Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pope Pius XI On St. Augustine

Herein is a great encyclical by Pope Pius XI regarding the holy virtues and life of our beloved St. Augustine, whom we petition and ask that our hearts be touched by that same Lover who touched his heart.
Ad Salutem, papal encyclical by Pius XI

It is quite long, but it is a very skillful and beautiful expression of how powerful the life of St. Augustine is to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Great posts from Dr. Lilles on the life of Prayer

Those who've been reading my posts may see that I try to put a big emphasis on the need for prayer in the Christian life. It is most important for salvation, and no doubt for those who want to study theology, they must strive vigorously for their salvation in Christ. Who would want to be lead by a theologian who does not have Heaven and God's love as his aim?

Anyway I wanted to provide some links to great essays written by Dr. Lilles over at his blog:
Beginning to Pray

To Know Nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch 1, Part 5 of 5

Now we come to the concluding aspects of St. Augustine’s prayer in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch 1. If we might remark on a few themes from St. Augustine’s prayers it might be outlined as follows: The desire to know God and then to adore Him with every single aspect of the heart, no matter how small, the desire to be set free from errors and follow Christ in the fullness of truth, the desire to understand one’s own heart and soul so as to steer it clear of shipwrecks and land in our intended resting place, God, and a desire to have a clean and pure heart. All these things are part of the Augustinian prayer life, we might say, especially the zeal of the heart to place all trust and love in God.

To Know Nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch1 part 4 of 5

Here I remark again in commentary on the prayer of St. Augustine at the outset of his Soliloquies, the famous work in which St. Augustine works out in his own mind what he must do with his life and how he must seek God. We could learn a thing or two from the holy Doctor.

To Know Nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch1, Part 3 of 5

This post regards a third portion of St. Augustine’s prayer in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch1 and so I would like to bring an analysis of the third part of the saints prayers so that we can ourselves learn how to reflect on the prayers handed down to us by the saints, and learn how we ought to pray to the Lord. Our Lord is not concerned with the repetition of vain formulas, as many Protestants rightly try to bring up against Catholics, but He is not opposed to formalized prayers that we may use as an aid to a deeper devotion. One Hail Mary said with great love for our Lord and our Lady will bring great grace to the soul who completes that prayer, imagine then what great grace will be open to the soul who prays the Rosary with complete devotion then! May the Lord then grant us to pray always with our hearts even in the times when we pray the prayers commended to us by others. In fact, let us learn by their wisdom.

Petition Against the HHS contraception mandate (Again)

In past months the United States government has tried to pass mandates that require Catholic institutions though not Catholic churches and parishes to materially provide for contraceptives, even those that may cause the abortion of a newly conceived child before pregnancy occurs, to its entire staff under its health insurance policies. The argument from the United States government states that institutions that are not solely dedicated to spreading a religious message and are not dedicated to solely employing employees of that same religion cannot be exempt from this ruling. This effectively requires Catholic hospitals, charities, schools, and many other Catholic institutions to provide contraception against the will of those who run these institutions. These groups will either eventually be required to cease being Catholic institutions, since the bishop of the diocese grants the title of Catholic to the institution, and become secular institutions, have to be shut down, at the bishop’s will, or in some manner co-operate materially with what is against the Divine law as promulgated through the Church. Catholics are prohibited from using artificial contraception as outlined in Humanae Vitae a papal encyclical that is binding on all Catholics. Here is the official document at the Vatican website: Humanae Vitae

Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Know Nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch1, Part 2 of 5

This post regards a second portion of St. Augustine’s prayer in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch1 and so I bring it to my readers, whoever you may be, as a way to further reflect on the way in which we can strive to be more prayerful and reflective on the love of God that so over abundantly swells in God’s most Sacred Heart for each and every one of us. The mystery of who we are, what we are made for, and who we are cannot be answered by any philosophy, nor can it even be answered fully in the theological thoughts of those still bound to Earth, but the mystery must be experienced and encompassed in the Personal relation to God as most Holy Trinity. This sort of Personal relationship is not the one in which many think it is God reaching into our lives whereby we perceive Him and He speaks and moves us, which is holy indeed but is not the fullness of contemplative prayer, but rather the further and deep contemplative dimension of the highest and saintliest prayers whereby God is truly before us as greater than ourselves and closer to us than our very own selves are, and present as the most intense Divine Lover who we love intensely as well. It is God who moves and builds the heart by His grace to be able to relate to Him in this way. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

