Tag Archives: St Augustine

Don’t let your words contradict your actions, St Augustine tells us

I am not sure you read the Office of Readings in the Divine Office, and if you don’t may I suggest that you begin; the readings from the Church Fathers is rich for meditation. The Liturgy, Mass AND the Divine Office is the daily magisterium for our faith. Today, the Church proposes a a sermon by Saint Augustine of Hippo, a portion of larger piece actually, titled “Sing to the Lord a new song.” Augustine says SO much worth chewing on, and so I find it difficult pointing out from the text only one item.

Perhaps one of the following points is worthy of our meditation today: “anyone who has learned to love the new life [new life in Christ] has learned to sing a new song,” or “what is the object of your love?” or that “God loved us first and therefore we are capable of loving,” or “do we know how to sing with our voices, our hearts, our lips and our lives?” or “is Augustine pointing ought the obvious that we can’t comprehend making sure our words don’t contradict our lives?”

Read Saint Augustine’s Semon 34….

Sing to the Lord
a new song; his praise is in the assembly of the saints. We are urged to sing a
new song to the Lord, as new men who have learned a new song. A song is a thing
of joy; more profoundly, it is a thing of love. Anyone, therefore, who has
learned to love the new life has learned to sing a new song, and the new song
reminds us of our new life. The new man, the new song, the new covenant, all
belong to the one kingdom of God, and so the new man will sing a new song and will
belong to the new covenant.

There is not one who does not love something, but
the question is, what to love. The psalms do not tell us not to love, but to
choose the object of our love. But how can we choose unless we are first
chosen? We cannot love unless someone has loved us first. Listen to the apostle
John: We love him, because he first loved us. The source of man’s love for God
can only be found in the fact that God loved him first
. He has given us himself
as the object of our love, and he has also given us its source. What this source
is you may learn more clearly from the apostle Paul who tells us: The love of
God has been poured into our hearts. This love is not something we generate
ourselves; it comes to us through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

we have such an assurance, then, let us love God with the love he has given us.
As John tells us more fully: God is love, and whoever dwells in love dwells in
God, and God in him. It is not enough to say: Love is from God. Which of us
would dare to pronounce the words of Scripture: God is love? He alone could say
it who knew what it was to have God dwelling within him. God offers us a short
route to the possession of himself. He cries out: Love me and you will have me
for you would be unable to love me if you did not possess me already.

My dear
brothers and sons, fruit of the true faith and holy seed of heaven, all you who
have been born again in Christ and whose life is from above, listen to me; or
rather, listen to the Holy Spirit saying through me: Sing to the Lord a new
song. Look, you tell me, I am singing. Yes indeed, you are singing; you are
singing clearly, I can hear you. But make sure that your life does not
contradict your words
. Sing with your voices, your hearts, your lips and your
lives: Sing to the Lord a new song.

Now it is your unquestioned desire to sing
of him whom you love, but you ask me how to sing his praises. You have heard
the words: Sing to the Lord a new song, and you wish to know what praises to
sing. The answer is: His praise is in the assembly of the saints; it is in the
singers themselves. If you desire to praise him, then live what you express.
Live good lives, and you yourselves will be his praise.

Sermo 34, 1-3. 5-6:
CCL 42, 424-426)

Christ’s glorified body heals us of disbelief

Incredulity of Thomas.jpgLooking at Luke 24:38ff Christ says, “Why are you troubled, and doubts arise in your heart? Look at my hands and my feet, touch and see.”

Commenting on appearance of Christ in His glorified body, Saint Augustine of Hippo in Sermon 246 tells us that Christ wanted to offer evidence of His resurrection from the dead as a reality!  “Was He perhaps already ascended to the Father when He said: ‘Touch me and see’? He let His disciples touch Him, indeed, not only touch but feel, to provide a foundation for faith in the reality of His flesh, in reality of His body [ut fides fiat verae carnis veri corporis]. The well-foundedness of the reality had to be made obvious also through human touch [ut exhibibeatur etiam tactibus humanis solidatus veritatis]. Thus He let Himself be touched by the disciples.”

Later on Augustine asks about the women who were asked by the Lord not to touch Him because He had yet made the ascension, “What is this inconsistency? The men could not tocuh Him if not here on earth, while the women would be able to touch Him once He ascended to heaven? But what does touching mean if not believing? By faith we touch Christ. And it is better not to touch Him with faith than feel with the hand and not touch Him with faith.”

Augustine points us to the proof Christ offers: faith. “The scar of the wound on His flesh served to heal the wound of disbelief.” The Lord wanted to cure those who disbelieved.

Build Together the City of God, Pope says to Catholic & Orthodox

following is the text Benedict XVI sent to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of
the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on the occasion of the
11th Inter-Christian Symposium, which began today in Rome.

Through you,
venerable brother, in your capacity as president of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity, I have the pleasure and joy of sending a warm and
auspicious greeting to the organizers and participants of the 11th
Inter-Christian Symposium, promoted by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality
of the Pontifical University Antonianum and by the Aristotle Orthodox
Theological Faculty of Thessalonica, planned in Rome from Sept. 3-5.

