On St. Augustine
AD SALUTEM (On St. Augustine)
Pope Pius XI
Encyclical promulgated on 30 April 1930.
To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops,and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren: Health and Apostolic Benediction.
1. It is eminently befitting the nature and necessity of the case, that ChristJesus has been and shall continue to be ready to safeguard the Church,which His provident care established for the salvation of the human race.This certainty is warranted by the promise of her Divine Founder, which weread in the Gospel; and it must be clear to evidence from the annals ofthat Church, on which error has never set a stain, which no falling awayhowever widespreadof her sons has made to waver, which regains heryouthful vigor and ceaselessly renews her strength despite the assaults ofimpious men, even when carried to the most shocking extremes. While ourLord in securing the stability and promoting the growth of His foundation,which belongs to all time, did not limit Himself to a single method norproceed always in the selfsame way, yet it is noteworthy that in every ageHe raised up distinguished men, who, by talents and efforts suited to thetimes and their exigencies, should rejoice the heart of the Christianpeople, by successively curbing and conquering the "power of darkness."This choice of Divine Providence, when it fell upon Augustine of Tagaste,was marked by a discrimination that was more than ordinarily striking. Hewas the light set upon the candlestick, he was the vanquisher of everyheresy and a guide to eternal salvation for his contemporaries. What ismore, he continued to teach and console Christians as age succeeded age.Nay, even in our time we owe it to him in large measure that amongbelievers the truth of Faith maintains its luster, while love for God hasnot ceased to burn. Indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge that thewritings of Augustine, by their exceptional sublimity and charm, cast aspell over many who are at variance with us or who seem utter strangers tothe Faith. Hence it is, that since the current year brings in its coursewith happy auspices the fifteenth centennial anniversary of the death ofthis peerless Bishop and Doctor, Christians the world over are eager tohold his memory in honor and are preparing to give public proof of theiradmiration and devotion. Yielding, therefore, to a sense of Our Apostolicoffice and to the delight that stirs Our soul, while desirous of adding tothe chorus of praise, We urge you all, Venerable Brethren, and the clergyand flock of each of you, to join Us in offering special thanks to theHeavenly Father for enriching His Church by means of Augustine with so manymatchless blessingsthe Saint who profited so much by the Divine giftslavished on him and turned the current of this wealth upon the Catholics ofthe world. It beseems us all today not merely to exult that by a miracle,so to speak, was once united to the Mystical Body of Christ a genius sogreat and lofty, that in the judgment of history his superior can hardly befound anywhere in any age, but rather to steep and nourish ourselves withhis learning and copy the model of his holy life.
2. The praise of Augustine has never ceased to be proclaimed in the Churchof God, even by the Roman Pontiffs. While the holy Bishop was yet alive,Innocent I greeted him as a beloved friend and extolled the letter whichhe had received from the Saint and from four Bishops, his friends: "Aletter instinct with faith and staunch with all the vigor of the Catholicreligion." Shortly after the death of Augustine, Celestine I defends himagainst his opponents in the following noble words: "We have ever deemed Augustine a man to be remembered for his sanctity,because of his life and services in our communion, nor has rumor at anytime darkened his name with the suspicion of evil. So great was hisknowledge, as we recall, that he was always reckoned by my predecessorsalso among our foremost teachers. All alike, therefore, thought highly ofhim as a man held in affection and honor by all."
3. Gelasius I hailed Jerome and Augustine as "luminaries amongecclesiastical teachers." Hormisdas wrote in answer to BishopPossessor's request for direction these weighty words: "What the Roman,that is, the Catholic Church follows and maintains touching free will andthe grace of God, can be learned from the different works of blessedAugustine, those especially which he addressed to Hilary and Prosper,though the formal chapters are contained in the ecclesiastical records."A like testimony was uttered by John II, when in refutation of heretics heappealed to the works of Augustine: "Whose teaching," he said, "accordingto the enactments of my predecessors, the Roman Church follows andmaintains."
4. Can anyone be unaware how thoroughly familiar with the doctrine ofAugustine were the Roman Pontiffs, during the ages that followed close uponhis death, as Leo the Great, for example, and Gregory the Great? Thus SaintGregory, thinking as highly of Augustine as he thought humbly of himself,wrote to Innocentius, prefect of Africa: "If you wish to feast on choicefood, read the works of blessed Augustine, your fellowcountryman. Hiswritings are as fine wheat. Seek not for our bran." It is well knownthat Adrian I was in the habit of quoting passages from Augustine, whom hestyled "an eminent doctor." Again, Clement VIII, to throw light on theobscure features of abstruse debates, and Pius VI, in his ApostolicConstitution "Auctorem fidei," to unmask the evasions of the condemnedSynod of Pistoia, availed themselves of the support of Augustine'sauthority.
5. It is a further tribute to the glory of the Bishop of Hippo, that morethan once the Fathers in lawful Councils assembled, made use of his verywords in defining Catholic truth. In illustration it is enough to cite theSecond Council of Orange and the Council of Trent. Yet again, to cast abackward glance at the years of Our own youth, We wish at this point torecall and delightedly to ponder the words in which Our predecessor ofimmortal memory Leo XIII, after mentioning writers earlier than Augustine,lauded the help afforded by him to Christian philosophy: "But it isAugustine who seems to have borne off the palm from all. Of towering geniusand thoroughly versed in sacred and profane knowledge, he waged relentlesswar on all the errors of his age with matchless faith and equal learning.What part of philosophy did he have untouched? Nay rather into what partdid he not make thorough search as when he unfolded to the Faithful thedeepest mysteries of the Faith or defended them against the mad attacks offoes; or again when, brushing away the false theories of Academics andManicheans, he laid a sure and solid foundation for human knowledge, orstudied in detail the nature and source and causes of the evils whichharass mankind?"
