Gems From Saint Augustine
Saint Augustine (354-430), one of the Fathers of the Church
and Bishop of Hippo, was a most prolific writer, and defender of the Catholic
Church. He is quoted by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In his many writings,
he mentioned the Catholic Church by name, more than 300 times.
Here are some
of his "Gems".
"I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic
Church did not influence me to do so."
Against the letter of Mani, 5,6, 397
"You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in
Confessions, 1,1,1, 400 A.D.
His work, "Confessions" is a 13
volume series and is considered to be one of the greatest writings of all time.
It is entirely addressed to GOD.
"We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church which
is Catholic, and which is called Catholic not only by her members but even by
all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her,
not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else
but Catholic. For they would not be understood unless they distinguish her by
this name which the whole world employs in her regard."
The True Religion,
7,12, 397 A.D.
"This Church is Holy, the One Church, the True Church, the
Catholic Church, fighting as she does against all heresies. She can fight, but
she cannot be beaten. All heresies are expelled from her, like the useless
loppings pruned from a vine. She remains fixed in her root, in her vine, in her
love. The gates of hell shall not conquer her."
Sermon to Catechumens, on the
Creed, 6,14, 395 A.D.
"But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the
whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from tradition, we
are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept either
by the Apostles themselves or by plenary Councils, the authority of which is
quite vital to the Church."
Letter to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.
"I believe that this practice comes from apostolic tradition, just as so many
other practices not found in their writings nor in the councils of their
successors, but which, because they are kept by the whole Church everywhere, are
believed to have been commended and handed down by the Apostles
Baptism 1,12,20, 400 A.D.
"Before His suffering the Lord Jesus Christ, as you know, chose His disciples,
whom He called Apostles. Among these Apostles almost everywhere Peter alone
merited to represent the whole Church. For the sake of his representing the
whole Church, which he alone could do, he merited to hear, I will give you the
keys of the kingdom of Heaven (Matt 16:19)."
Sermons 295,2, 391 A.D.
"What they found in the Church they kept; what they learned, they taught; what
they received from the fathers, they handed on to the sons."
2,10,33, 421 A.D.
"Since by Christ's favor we are Catholic Christians:"
Letter to Vitalis,
217,5,16, 427 A.D.
"By the same word, by the same Sacrament you were born, but you will not come to
the same inheritance of eternal life, unless you return to the Catholic
Sermons, 3, 391 A.D.
"Tell us straight out that you do not believe in the Gospel of Christ; for you
believe what you want in the Gospel and disbelieve what you want. You believe in
yourself rather than in the Gospel."
Against Faustus, 17, 3, 400 A.D.
"Do you claim to be strong? You will be beaten by beasts. Do you claim speed?
Flies are faster. Do you claim beauty? What great beauty there is in a peafowl's
feathers. How are you better, then, than these? By the image of GOD. And where
is GOD's image? In your mind, in your intellect."
Homilies on the Gospel of
John, 3,4, 416 A.D.
"Adam sleeps that Eve may be formed; Christ dies that the Church may be formed.
Eve is formed from the side of the sleeping Adam; the side of the dead Christ is
pierced by the lance, so that the Sacraments may flow out, of which the Church
Homilies on the Gospel of John, 9,10, 416 A.D.
"Man, destined to die, labors to avert his dying; and yet man, destined to live
in eternity, does not labor to avoid sinning."
Homilies on the Gospel of
John, 49,2, 416 A.D.
"What the soul is to man's body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which
is the Church. The Holy Spirit does in the whole Church what the soul does in
all members of one body. But see what you must beware of, see what you must take
note of, see what you must fear. It happens that in the human body, or rather,
off the body, some member, whether hand, finger, or foot, may be cut away. And
if a member be cut off, does the soul go with it? When the member was in the
body, it lived; and off, its life is lost. So too, a Christian man is Catholic
while he lives in the body; cut off, he is made a heretic; the Spirit does not
follow an amputated member."
Sermons, 267, 4, 391-430 A.D.
"Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of GOD is able to forgive
all sins. They are wretched indeed, because they do not recognize in Peter the
rock and they refuse to believe that the keys of the kingdom of heaven, lost
from their own hands, have been given to the Church."
Christian Combat 31,33,
"If you want GOD to forgive, you must confess. Sin cannot go unpunished.
It were seemingly, improper, and unjust for sin to go unpunished. Since,
therefore, sin must not go unpunished, let it be punished by you, lest you be
punished for it. Let your sin have you for its judge, not its patron.
and take the bench against yourself, and put the guilt before yourself.
not put it behind you, or GOD will put it in front of you."
"The Catholic Church is the work of Divine Providence,
achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the Incarnation and the
teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the suffering,
the crosses, the blood and the death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives
of the saints. When, then, we see so much help on God's part, so much progress
and so much fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of that
Church? For starting from the Apostolic Chair down through successions of
bishops, even unto the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the
crown of teaching authority."
The Advantage of Believing, 391 A.D.
Several non-Catholics have quoted to me from writings of Saint Augustine. From
the samplings which I have shown here, if I were a non-Catholic, and was
determined to remain one, I would not ever quote from him
Compiled May 23, 2001
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