Food for Thought from Saint Augustine for his Feast Day

O, how wonderful is Thy goodness, for it is unlike all other good things. I desire to come to Thee; and all that I have need of on the way I desire from Thee, and chiefly that without which I can not come to Thee. If Thou forsake me, I perish; yet I know that Thou wilt not forsake me unless I forsake Thee; nor will I forsake Thee, for Thou art the highest good. There is none who rightly seeketh Thee that doth not find Thee. He alone seeketh Thee aright whom Thou teachest aright to seek Thee, and how he should seek Thee. O, good Father, free me entirely from the error in which I have hitherto wandered, and yet wander; and teach me the way in which no foe can encounter me before I come to Thee. If I love naught above Thee, I beseech Thee that I may find Thee; and if I desire any thing beyond measure and wrongly, deliver me from it. Make me worthy to behold Thee.

–Saint Augustine’s Soliloquies, Book I


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology

One comment on “Food for Thought from Saint Augustine for his Feast Day

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Nice, apt quote, Kendall. Thanks for posting it.

    I know these feast day threads hardly ever attract notice, but I’ll add a comment about Augustine in terms of his ecumenical significance. This fine quote captures the great Doctor’s immense stress on God’s grace, which has always impressed Protestants, and not least evangelical ones, who find in Augustine an early kindred spirit. And he was, in his zeal for a grace-based Christianity. That is his anti-Pelagian side.

    But the great monk and bishop had another side as well, that is really equally important, i.e., his anti-Donatist side, for Augustine was also fiercely opposed to all church schisms.

    Over a century ago, the great orthodox Princeton (Presbyterian) theologian B. B. Warfield wrote a brilliant essay contending that the Reformation in the 16th century represented the “triumph” of the anti-Pelagian side of Augustine’s legacy over the anti-Donatist side. Or as he put it, the Protestant Reformation represents the “triumph” of Augustine’s (crypto-Protestant) dictrube of grace over his (Catholic) doctrine of the Church.

    Personally, I think Warfield made a colossal mistake in thus pitting the two sides of Augustine against each other. Today, fifty years after the end of Vatican II, one way of expressing the ecumenical challenge that we face in the early years of the third Christian millennium is this. Today the challenge is to rejoin and reintegrate the two sides of the Augustinian inheritance that have, for too long, been separated and kept apart (especially by Protestants).

    Or as I like to whimsically put it, based on the famous words of the Master about divorce in Matt. 19/Mark 10: [i]What Augustine hath joined together, let not lesser minds put asunder.[/i]”

    David Handy+