A tumblr dedicated to the life and teachings of the doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Augustine of Hippo.
“It was not I who devised the original sin, which the catholic faith holds from ancient times; but you, who deny it, are undoubtedly an innovating heretic. In the judgment of God, all are in the devil’s power, born in sin, unless they are regenerated in Christ.” - On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book II:25
Confessions, Book 5:7
St. Augustine (via catholicanswers)
“[W]hat is attended with difficulty in the seeking gives greater pleasure in the finding.”
— Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching (translated by J. F. Shaw)
(On Free Will 2, 13, 37)
Volusianus sent a letter to St. Augustine in 412 a.d. (Letter 135) requesting his expertise on a couple of questions that were presented to him by a person who was skeptical of some truths of the Catholic faith. After explaining the matter to the saint, he ends his letter with the following:
“You have heard, O man worthy of all honour, the confession of our ignorance; you perceive what is requested at your hands. Your reputation is interested in our obtaining an answer to these questions. Ignorance may, without harm to religion, be tolerated in other priests; but when we come to Bishop Augustine, whatever we find unknown to him is no part of the Christian system. May the Supreme God protect your venerable Grace, my lord truly holy and justly revered!”
Here we see a certain excess of praise towards the saint coming from Volusianus, which is in a sense similar to that of which sometimes us Catholics are guilty of when it comes to the worship of dulia we give to the Blessed Virgin and the saints. St. Augustine responded to Volusianus on the same year (Letter 137) and answered the questions he had sent to him, but before he moved to that he told him in response to the above paragraph:
“I begin, therefore, by requesting you to lay aside the opinion which you have too easily formed concerning me, and dismiss those sentiments, though they are gratifying evidences of your goodwill, and believe my testimony rather than any other’s regarding myself, if you reciprocate my affection. For such is the depth of the Christian Scriptures, that even if I were attempting to study them and nothing else from early boyhood to decrepit old age, with the utmost leisure, the most unwearied zeal, and talents greater than I have, I would be still daily making progress in discovering their treasures; not that there is so great difficulty in coming through them to know the things necessary to salvation, but when any one has accepted these truths with the faith that is indispensable as the foundation of a life of piety and uprightness, so many things which are veiled under manifold shadows of mystery remain to be inquired into by those who are advancing in the study, and so great is the depth of wisdom not only in the words in which these have been expressed, but also in the things themselves, that the experience of the oldest, the ablest, and the most zealous students of Scripture illustrates what Scripture itself has said: “When a man has done, then he begins.” Sirach 18:6″
His humility is one of the things I love the most about the saint, despite his great mind and the high regard with which he was held even on his own time, he still kept a humble spirit and remained down to earth. He is a true model for the Bishop who has the laymen looking up to him for guidance not just in theological questions but also in matters of virtue. Another example of this humility of the saint comes from the preface to the third book on his work On The Trinity, where he says:
“Assuredly, as in all my writings I desire not only a pious reader, but also a free corrector, so I especially desire this in the present inquiry, which is so important that I would there were as many inquirers as there are objectors. But as I do not wish my reader to be bound down to me, so I do not wish my corrector to be bound down to himself. Let not the former love me more than the catholic faith, let not the latter love himself more than the catholic verity.”
This humility, of course, is not limited to St. Augustine, but as it is the fruit of God’s grace (Colossians 3:11-15), it is common to all the saints. The apostles too showed the same humility when people wanted to offer sacrifices to them (Acts 14:8-15). Humility, the hallmark of the saints, is something which we should strive to imitate and something which with the help of the intersession of the humble saints and of God’s grace we too are able to attain. The key is to know, as St. Augustine did, that “the only cause of any good that we enjoy is the goodness of God” (Enchiridion, 23).
Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Officio Sanctissimo