Saint Augustine

Augustine

Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) was one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, there considered to be one of the church fathers. He framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is a saint, and his feast day is celebrated annually on June 15, though a minority are of the opinion that he is a heretic, primarily because of his statements concerning what became known as the filioque clause. Among the Orthodox he is called Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed. “Blessed” here does not mean that he is less than a saint, but is a title bestowed upon him as a sign of respect. The Orthodox do not remember Augustine so much for his theological speculations as for his writings on spirituality.

Born in present day Algeria as the eldest son of Saint Monica, he was educated in North Africa and baptized in Milan. His works—including The Confessions, which is often called the first Western autobiography—are still read around the world.

My heart is restless ‘til it finds rest in Thee

-Saint Augustine

“Light of my heart, do not let my darkness speak to me.”

-Saint Augustine

Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you! You were within me, and I was outside; and I sought you outside and in my loneliness fell upon those lovely things that you have made. You were with me, but I was not with you. I was kept from you by those things, yet had they not been in you, they would not have been at all. You called me and cried to me and broke open my deafness; you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness; you breathed your fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and now I pant for you; I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you; you touched me, and I burn for your peace.

-Saint Augustine

You have put salt in our mouths that we may thirst for you

-Saint Augustine

That you may love God, let him dwell in you and love Himself through you

-Saint Augustine

A temptation arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the time to awaken Christ and let Him remind you of those words, “Who can this be? even the winds and the sea obey Him.”

-Saint Augustine

It was my old “mistresses,” the most vain and trifling of things that held me back. They tugged gently at the sleeve of my flesh, and whispered softly in my ear: “can you really part from us? From this moment on shall we never be with you again?” What shameful things they suggested! And then I hardly heard them speaking, for they were not openly contradicting me face to face, but rather stood muttering softly behind my back and they slyly tugged at me from behind as I left them, trying to make me look back at them. In this way they held me back as I hesitated to shake them loose, snatch myself away and leap over to the place where you, Lord were calling me.

-St. Augustine

When my old habits whisper to me, Lord, drown out their temptations with the thunder of your voice, calling me to walk with you. But now the voice of my old unruly habit was faint, for in the very direction I had turned in the place to which I had decided, still trembling to go, I saw the chaste dignity of Self-Control. She stretched forth those holy hands of hers, full of a multitude of good examples, to receive and embrace me. In her company there were so many young men and maidens, a multitude of youth of every age with Self-Control herself in their midst, not at all barren, but a fruitful mother of joys-her children by you, Lord, her Husband. And she encouraged me with a playful smile as if to say: “cant you do what even these young people have done? Why do you stand in your own strength? so that you fail to stand at all. Cast yourself on Him!

-St. Augustine

The whole of life of the Christian is a holy longing

-St. Augustine

Let the wickedness around and within you drive you to the mercy of God. Let the loss of all that fades and decays wean you from the fickle love of a fleeting world. He is the One we should love. He is our eternal Sabbath, our place of final repose

-Saint Augustine

Man desires to praise you, Lord, for he is one of your creatures. Though he bears the mark of death wherever he goes as a testimony to his sin—a reminder that you resist the proud. Yet still because man is your creation, he desires to praise you. You move us to delight in praising you. God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.

-St. Augustine

Oh God, stay with me. Let no word cross my lips, that is not your words, no thought enter my mind that is not your thought, no deed ever be done or entertained by me that is not your deed.

-St. Augustine

And while we spoke of the eternal Wisdom, longing for it and straining for it with all the strength of our hearts, for one fleeting instant we reached out and touched it. Then, with a sigh, leaving our spiritual harvest bound to it, we returned to the sounds of our own speech, in which each word has a beginning and an ending- far, far different from your Word, our Lord, who abides in Himself for ever, yet never grows old and gives new life to all things.

-St. Augustine

For even now, my soul, you have become tired of this world’s empty deceits. Entrust to the truth whatever you have of the truth, and you shall lose nothing…what is decayed will once again flourish; what is diseased will be healed; whatever in you that is perishable will be transformed and renewed and made whole again. And what is perishable in you will not pull you down to the grave, but will stand with you and abide forever in heaven, before God who abides and endures forever. Why then my soul, are you being perverse by following the lead of the perishable flesh? Rather let the flesh turn around and follow you.

-St. Augustine

(He sought the key to the happiness for which his heart yearned. Yet he writes to God), “In those ambitions I suffered the bitterest difficulties; that was by your mercy—so much the greater in that you gave me the less occasion to find sweet pleasure in what was not you

-Saint Augustine

Your persistent longing is your persistent voice. But when love grows cold, the heart grows silent. Burning love is the outcry of the heart! If you are filled with longing all the time, you will keep crying out, and if your love perseveres, your cry will be heard without fail.

-Saint Augustine

There can only be two basic loves, the love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self to the forgetfulness of God

-Saint Augustine

Seek not to understand so that thou might believe, but believe so that thou might understand

-St. Augustine

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