6. Now before penetrating deeper into the study We have set Ourselves, Wewould note, for the benefit of all, that the lavish praises bestowed on ourSaint by the writers of antiquity are to be understood in a proper sense,and notas some, who do not share the Catholic sense, have thoughtasthough the weight of Augustine's word were to be set ahead of the veryauthority of the teaching Church.
7. Oh, how "God is wonderful in His saints"! In words bursting from theinmost recesses of a grateful and most loving heart, Augustine avowed andardently extolled in his book of confessions the Divine mercy in hisregard. Obedient to an impulse of Divine Providence, the pious Monicainspired her son in his early childhood with so strong a love of Christ,that he could one day write: "Through Thy mercy, O Lord, this name of mySaviour, Thy Son, had already been drunk in with my mother's milk by myinfant heart and profoundly cherished; anything apart from this name, nomatter how learned or exquisite or true, could not wholly carry meaway."
8. In youth, parted from his mother, and a pupil of pagan mastersso was itpermitted by the Most Highhe lost his early piety, became the unhappyslave of carnal pleasures and was ensnared in the toils of Manicheism,being for nearly nine years an adherent of that sect. God's purpose was,that the destined Doctor of Grace should learn by experience and transmitto later ages how extreme is the weakness and frailty of even the noblestspirit, if it be not made strong in the way of virtue by the safeguard ofChristian training and ceaseless application to prayer, especially duringyouth, when the mind is bewitched more readily by the lure of error and thesoul is led astray by the first stirrings of sense. God further permittedhis defection, that our Saint might realize in his own life how wretched isthe man who tries to fill his heart to satiety with creatures; a truth thathe later plainly confessed before the Lord. 'For Thou wert ever presentwith compassionate anger, mingling the bitterness of distaste with all mylawless delights, that I might seek delight without distaste and shouldfail to find this in aught, save in Thee, O Lord." Did not the HeavenlyFather, then, abandon Augustine to his own devices, that Monica might plyHim with tearful entreaties and serve as a type of those mothers, who bytheir long-suffering and gentleness of temper, by their tirelesssupplication of the divine mercy, succeed at length in winning back theirsons to virtue? For it was impossible that the sons would perish, for whomso many tears were shed. Our Saint thus writes to the point: "And in those same books containing the story of my conversion, telling howGod converted me to the Faith which my unhappy and mad abuse of languagewas bent on destroying, do you not recall that the purpose of my narrativewas to show that I was a boon granted to the loyal, daily tears of mymother, lest I be lost?"
9. Hence, Augustine was by degrees estranged from the Manichean heresy and,urged as it were by a Divine impulse, was led to Milan to meet Ambrose theBishop there. The Lord "little by little with a touch of tender pityshaping and moulding his heart," though the wise words of Ambrosebrought him to believe in the Catholic Church and in the truth of theBible. Then it was that the son of Monica, though not yet immune fromanxiety and from the allurements of vice, still grasped firmly the truththat Divine Providence has set the way of salvation only in Christ Our Lordand in the Sacred Scriptures, which find the sole warrant of their truth inthe authority of the Catholic Church. Yet how hard and toilsome is thecomplete conversion of a man, who has long been straying from the straightpath. He was still the prey of his passions and of mental disquiet, whichhe was not strong enough to control. So far was he from deriving thestrength from the teaching of Platonists concerning God and creatures, thathe would have filled the measure of his misfortunes with the still greaterone of pride, had he not learned at length from the Epistles of the ApostlePaul, that he who wishes to live like a Christian must build on afoundation of humility and depend on the aid of Divine grace. And nowwenarrate a fact the story of which none can tell without tearsgrieving overthe deeds of his past life and inspired by the example of so manyChristians, who were ready to make shipwreck of all created goods to gainthe "one thing necessary," he made his surrender to the Divine mercy, whichhad lovingly pursued him, at the moment when at prayer he was startled by asudden voice that cried: "Take and read." He opened a copy of the Epistleslying near and with Heaven's grace effectively stirring his soul, thefollowing passage met his eyes: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not inchambering and impurities, not in contention and envy; but put ye on theLord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in itsconcupiscences." And it is certain that from that moment to his dyingbreath, Augustine gave himself wholly to God.
10. It soon became clear what sort of a "vessel of election" the Lord hadwrought in Augustine and for what brilliant deeds he was destined. Ordainedpriest and later advanced to the bishopric of Hippo, he shed the light ofhis abundant learning not merely on Christian Africa, but on the entireChurch, bestowing the while the blessings of his apostolate. He meditatedon books of Holy Writ, long and earnestly did he offer to the Lord theprayers, whereof the meaning and the accent still live in his writings.That he might daily better fathom and understand the truths of DivineRevelation, he read through with close scrutiny the works of the Fathersand Doctors who preceded him and whom he regarded with humble veneration.Though he came after those holy men, like dazzling stars shed luster on theCatholic name Clement of Rome, for example, and Irenaeus, Hilary andAthanasius, Cyprian and Ambrose, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus and JohnChrysostom; though a contemporary of Jerome, nevertheless Augustine stillexcites in all men the greatest admiration because of the subtlety anddepth of his thoughts and because of the marvelous wisdom breathing fromthe pages, which through long span of nearly fifty years he wrote andpublished. k would be too heavy a task to go over the many voluminouscompositions which, belonging as they do to every sacred topicbothBiblical exegesis and moral instructionare so varied that his commentatorscan with difficulty give a comprehensive survey of them in there entirety.However, may we not from this massive bulk of doctrine select for explicitmention some of his writings, which seem best suited to our age and mosthelpful to Christian society?
