Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Patron, Doctor of Grace

My patronal feast day deserves an Augustinian round up!

The Doctor of Grace, a giant in the history of Christianity, and my chosen patron. The latter of the three seems the least important to everyone else but me. St. Augustine's Confessions was the first exclusively Catholic book I ever read. I did not read a modern translation however. I read the Frank J. Sheed edition which is highly poetic and difficult. It is also the classic English version. For me it worked as a plus because I had to really really pay attention to ever word for comprehension.

Some of the most well known areas for St. Augustine are his teachings on the Trinity, the Biblical Canon, and Baptism.

Wikipedia has this on Bible Canon history:
(Augustine's part highlighted)

In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books as what would become the New Testament canon,[7] and he used the word "canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them.[8] The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it stands today, together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was repeated by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.[9] Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above...

I want to give you a few Augustinian nuggets to take throughout your day. They are some of my favorites and maybe they can draw you closer to this magnificent man in Western history.

A wonderful night prayer of St. Augustine that everyone and anyone should use:

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest Your weary ones. Bless Your dying ones. Soothe Your suffering ones. Pity Your afflicted ones. Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen.

A prayer of St. Augustine in my Missal for communion time: (I often read this prayer before I was confirmed and able to receive)

Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You,
And desire nothing save only You.
Let me hate myself and love You.
Let me do everything for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You.
Let me think of nothing except You.
Let me die to myself and live in You.
Let me accept whatever happens as from You.
Let me banish self and follow You,
And ever desire to follow You.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You,
That I may deserve to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear You,
And let me be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in You.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.
Let me cling to nothing save only to You,
And let me be poor because of You.
Look upon me, that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You,
And for ever enjoy You. Amen.

St. Augustine explains his belief in the Church: (379 A.D.)

"In the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should...With you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me... No one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion... For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."

Some other quotes:

-Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet.

-Jesus Christ will be Lord of all, or he will not be Lord at all.

More resources:
Life of St. Augustine of Hippo at New Advent.org
Pope John Paul II's
Augustinum Hipponensem
(I have yet to read the entire encyclical.)

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