August 28, 2008

Augustine

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

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Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is August 28th, 2008: the feast of Blessed Augustine of Hippo.

If you know only one name from the early Church, the chances are that the name is Augustine of Hippo. His autobiography, his Confessions, is read by many, oftentimes in college Western Civilization classes. Much of what we understand as basic Christian theology comes directly from his work, and even those idea of his which have fallen out of favor from time to time always cycle back as we continue to struggle with what it means to follow Jesus of Nazareth.

Because of his fame and his wide respect, I find his shady background comforting. In his Confessions he admits his past as a thief and general ne’er-do-well. He even had a child out of wedlock. For a long time he was involved with the Manicheans, a Gnostic sect that rejected the material world and tried to escape it through extreme ascetical practices. In the end, God’s constant call brought him back to the true faith.

One of my favorite theological statements of his is about the nature of the Church. He argued that the Church is called “holy” because God created it that way, not because of the holiness of any individual member, or even based on the collective holiness of all Christians. I really need to remember sometimes that God is the source of all good things, and that we should be thankful rather than prideful.

Augustine also wrote a very famous, and very long, book called The City of God, in which he contrasts the kingdoms of this world with the God’s kingdom. Perhaps that’s why we read a bit from Hebrews that ends, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews 12:22-24,28-29)

Augustine died on this day in the year 430, in his adopted city of Hippo, where he had been chosen bishop.

Let us pray: Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us on August 31st at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Blessed Aidan. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

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