11. First of all, Augustine made it the object of his strenuous endeavorthat all men should thoroughly learn and with conviction what was the chiefend of their existence, what was the only way that led to true happiness.Could anyone, we ask, no matter how shallow and frivolous, have heardwithout being deeply stirred that avowal, made to God by a man who hadlived for pleasure so long and was admirably endowed for winning thisworld's prizes, when he cried: "Thou hast created us for Thyself, and ourheart is restless till it rest in Thee"?
12. These words, while stating in sum the whole of wisdom, at the same timefittingly portray God's love for us, the peerless dignity of man, and theunhappy plight of those who live estranged from their Maker. At any rate inthese days of ours above all, when the wondrous nature of created things isbeing daily laid bare with greater clearness, when man's inventive geniusis bringing under his sway nature's forces and energies, to make them servehis convenience and wait upon his luxury and pleasuretoday, we repeat,when the creations of art and industry, products of mind or mechanical toilare being multiplied and with incredible speed are carried to every cornerof the earth, our spirit, absorbed in creatures, grows too forgetful of itsCreator, makes fleeting goods its goal to the neglect of eternal ones, andturns to personal and public harm, aye, to its own ruin, those gifts whichit has received from a bountiful God for the purpose of extending thekingdom of Christ and of promoting its own salvation. Now lest we becomeengrossed in this purely human and civil progress, which is wholly bent onmaterial objects and on the pleasures of sense, we must scan and ponder theprinciples of Christian wisdom so aptly stated and expounded by the Bishopof Hippo: "God, therefore, the wise Creator and just Disposer of everynature, who placed the mortal race of man at the head of the scale ofearthly excellence, bestowed on man certain gifts suited to his life in thesafety, security, and fellowship of humankind, together with all that isnecessary for maintaining or regaining this peace; such are the things thatfittingly fall within the realm of sense, as light, night, the air webreathe, the water we drink, and all else that serves to nourish, shelter,foster, and embellish the human frame. This He has done on the eminentlyfair understanding, that the mortal who makes a right use of blessingsadapted to human peace, will receive greater and better favors, that is,the peace of immortality and the glory and honor befitting it in eternallife for happiness with God and with the neighbor in God; whereas whoevermisuses his gifts, will lose those of time without winning those ofeternity."
13. When he addressed himself to discussing the last end appointed for man,he makes haste to lay down the principle that those who wish to arrivethereto will make a fruitless endeavor, unless they submit themselves withdocile obedience to the Catholic Church, since it alone is destined by Godto enrich souls with the light of virtue, without which one of necessitystrays from the right path and is driven headlong to imperiling his eternalsalvation. For God in His goodness has by no means suffered men to look forHim with wavering steps and sightless eyes: "That they should seek God, ifhappily they may feel after Him or find Him." Rather banishing thedarkness of ignorance, He makes Himself known by Revelation, and summons tothe duty of repentance those who are wandering. "And God indeed havingwinked at the times of this ignorance, now declareth unto men, that allshould everywhere do penance." After God had granted the gift ofinspiration to the sacred writers, He entrusted the Bible to the Church,which His only begotten Son founded, for its safekeeping and authenticinterpretation. By appealing to the miracles wrought by Christ the Founder,Augustine proved the Divine origin of the Church for its very inception.
"The ailing are healed, lepers are cleansed; the lame walk, sight isrestored to the blind, hearing to the deaf. The men of that day beheldwater changed into wine, 5,000 fed to repletion with five loaves, the seatraversed on foot, the dead rising from the grave. Thus some miraclesvisibly benefited the body, others by a hidden marvel the soul, all gavetestimony of the majesty of the Worker for the good of all. And so God'sauthority stirred men's errant souls to seek Him."
14. True, miracles declined somewhat in number thereafter. But for this amanifest reason is found in the fact that the Divine testimony wasstrikingly confirmed as time went on by the marvelous spread of the Faithand by the uplifting of human society to the plane of Christian morality.When trying to bring his friend Honoratus back to the Church, Augustinewrites to this effect: "Do you not think that a keen interest for human welfare is shown, not onlyin this, that many philosophers maintain that neither earth nor fire noraught else within the range of sense should be worshipped as Godthe onlypath to whom lies through the mindbut in the fact that an untaughtmultitude of men and women in so many different nations makes profession ofits belief in the same truth? Witness an abstinence from food contentingitself with a meager diet of bread and water, fast not for a day butcontinued through many days. Witness a chastity so perfect as to beindifferent to wedlock and offspring, an enduring patience that scornscrucifixion and the stake, liberality that divides fortunes among the poor,in short, a contempt so intense of everything worldly as even to yearn fordeath. Not many do these things, fewer are they that do them well andwisely; but whole peoples approve, applaud, favor, aye, love such conduct.Nor is it without a closer approach of the mind to God, not without somespark of virtue, that whole peoples avow themselves too feeble to mount sohigh. This marvel has Divine Providence wrought by the oracles of theprophets, by the Incarnation and teaching of Christ, by the journeys of theApostles, by the affronts and crosses and life-blood and death of martyrs,by the saintly lives we boast, and in all this can be discerned miraclessuited to the needs of the time and worthy of such achievements and suchvirtues. Seeing, then, as we do such marked assistance from God, so muchprogress and fruit, shall we hesitate to nestle in the bosom of that Churchwhich, as the human race confesses, stands a pillar of authority derivedfrom the Apostolic See whereon successive Bishops have sat enthroned, whilethe rebel cry of heresy has been condemned in part by the popular voice, inpart by the judgment of Councils, in part too by the majestic utterance ofmiracles?"
