St. Augustine in the 21st Century

As Christians, we are called to do two things. The first is to “love God with our whole heart, mind and body.” The second is to “love one another as Christ loves us.” Neither of these two commands are we called to judge anyone. And when we come face to face with the Father we certainly will have as our advocate the Holy Spirit, defending us from our transgressions. If we are called to love and not judge, why then, are so many Christians feeling the need to be judge and jury of our neighbor? Many state that there is a war on Christianity here in the United States, but when individuals use their faith and begin to judge our brothers and sisters well it can become a cause for defensive shields to be raised instead of healing to take place. Did not Jesus tell His disciples “to give to Cesar what is Cesar’s and to God what is God’s” ? What is most important in regards to the foundations of our faith that is seldom spoken of these days was spoken by one of the Church’s greatest Saints, St. Augustine. I am going to write the exact words St. Augustine wrote because these words are so important for our time. They are taken from the Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings for Friday, September 18. ” A sermon on Pastors by St. Augustine.” “Prepare your souls for temptation. For if he has been taught to hope for worldly gain, he will be corrupted by prosperity. When adversity comes, he will be wounded or perhaps destroyed. The builder who builds in such manner is not building the believer on a rock but upon sand. Christians must imitate Christ’s sufferings not set their hearts on pleasures. Yes, expect the temptations of this world, but the Lord will deliver you from them all if your heart has not abandoned Him. For it was to strengthen your heart that He came to suffer, and die, came to be spit upon and crowned with thorns, came to be accused of shameful things, yes, came to be fastened to the wood of the Cross. All these things He did for you, and you did nothing. He did not do them for Himself, but for you. God made no such promise that we would have worldly riches. On the contrary, God foretold hardship upon hardship in this world until the end of time. And you want the Christian to be exempt from these troubles? Precisely because he is a Christian, he is destined to suffer more in this world. For the Apostle says, “All who desire to live a holy life in Christ will suffer persecution.” You say instead “If you live a holy life in Christ, all good things will be yours in abundance.” Is this the way you build up the believer? You have built him on sand. Lift him up from the sand and place him on the rock. Let him turn his thoughts to sufferings, however unworthy they may be in comparison to Christ’s. Let him consider Scripture, which says to him: “He chastises every son whom he acknowledges. Let him prepare to be chastised, or else not seek to be acknowledged as a son.” These are difficult words for us who have all the gadgets that keep us preoccupied from facing our sufferings and the sufferings of those around us and I admit that I too, often avoid embracing the suffering in me and around me. If I, like you, desire to be an authentic and true disciple of Christ Jesus, who I believe to be the Second Person of the Trinity, I must continue to incorporate these words of truth into my daily life, pray for God’s grace, stop judging others and keep my eyes fixed upon Christ Jesus and His Gospel.
Have a most blessed day.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
Hermits of St. Giles

One thought on “St. Augustine in the 21st Century

  1. Hi Brother Mark- thank you for your thoughtful writing. Yes, there are so many battles here on earth especially spiritual ones! God and Mary help us against the evil in our world. I think Christians are giving Christians a bad name by all the judging that is going on. You are right in saying God asks us to love one another as He has loved us and we will be judged by God as we have indeed judged our neighbor. I just read this in scripture lately and I get a bit scared by it. Yes- we do need to leave the judging to God and our job is to love!


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