Selected Writings

Selected Writings

Selected Writings

Selected Writings

Excerpt

May hymns and weeping ascend in
your sight from the hearts of my
brethren, your censers.

—Confessions, X.4.5

In 1986 we will celebrate the sixteenth centenary of the conversion of St. Augustine. This work of Mary T. Clark comes just in time for many people to prepare for the celebration of this event. It would be a pity indeed if the festivities were limited to a few congresses or colloquia for scholars. It would, moreover, be contrary to the spirit of Augustine, for as a shepherd of souls he did not favor the intellectual elite. F. Van der Meer expressed it well:

The best was not good enough for him, and even when he was speaking to rudes and idiotae he kept nothing back. What he gave out amongst them was that by which he himself lived: "To give you all bread which you can touch and see, that is something which I cannot do", he once said at a distribution of alms on the anniversary of his consecration, "but this word is your portion. I give you the nourishment on which I myself subsist. I am your fellow servant, not the father of your household". It was wholly alien to Augustine to seek to achieve some higher gnosis for himself and to preach some kind of vulgarized religion to his people. He knew no ranks in the school of God.... He has no hesitation in broaching problems which are solved indirectly or by implication in Scripture but are not explicitly stated or treated here.

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