15. No one can gainsay that these words of Augustine, which have lost noneof their force and energy since they were written, have been proved beyondcavil in the long lapse of fifteen centuries. As these ages sped, theChurch of God, though afflicted by many a disaster and social upheaval,torn by many a heresy and schism, anguished by the treason of her followersand by the disloyalty of her sons, nevertheless, trusting in the promisesof her Founder, while human institutions of varying origin that surroundedher fell in ruins, not only stood safe and unharmed, but also in every ageglowed with brighter beauty in noble lives of holiness and devotion, while in many Christians she made the fire of charity burn with growing heat.Moreover, thanks to her missionaries and martyrs she brought into her Foldfresh nations, among whom the pristine glory of virginity renews its bloomand the rank of priest and Bishop keeps its vigor. In fine, so deeply hasshe imbued all peoples with her spirit of charity and justice, that thevery men who treat her with indifference or hostility, cannot refrain fromborrowing her way of speaking and acting. When our Saint, therefore, inrefutation of the Donatists who dared to confine the true Church of Christwithin the narrow bounds of a corner of Africa, maintained the universalityor "catholicity" of a Church in which all men may find the help andprotection of the aids of Divine grace, he rightly closed his reasoningwith these solemn words: "The decision is sure in which the worldconcurs." The reading of this phrase, not so very long ago, influencedto such a degree a man of high fame and noble nature, that he did not tarrylong in entering the one Fold of Christ.
16. Furthermore, Augustine emphatically asserted that this unity of theuniversal Church and her absolute inerrancy as a teacher, is derived notonly from her invisible Head, Christ Jesus, who from Heaven "rules Hisbody" and speaks by the lips of His teaching Church, but also forher visible head on earth, the Roman Pontiff, to whom the chair of Peterbelongs by the lawful right of succession. For this line of Peter'ssuccessors "is that rock against which the haughty gates of hell do notprevail." By incontestable right we "are kept within the bosom of theChurch by a succession of priests from the chair of Peter the Apostle, towhom our Lord after His resurrection gave the charge of feeding His sheep,down to the episcopate of today." Again, when the Pelagian heresy hadlaunched its attack and its adherents were endeavoring by guile and deceitto unsettle the minds and hearts of the Faithful, the Fathers of theCouncil of Milevum, which with others owed much to the inspiration andleadership of Augustine, submitted to Innocent I for his approval theirdiscussions and the decrees they framed in stating their conclusions. ThePope in reply praised the bishops because of their zeal for religion andbecause of their thoroughly loyal spirit towards the Roman Pontiff.
17. "They know," he wrote, "that from the apostolic fountain-head issueanswers to inquirers through all provinces. Particularly when a matter ofFaith is in question, I think that our brothers and fellow-bishops shouldhave recourse to Peter alone, namely to the author of the title and rankthey hold, even as you, beloved Brethren, have now appealed, because he cangive universal aid to all churches through the whole world." WhenAugustine, accordingly, had learned of the Roman Pontiffs condemnation ofPelagius and Caelestius, he uttered the following memorable words in asermon to the people: "The views of two councils touching this controversyhave been transmitted to the Apostolic See, and the answer has been sentback. The case has been settled. God grant that the error be endedlikewise." These words of his, condensed a trifle, have passed into aproverb: "Rome has spoken, the cause is finished." Again in anotheroccasion, after citing the decision of Pope Zosimus put under the ban ofhis condemnation all Pelagians in all parts of the world, the saint wrote:"The Catholic doctrine is so ancient and well-grounded, so certain andclear in these words of the Apostolic See, that it would be criminal in aChristian to doubt of this truth."
18. Now the Church has received from her Divine Spouse the treasures ofheavenly grace conveyed mainly through the channel of the Sacraments.Hence, every loyal son of that Church, like the good Samaritan, pours oiland wine into the wounds of the sons of Adam, to free the guilty from sin,to strengthen the weak and feeble, to mould the lives of the virtuousnearer to the ideal of holiness. Even granting that some minister of Christmay at times fail in his duty, does it therefore follow that the power wasrendered helpless and void of efficacy? Let us listen to the words of theBishop of Hippo: "I assert [he writes] and we all assert, that the ministers of so great aJudge should be just men. Let the ministers be just, if they will. If,however, they who sit on the chair of Moses refuse to be just I find mywarrant of security in my Master, of whom His Spirit said: "He it is whobaptizes."
19. Would that the words of Augustine had been accepted formerly and wereaccepted today by all those who, like the Donatists, allege the fall of apriest as a reason for rending the seamless garment of Christ and forunhappily abandoning the way of salvation!
