Update St Augustine 2012

I've added a few more reflections on the feast day of St Augustine and these two erudite articles from The British Jesuits Thinking Faith site.

Click here for one titled Augustine's Thinking Faith by Anthony Meredith SJ who teaches Theology at Heythrop College, University of London.

and click here for one titled Saint For All Seasons, where Bishop Michael Campbell looks at the Saint of Hippo’s continuing influence on the Church today and asks what is it about Augustine’s life story, as told in his Confessions, that can still captivate modern readers ?
(Rt Rev Michael Campbell OSA is Bishop of Lancaster, and the first Augustinian Friar to be ordained in England since the Reformation.)
My previous post on St Augustine and his mother Monica is here.

Restless Heart,” a feature film about the famous theologian St. Augustine of Hippo, is now available for sponsored theatrical screenings across the U.S. 

 430 AD. The Roman Empire is beginning to crumble. The Vandals and other marauding tribes spill through the gaps in Roman defenses. And one of the greatest saints of the Christian church stands between his flock and the barbarian invaders. As he attempts to negotiate between the proud Roman authorities and the implacable Vandal king, Bishop Augustine recalls his own life before Christianity...

In this stirring and epic new film on the life of St. Augustine of Hippo, follow the great saint as he rises from his reckless days as a youth to his accomplishments as a renowned but dissolute orator. Though worldly success and riches come his way, including a position in the imperial court of Milan, satisfaction and peace elude him. It takes a confrontation with the Christian bishop Ambrose and the countless prayers offered by his patient mother, Monica, to break through his intellectual pride.

Here's the trailer...........

 St Augustine Conversion Scene

St Augustine's Homily on Love

Text of St Augustine's Homily 

If you keep silent, keep silent by love: if you speak, speak by love; if you correct, correct by love; if you pardon, pardon by love; let love be rooted in you, and from the root nothing but good can grow. Love and do what you will.

Love enures in adversity, is moderate in prosperity; brave under harsh sufferings, cheerful in good works; utterly reliable in temptation, utterly open-handed in hospitality; as happy as can be among true brothers and sisters, as patient as you can get among the false ones. 

The soul of the scriptures, the force of prophecy, the saving power of the sacraments, the fruit of faith, the wealth of the poor, the life of the dying.
Love is all.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

 From Fr. Richard Rohr OFM:

Jesus is giving us a win-win worldview (which is why it is called Good News!), but what the ego invariably does with the Gospel is make it into a win-lose game. That’s the only way the dualistic mind can think. You’re either in or you’re out. It defines itself largely by what it is not. The mystical or non-dual mind is alone capable of win-win.
Yet we don’t know how to include, how to forgive, how to pour mercy and compassion and patience upon events as God apparently does. 
Augustine of Hippo, a man filled with contradictions, was a master at holding those contradictions within himself and before God. 
He describes the power and simultaneously the deep powerlessness of true God experience. Faith absolutely knows and yet it does not know at all—and is content with this! Thus true believers are very humble and yet quietly confident in the same moment.

Lose my life, find my life.

Red Poppy
Red Poppy (Photo credit: Landahlauts)
A great article from Fr. Rohr in Huffington Post here titled 
Extract is below :

In the 4th century St. Augustine said that "the church consists in the state of communion of the whole world" (Ecclesiam in totius orbis communione consistere).  

Wherever we are connected, in right relationship, you might say "in love," there is the Christ, the Body of God, and there is the church. 
But we whittled that Great Mystery down into something small, exclusive, and manageable too. The church became a Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant private club, and not necessarily with people who were "in communion" with anything else, usually not with the natural world, animals, with non-Christians, or even with other Christians outside their own denomination. 

It became a very tiny salvation, hardly worthy of the name. God was not very victorious at all. 

Our very suffering now, our condensed presence on this common nest that we have fouled, will soon be the one thing that we finally share in common. 

It might well be the one thing that will bring us together. The earth and its life systems on which we all entirely depend (just like God!) might soon become the very thing that will convert us to a simple Gospel lifestyle, to necessary community, and to an inherent and universal sense of the holy.

I know it is no longer words, doctrines, and mental belief systems that can or will reveal the fullness of this Cosmic Christ. 

This earth indeed is the very Body of God, and it is from this body that we are born, live, suffer, and resurrect to eternal life. Either all is God's Great Project, or we may rightly wonder whether anything is God's Great Project. 

One wonders if we humans will be the last to accept this.
"From the beginning until now, the entire creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth, and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan inwardly, as we wait for our bodies to be set free" (Romans 8:22-23).

 It seems that St. Paul is saying here that we human ones might be the last ones to jump aboard God's great plan. There is the groaning of growing in all of creation, and the groaning of resisting and "waiting" in us humans.
All of creation, it seems, has been obedient to its destiny, "each mortal thing does one thing and the same ... myself it speaks and spells, crying 'What I do is me, for that I came'" (Gerard Manley Hopkins, When Kingfishers Catch Fire).

 Wouldn't it be our last and greatest humiliation, surely the "first being last," (Matt. 20:16) if we one day realized that all other creatures have obeyed their destiny unblinkingly and with trustful surrender. Watch the plants and animals!

It is only humans who have resisted "the one great act of giving birth," and in fact have frequently chosen death for themselves and for so many others."

From Radical Grace, April-May-June, Volume 23, Number 2, 2010. Used with permission.

The poet Tagore, like Augustine, had an instinct for the aesthetics and beauty of God's eternal creation, but also tapped into the pain hollowness and emptiness that sometimes is a companion of faith. The good news is that God always invites us everyday to be filled with His/Her Love.

       Image source
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life. 

This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new. 

At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable. 


Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine.

 Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill." 

Rabindranath Tagore
: from Gitanjali : Song Offerings

Of all visible things, the world is the greatest; of all invisible, the greatest
is God. But, that the world is, we see; that God is, we believe. 

(Augustine of Hippo)

Everyday God 

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