, "shall you bury your mother." I was silent, and refrained from weeping; but my brother said something, wishing her, as the happier lot, to die in her own country and not abroad. She, when she heard this, with anxious countenance arrested him with her eye, as savouring of such things, and then gazing at me, "Behold," saith she, "what he saith;" and soon after to us both she saith, "Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the Lord's altar, wherever you be." And when she had given forth this opinion in such words as she could, she was silent, being in pain with her increasing sickness.

In other news, I guess this is POD Buddhist style - the monks are paying homage to the new King of Cambodia, a former ballet-dancer. (Honestly, that's what the Italian says...)

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