20. We see how our Saint, for all his exalted genius, humbly submitted hisjudgment to the authority of the Church teaching. He knew that, as long ashe did so, he would not swerve a finger's breadth from Catholic doctrine.More than that, in pondering the sentence: "If you believe not, you willnot understand," he learned with certainty that a heaven-born lightdenied to the proudserves as a beacon to the minds of those who clingclosely to the Faith and meditate the word of God in a mood of prayerfulhumility. He knew, besides, that it was the duty of priestswhose lipsshould keep knowledgesince they are bound to explain and defend arightthe truths of Revelation and expound their meaning to the Faithful, topenetrate the truths of Faith to the depthsso far as is allowed by Divinepermission. As a result, inspired by uncreated Wisdom, by prayer and bymeditation on the Divine mysteries, he plied his pen to such purpose, as tobequeath to posterity a copious and excellent body of sacred teaching.
21. No one, Venerable Brethren, can read even cursorily these voluminousworks without seeing how eagerly the Bishop of Hippo applied this spirit toadvance in knowledge of God Himself. How true was his recognition of HisMaker in the frame and the harmony of the created universe! Howefficaciously he wrote and preached that his flock might attain to a likerecognition!
"Earth's beauty [he wrote] is the voice of the silent earth. You observeand see its beauty, its fertility, its energies. You see how it producesseed, how it often bears what was not sown. By your contemplation you putit to the question. Your scrutiny of the world is a form of questioning.When you have studied it in wonder and scanned it narrowly, when yoursearch has revealed its mighty power, its dazzling beauty, its surpassingexcellence, since it could not possess this excellence in itself and ofitself, your mind straightway leaps to the thought that it could not havebeen self-caused, but is the handiwork of the creator. What you have foundin it, is its speech avowing that you should praise the Creator. After youhave pondered in its entirety the beauty of this world of ours, does notits very charm with one voice make answer: 'I am not my own cause, God ismy Maker'?"
22. Repeatedly he extolled in glowing language his Creator's absoluteperfection, beauty, goodness, eternity, immutability, and power. But heceased not to point out that God is portrayed more truly in thought than inspeech, though even thought fails to depict the true nature of Hisbeing, while the name best suited to the Creator was the one that Godrevealed to Moses, when he asked by whom he was being sent.
23. However, our Saint did not rest content with a study of the DivineNature with the unaided resources of the human intellect merely. With HolyWrit lighting his way, and guided by the Spirit of Wisdom, he bent thepowers of his lofty genius to a study of the greatest of all mysteries, onewhich so many Fathers who had gone before him, with well-nigh infiniteperseverance and unexampled enthusiasm had maintained against the wickedassaults of heretics. We meant the adorable Trinity of Father and Son andHoly Ghost in the unity of the Divine Nature. Aided by light from on high,he treated this central, this fundamental truth of the Catholic Faith with such depth and acuteness, that the Doctors who came after him had only todraw from Augustine's contributions their materials. From these they reareda staunch rampart of theological science to repel the missiles vainly aimedin every age by a perverse human reason, that opposed this mystery, themost baffling of all to the mind of man. Let us hear the Bishop and Doctorof Hippo in his own words: "In the Trinity we predicate as distinctive of the several Persons therelations that exist among them, as Father and Son, and Holy Spirit, theGift of both. For the Father is not the Trinity, nor is the Son theTrinity, nor is the Gift the Trinity. But this distinction of Persons withrespect to one another, is not to speak to them in the plural as three (innature), but as one, namely, the Trinity itself. Thus the Father is God,the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God. So too the Father is good, the Sonis good, the Holy Ghost is good. Again, the Father is almighty, the Son isalmighty, the Holy Ghost is almighty. But that does not mean that there arethree gods, three good natures, three almighty natures; but one God, who isgood, almighty, the Trinity. The same form is to be followed, when there isquestion not of their relations to one another, but of any attribute sharedby each and all in common. For in this way they are described according totheir essence. In the Trinity the essence, greatness, goodness, wisdom arewithout difference, and so of every absolute attribute predictable of aPerson in Himself or of the whole Trinity."
24. The style here is pithy and elusive. Elsewhere he makes use of well-chosen illustrations to enable us to arrive at some understanding to themystery. Thus, for example, he dwells on the image of the Trinity reflectedin the human soul, when it advances towards holiness; for, being mindful ofGod, it both thinks of Him and loves Him. In this way we catch a faintglimpse of the manner in which the Word is begotten by the Father, "Who insome sort has spoken in His coeternal Word all that belongs to Himsubstantially"; as also of the manner in which the Holy Spirit proceedsfrom the Father and the Son, for He "breathes into us the mutual love, withwhich Father and Son love each other." Thereupon Augustine bids usrender clearer and more beautiful this image of God within us day by day upto life's close. Then, when God comes, the Divine image already impressedwithin us "will be made perfect by that vision which will be had after theJudgment face to face, but now avails us as a mirrored semblance inobscurity."
25. Again, we can never sufficiently admire the language of the Doctor ofHippo, when he explains the mysteries that attend the clothing of the Only-begotten Son of God with human flesh. He asks us in explicit termsquotedby St. Leo the Great in his dogmatic epistle to the Emperor Leo: To recognize the two natures in Christ, that is to say, the Divine, bywhich He is equal to the Father; the human, by which the Father is greater.But both together are not two beings, for Christ is one; else, God would bea "quaternity," not a Trinity. For as a single human being results fromthe union of a rational soul and human flesh, so Christ is one, God andman."
