Tag Archives: St Augustine

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

The
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
Christians
.

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
search
, 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
free.”

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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