To know nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine Solliloquies Bk I Ch 1, Part 1 of 5

This is part one of five small commentaries I hope to create regarding prayer and how we can learn from the Doctor of Grace how to pray. Here is the link to the full text of St. Augustine's prayer in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch 1: To know nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine in Soliloquies Bk 1 Ch 1

Here we will consider a fragment of St. Augustine’s prayer and seek out a greater understanding of his prayer, and of course how it is that we ought to pray.

To Know nothing but God and the Soul: The Prayer of St. Augustine in Soliloquies Bk I Ch 1

The Soliloquies of St. Augustine is an unfinished work of the blessed Doctor written sometime around 387 AD. They reflect a new genre of writing by St. Augustine which he calls a soliloquy, and as such in his work he begins with a dialogue between himself (Augustine) and reason (namely perhaps his reason). And in such manner he seeks to provide a basis and investigation of his faith and his own self-identity. Such marks the Augustinian character of the investigation of the soul with the earnest desire for God Who is Truth. Below I will give his prayer to God which his reason dictates is appropriate for him to do if he is to advance in knowing what is true and what is false, what good and what evil. This is much the saint’s recognition of his state as a wayfarer in this life and marks out for himself a way for him to find comfort in the truth. Yet perhaps it is more Augustinian to say the Truth finds us than we find the Truth.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reading the Psalms with St. Augustine: Psalm 1

Here I want to introduce a theme here at The Restless Heart of St. Augustine and remark that though St. Augustine was heavily devoted to doling out the orthodox teachings of the Church in theology he put a greater emphasis on learning to love God and in Him love the soul and neighbor with all our heart. It is one thing to desire to learn about God and the Church, but another to have the fire of Divine love burn in us and fill us with saving grace and wisdom. As this Lenten season begins today, let us set aside the things of this world and focus on those of the next world. I will try to put down posts regularly as pertaining to St. Augustine and/or the three focuses of Lent (alms-giving, prayer, and fasting [penance]).

Monday, February 20, 2012

St. Augustine on the Chair of St. Peter and the Petrine Office

Yesterday was the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, a feast that commemorates the office which St. Peter held in the Church as the leader of the Apostles. The feast draws upon the tradition of St. Peter’s authority in the Roman See and the seat by which he sat in his authority. In some manner than St. Augustine in his numerous writings reflects on the nature of this Apostolic See (of which city both St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred), though some might wonder whether this is the full on Roman primacy that we see in other authors of the same time, and more to the point whether this Roman primacy has the same effect and nature as it did in the Medieval Church. Though St. Augustine’s interpretation of Matthew 16 varies at times he still speaks of the honor which the Apostolic See has, and the manner in which it need be respected as a See of nobility.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Early thoughts on Divine Illumination and Wisdom in On the Happy Life

St. Augustine’s earliest work begun is On the Happy Life, which consists primarily of St. Augustine’s dialogue and exposition of what is necessary in order to have a truly blessed life. To no one’s surprise it consists in the capacity to know God who leads us to truth, to understand and comprehend the truth enjoyed (God), and the bond of these two that connects us with the supreme measure (God)1. Similarly for the early St. Augustine, this happy life is necessarily tied to the rational faculties of the mind by which when fully following them we will be fully blessed. This corresponds to the way of wisdom and happiness here for the early St. Augustine who is so concerned with knowing truth and obtaining wisdom, which for him is inexorably tied to an intimate and soulful connection with God.

St. Augustine’s faith in the Cassiciacum around 386 AD

This post is a brief post regarding the sometimes heard opinion that St. Augustine was more a convert to Neo-platonism rather than Christianity when he spent his times within the walls of the Cassiciacum (which is near Milan) in the year 386. While St. Augustine during the year 386 was heavily neo-Platonist influenced as one can see by reading his early works, it is not sensible to deny that he believed in Christianity and that he desired to be baptized. Let us examine some quotes from his earliest works here to see his professions of faith.