26. It was a wise resolution of Theodosius the Younger to command that,with every mark of respect, our Saint be summoned to the Council ofEphesus, where the Nestorian heresy was crushed. However, the unexpecteddeath of Augustine stilled that voice of vehemence and power ere it couldswell the chorus of the assembled Fathers and utter its anathema againstthe heresiarch, who had the hardihood to cleave Christ asunder, if we mayso speak, and to assail the Divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin. Norshould we overlook at this point, though it be with briefest mention, thefact that Augustine more than once brought out in clear relief the rankChrist holds as King. This truth We maintained and proposed to the devotionof the Faithful in Our Encyclical "Quas primas," issued at the close of theSacred Year. We saw fit to incorporate in the liturgy for the Feast of OurLord Jesus Christ the King, Lessons selected from the writings ofAugustine.
27. Everyone probably is acquainted with the matchless word De CivitateDei, in which with surpassing skill he traces God's guiding and ruling handin the march of human history. There he brings as into a single focus thestory of the world, availing himself of every aid that an assiduous studyof Holy Writ and his knowledge of the culture of that epoch could furnish.In the successive steps that marked the growth of human society, his keenvision discerns and discriminates two cities, which "two loves" hadfounded, "namely, the earthly City, built by love of self even to contemptof God, the heavenly city, by love of God even to contempt of self."Babylon is one, Jerusalem the other. The two "are intermingled and hold amingled course from the beginning of the human race to the end oftime." But the issue of both is not one and the same, since at longlast the citizens of Jerusalem will reign with God forever, while thesubjects of Babylon in company with demons will eternally expiate theircrimes. Accordingly, to the mind of Augustine the history of human societyis nothing else than a portrayal of the uninterrupted outpouring of God'slove upon us. The heavenly city, of which He is the author, He bears onwardthrough successes and reverses in such wise, that by His command the verymadness and wickedness of the earthly City promote its growth, according tothe text: "To them that love God, all things work together unto good, tosuch as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints."Consequently we must admit that it is foolish and senseless to imagine, assome do, that the dominant power in the course of the ages, should besought in the mocking jests of blind fortune, or in the grasping ambitionof men stronger than their fellows, or in ceaseless efforts of minds andhearts to develop natural forces to foster the arts, to secure the comfortsof this life. The truth rather is that human events serve only to extendthe City of God, which means the spread of evangelical truth and thepromotion of the salvation of souls, conformably to the hidden butprofoundly merciful designs of Him, who "reacheth from end to end mightilyand ordereth all things sweetly." Let us add a word further. Augustineset the mark, or more truly, the fiery brand of his condemnation on themoral infamy of Greek and Roman paganism. And yet yearning for such areligion has been seen to infatuate, even in our day, certain writers,shallow and even licentious, who extol such a cult for its beauty andfitness and attractiveness. Again, knowing thoroughly his contemporariesand their unhappy forgetfulness of God, with a pen at one time caustic, atanother indignant, he scored in his pages all the compulsion and folly, allthe outrages and lust, introduced into man's life by the demons through theworship of false gods. There can be no salvation in the ideal of theearthly City, as it sets before its eyes a vain picture of completenessand perfection. For scarcely anyone will take such an ideal seriously or,if he does, the prize he wins will be only the satisfaction of empty andfleeting glory.
28. True, our Saint praises the ancient Romans, who "for the generalwelfare, the state, that is, and for the national treasure sacrificed theirprivate fortunes, withstood greed, uplifted their country by a noblepolicy; so far as their laws went, they were innocent of crime andlewdness; these means and aims they took for the right path along whichthey pressed on in pursuit of honor, power, renown; they had the esteem ofnearly all nations; many peoples bowed to their laws and their sway."However, as he remarks further on, what else did they gain by so much toiland hardship, "than the worthless pinnacle of human glory, which was allthe reward they reaped, for which they burned with overmastering ambition,waging wars that set the world a flame?" Furthermore, the fruit of thehappy issue of their efforts and of their very sway itself, which ourCreator employs to further the secret designs of His providence, does notfall into the grasp of those only who turn their backs on the heavenlyCity. For God "enriched the emperor Constantinenot a votary of demons, buta worshiper of the true Godwith greater earthly blessings than any manwould dare to crave in his dreams." He granted prosperity and victoryafter victory to Theodosius, who "was happier in being a member of theChurch than in wielding an earthly scepter." Nay when rebuked byAmbrose for his slaughter of the people Thessalonica, "his penance was suchthat the multitude, who prayed for him, was more deeply moved to tears atsight of the imperial majesty abased, than to fear of his rage at their ownoffenses." Now while it is true that no man is refused temporalblessings, be he good or bad, and while misfortunes can overtake all, thevirtuous as well as the wicked, yet we may not doubt that benefits andadversities are allotted by God for the furtherance of the eternalsalvation of souls and for the well-being of the heavenly city. Thereforethe leaders and rulers of the nations have received their authority fromGod for his end, that in the regions subject to them they shouldas Hisassociateslend their efforts to promoting the designs of DivineProvidence. Clearly, then, it is their duty to keep their gaze riveted onthe supreme end set for man's attainment, and while active for the earthlyprosperity of their citizens, to do and command nothing in abatement of thelaws of Christian justice and charity, but rather to make it easier forthose under them to recognize and pursue the prizes that never fail.
