Rosy, the Hippo
Wednesday May 31st 2006, 6:06 am
Filed under: Patristics

St. Augustine (via Father John Zuhlsdorf) helps us to prepare for Pentecost.

For Augustine, the search and contemplation of the Trinity conforms us to the image of God by thinking of him and loving him. For Augustine, there are stages of this search and conversion

1) credere Deo … to believe by means of God
2) credere Deum … to believe God
3) credere in Deum … to believe in God
4) credendo in Deum ire … to go on by believing in God

Augustine was deeply, passionately, fiercely interested in love. Often and appropriately he is depicted with a burning heart. For Augustine, belief and love were intertwined. He described love as a gravitational force pulling us to where we by nature belong. Some people think the old man was a terrible pessimist about the human condition, especially as he got older, was worn down by constant theological battles and pastoral burdens and deteriorating health. If he saw the negative side of the human condition, he knew with absolute conviction that love was its solution. This conviction grew as the years passed. The great Augustinian scholar A.-M. La Bonnardiere found that between 387-429, Augustine (+430) quoted Romans 5:5 at least 201 times. Augustine rarely used Romans 5:5 before 411 (the year Rome was sacked by Alaric). Romans 5:5 is found more frequently between 411-421 when he was fighting with Pelagians about grace. Many references continue from 421 until his death while he was engaged in his bitter fight with the bête noir of his old age Julian of Eclanum.

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