I am happy
first of all for this initiative of fraternal encounter and exchange on the
common aspects of spirituality, which is beneficial for a closer relationship
between Catholics and Orthodox. In fact, these Symposiums, which began in 1992,
address important and constructive topics for reciprocal understanding and unity
of intention. The fact that it takes place alternatively in a territory of
Catholic or Orthodox majority also allows for real contact with the concrete,
historical, cultural and religious life of our Churches.

In particular, this
year you wished to organize the Symposium in Rome, city that offers all
Christians indelible testimonies of history, archaeology, iconography,
hagiography and spirituality, strong stimulus to advance toward full communion
and above all, the memory of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Protothroni, and of
so many martyrs, ancient witnesses of the faith. Of them, St. Clement of Rome
wrote that “suffering … many insults and torments, they became a most
beautiful example for us” (Cf. Letter to the Corinthians, VI,1).

St Augustine bishop.jpg

The topic
chosen for the next meeting: “St. Augustine in the Western and Eastern
Tradition” — argument intended to be developed in collaboration with the
Patristic Institute Augustinanum — is most interesting to reflect further on
Christian theology and spirituality in the West and in the East, and its
development. The Saint of Hippo, a great Father of the Latin Church, is, in
fact, of fundamental importance for theology and for the West’s very culture,
whereas the reception of his thought in Orthodox theology has revealed itself
to be rather problematic

Hence, to know with historical objectivity and
fraternal cordiality the doctrinal and spiritual riches that make up the
patrimony of the Christian East and West, is indispensable not only to
appreciate them, but also to promote better reciprocal appreciation among all

Therefore, I express cordial wishes that your Symposium is fruitful
in that it discovers doctrinal and spiritual convergences that are useful to
build together the City of God, where his children can live in peace and in
fraternal charity, based on the truth of the common faith
. I assure you of my
prayer for this end, asking the Lord to bless the organizers and the
institutions they represent, the Catholic and Orthodox speakers and all the participants.
May the Grace and peace of the Lord be in your collaborators and in your minds!

In Castel Gandolfo,

August 28, 2009

Benedictus PP. XVI

Saint Augustine of Hippo

St Augustine PPRubens.jpgO blest teacher, light of holy Church, blessed Augustine thou lover of God’s law, plead with the Son of God for us.

O almighty God, hearken to our supplications, and by the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, graciously grant the effect of Thy wonted mercy to those who hope in Thy loving-kindness.

St Augustine, whom we are commemorating today, has some
marvellous thoughts about the invitation found in Psalm 105[104]: “Quaerite
faciem eius semper
– constantly seek his face” (v. 3). 

He points out that
this invitation is not only valid for this life but also for eternity. The
discovery of “God’s Face” is never ending. The further we penetrate
into the splendour of divine love, the more beautiful it is to pursue our
, so that “amore crescente inquisitio crescat inventi – the greater
love grows, the further we will seek the One who has been found” (Enarr.
in Ps 105[104]: 3; CCL 40, 1537).

This is the experience to which, deep down,
we too aspire. May the intercession of the great Bishop of Hippo obtain it for
us! May the motherly help of Mary, the Star of Evangelization whom we now
invoke with the prayer of the Angelus, obtain it for us. (Pope Benedict XVI, 28 August 2005, Angelus)

Saint Augustine on the Ascension of the Lord

We believe in
Jesus whom we have not seen. Those who have seen and touched him with their own
hands, who have heard the word from his mouth, are the ones who have borne
witness to him. It was to teach these things to the world that they were sent
by him. They did not presume to go out on their own initiative. And where did
he send them? You heard the answer to that in the gospel reading: “Go, proclaim
the Good News to every creature under heaven.” The disciples were sent to the
ends of the earth, with signs and wonders accompanying them in confirmation of
their testimony, because they spoke of what they had actually seen.

Ascension Vanni d'Andrea.jpg

We believe in
him though we have not seen him, and we await his return. Whoever waits for him
in faith will rejoice when he comes, but those without faith will be put to
shame at the appearance of what they cannot at present see. Then let us abide
in his words, so that his coming may not put us to shame. In the gospel he
himself says to those who have believed in him: “If you persevere in my word,
you will truly be my disciples.” And to their unspoken question, “What will it
profit us?”, he adds: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you

At present we
possess our salvation in hope, not in fact; we do not yet possess what we have
been promised, but we hope to do so in the future. The one who promised it is
faithful; he will not deceive you, so long as you wait for his promised gift
without growing weary. The truth cannot possibly deceive. Make sure then that
you yourself are not a liar, professing one thing and doing another; keep faith
with him, and he will keep his word to you. If you do not keep faith, it will
be you who deceive yourself, not he who made the promise.

“If you know
that he is righteous, you can be sure that everyone who acts rightly is born of
him.” Our righteousness in this life comes through faith. None but the angels
are perfectly righteous, and they have only a shadow of righteousness in
comparison with God. Nevertheless, if there is any perfect righteousness to be
found in the souls and spirits created by God, it is in the holy angels who are
good and just, who have not fallen away from God nor been thrust out of heaven
by their pride. They abide forever in the contemplation of God’s word and find
their happiness in nothing apart from him who made them. In these is found the
perfection of righteousness, but in us righteousness has its beginning through
faith, as the Spirit leads us.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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