"We do not style certain Christian emperors happy [writes the Bishop ofHippo], because their reign was a long one, or because, after dying inpeace themselves, their sons succeeded to the throne; nor yet again becausethey vanquished the State's foreign foes or were able to forestall andcrush revolt of seditious citizens against themselves. These and similarfavors that enrich or cheer this life of hardship, have been bestowed evenon clients of the demons, on men who have no part in the kingdom of Godlike those of whom we speak. This is a boon of the Divine mercy, to preventthose who believe in God from craving temporal blessings as though theywere of highest value. Rather do we term them happy, when they rule justly;when they yield not to pride if men praise them to the skies or offer thetribute of cringing servility, but bear in mind that they are mortal; whenthey make their power the handmaid of the Divine majesty, to extend as faras possible the worship of God; when they fear, love, adore God; when theycherish more that other kingdom, which they are not afraid to share withothers; when they are slow to punish, quick to forgive; when they chastisebecause constrained thereto in ruling and maintaining the State, and not tosate the hunger of hatred; when they pardon offenses, not that crime may gounpunished, but through hope of the evil-doer's amendment; when they temperwhatever severe measures they take by mercy, gentleness, andopenhandedness; when they curb passion the more sternly, the freer it mighthave been; when they think it better to hold sway over unruly desires thanover nations of any kind; finally when they do all this not at the biddingof idle ambition, but one of love of eternal happiness; when they fail notto offer the true God in atonement for their sins the sacrifice ofhumility, forgiveness, and prayer. Christian princes of this type wedeclare are happy, now in hope, later on in fact, when our expectationsshall be fulfilled."
29 Here indeed is an ideal protrait of a Christian sovereign, nor will youfind anywhere a nobler or more perfect one. But it cannot be reproduced bythe man who trusts the guidance of human wisdom, which often is slow-witted, oftener blinded by the emotions. The task is possible only for him,who, docile to the teaching of the Gospel, has come to learn that he cannotrule the state conformably to the Divine plan, that is, with good and happyissue, if he be not penetrated to the marrow with the spirit of justicejoined with charity and humility. "The kings of the Gentiles lord it overthem; and they that have power over them are called beneficent. But you notso: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger;and he that is the leader, as he that serveth." Hence all those arepitiably deluded, whose theory of government makes no account of man's lastand highest end, of the right use of the goods of this life. Others too ingoodly number are in error, who hold that the laws of statecraft and ofhuman progress cannot be made to square with the precept of Him whoproclaimed: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not passaway." We mean the precepts of Christ Jesus, who has provided andstrengthened His Church with a superb, an immortal constitution which somany vicissitudes of time and fortune, so many tribulations during thetwenty centuries that have passed have been unable to shake, and will nevercause to totter even to the day of doom. Why, then, do the rulers, who haveat heart the good and welfare of their citizens, hamper the action of theChurch? Ought they not rather give her their support, as far ascircumstances permit? The State need not fear that the Church will trenchon the domain of its aims and its rights. Indeed Christ's followers,obedient to Him who gave them their name, have from the beginning heldState rights in loyal reverence; so much so that, when victims ofpersecution and stripes, they could say with good warrant: "Princes havepersecuted me without cause." On this matter Augustine writes in hiswonted masterly fashion: "What harm had Christians done to the kingdoms of earth? Did their Kingforbid His soldiers to pay the tribute and yield the loyalty that are dueto earthly kings? When the Jews were scheming to slander Him on this score,did He not tell them: 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, andto God the things that are God's'? Did He not in person pay the tributecoin, taken from the mouth of a fish? When soldiers serving an earthlyprince asked His Precursor what they should do to win eternal salvation,his answer was not: 'Discard your uniform, cast your arms aside, abandonyour king to take service under the Lord,' but rather: 'Do violence to noman, neither calumniate any man, and be content with your pay' (Luke iii,14). Did not one of His lieutenants and a beloved comrade say to hisfellow-soldiers, to Christ's liegemen, so to speak: 'let every soul besubject to higher powers' (Rom. xiii, 1)? Further on he adds: 'Rendertherefore to all men their dues: tribute, to whom tribute is due: custom,to whom custom: fear, to whom fear: honor, to whom honor. Owe no mananything, but to love one another' (Rom. xiii, 7-8). Did not the Churchenjoin prayer for sovereigns? In what, then, have Christians displeasedthem? What debt have they failed to pay? Wherein have Christians lackedsubmissiveness to earthly kings? Consequently, earthly kings havepersecuted the Christians without cause."
30. Surely no more is to be demanded of Christ's disciples, than that theyobey the just laws of the nation, provided, of course, it does not commandwhat the law of Christ forbids, or forbid what the law of Christ commands,thus causing a severance between Church and State. Hence, it is hardlyworth while to affirm a truth, that We think Our words have madesufficiently clear, namely, so far is the Church from harming the State,that it rather contributes generously to the help and profit of the state.On this topic there is no need of repeating here those golden words of theBishop of Hippo quoted by Us in Our recent Encyclical on "The ChristianEducation of Youth"; nor those other equally persuasive, which Ourimmediate predecessor of happy memory, Benedict XV, cited in his Encyclical"Pacem Dei munus," for the purpose of bringing into clear relief the fact,that the Church has striven ceaselessly to weld the nations together byChristian law, and has furthered every plan for securing to mankind thefruits of justice, charity, and universal peace, that the peoples of theworld would make their goal that "unity which is the patroness ofprosperity and renown."
31. However, our Saint in his delineation of the workings of Providence,did not rest satisfied with setting forth in a general way all that mightrelate to Church and State. He goes further. His keen mind analyzes andsurveys how the grace of God, by an inward and hidden action, moves thehuman mind and will. The efficacy of this Divine grace, he had himselfexperienced, when he saw vanish the darkness of doubt in the sudden changeof mind he so wonderfully underwent at Milan.
"How sweet it became for me of a sudden [he writes] to lack the sweetnessof vain pleasures! It was now a joy to renounce what I had dreaded losing.Thou, sweetness true and perfect, didst set me free from them. As Thou wastridding my heart of them, so didst Thou enter in their stead, moredelightful than any pleasurethough not to flesh and blood; brighter thanany light, but deeper than any secret; loftier than any honor, but not tomen lofty in their own conceit."
32. Meanwhile the Bishop of Hippo found a master and a guide in Holy Writ,especially in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, who also in his time hadbeen miraculously converted to follow Christ. He allied himself with theteaching handed down by holy men, and with the Catholic sense of theFaithful. Day by day he was impelled to attack more vigorously thePelagians, who stubbornly maintained that the Redemption of man by ChristJesus was wholly without effect. Finally by a Divine impulse, he carriedover many years his study of the ruin of the human race after the sin ofour first parents, of the relation between the grace of God and free will,and of what goes by the name of predestination. So closely did he study thesubject and with such happy results, that he was deemed the Doctor of Graceand was so entitled. He led the way for all other Catholic writers of laterages, to whom he reached a helping and a restraining hand, lest in theirdiscussion of these intricate problems they err one way or the other:either by teaching that free will in man, once his original justice waslost, is but a name and no more, as the early Protestants and theJansenists held; or that divine grace was not a free gift and was not all-powerful, as the Pelagians kept repeating. Some helpful suggestions mightbe introduced here, on which the men of our day could reflect with markedadvantage. It is abundantly clear that readers of Augustine will not becaught in the toils of that pernicious error, which was widespread duringthe eighteenth century, namely, that the inborn impulses of the will shouldneither be feared nor curbed, since all of them are right and sound. Fromits false principle sprang those educational methods, which We condemnednot long ago in Our Encyclical on "The Christian Education of Youth." Theireffect is to allow a free mingling of the sexes and to employ no precautionin controlling the growing passions of boyhood and youth. From this falseprinciple too comes that license in writing and reading, in presenting orfrequenting plays, that do not merely threaten innocence and purity withdangerous occasions, but actually plot their ruin and destruction. Fromthis source again are derived those immodest fashions of dress, whichChristian women can never be at too great pains to abolish.
33. Now our Saint teaches that, ever since our first parents sinned, manhas lost the perfection with which he was created; for when he possessedit, he was borne easily and smoothly along the path of virtuous conduct. Onthe contrary, in the present condition of our mortal life, he must resistevil and master the desires that lead and lure him astray in the waydescribed by the Apostle: "But I see another law in my members, fightingagainst the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that isin my members." On this point, Augustine thus beautifully speaks to hisflock:
"As long as we live here below, brethren, this holds true; yes, even we whohave reached old age in this warfare, though our enemies are less fierce,still have foes to combat. Our enemies have grown wearied after a fashion,by the very passage of time; still, wearied though they are, they continueto harass the peace of our declining years by assaults of one kind oranother. The young have a fiercer struggle; one we are acquainted with,through which we have passed. . . For as long as you bear about a mortalbody, sin fights against you; only let it not rule in you. What do I meanby 'let it not rule'? I mean by obeying its desires. Once you begin toobey, sin reigns. And what else is this obedience than to yield yourmembers up to sin to serve iniquity...? Do not yield your members to sin toserve iniquity. God had given you through His Spirit power to keep yourmembers in subjection. Passion rises in revolt: keep you the mastery overyour members. What does the rebel aim at doing? Keep the mastery over yourmembers; yield them not to sin to serve iniquity; do not give youradversary the weapons with which to fight you. Let not your feet wander towhat is unlawful. Passion rebels: guard your members. Keep your hands freeof every crime. Restrain your eyes from evil glances. Stop your ears, lestthey willingly listen to lewd speech. Keep watch over the whole body, thewhole frame, the noblest, the humblest parts. What can passion do? It knowshow to rebel, but not how to conquer. Frequent and fruitless rebellionteaches it not to rebel."
34. If only we encase ourselves in the armor of salvation against such aconflict, once we begin to refrain from sinning, we shall little by littleblunt the edge of the enemy's attack and sap his strength; until at lengthwe shall wing our flight to that place of repose, where triumph andboundless joy will be ours. The credit of the victory is to be ascribedsolely to the grace of God, which within us gives light to the mind andstrength to the will, when we rise superior to so many hindrances andcontests. It is the grace of God, We say. For as He created us, so is Heable, through the treasures of His wisdom and power, to set aflame andfill our hearts wholly with His love. Hence the Church, which from thefountains of the Sacraments turns the stream of grace into our souls, isrightly entitled holy. For by her tireless, ceaseless influence she unitescountless souls with God in the close bond of a friendship, in which theyabide. What is more, many of these souls she guides and leads to aninvincible fortitude, to perfect sanctity of life, to deeds of heroism.Why, is there not a growth year by year in the number of her martyrs,virgins, confessors, whom she holds up to her children for their admirationand imitation? Are not they so many fair flowers of staunch virtues ofchastity and charity, transplanted by Divine grace from earth to heaven? Tostay and wither in their native sickly state, is the lot only of those, whoresist the Divine invitation and refuse to make a right use of theirliberty. Again, the grace of God encourages us never to despair of anyone'ssalvation while he lives, as well as to look hopefully for a daily increaseof charity in all men. In the same grace is laid the foundation of humilityand lowliness. For no matter how lofty a man's perfection, he cannot failto remember the words: "What hast thou that thou hast not received? And ifthou has received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not receivedit?" How, again, can such a man help turning with gratitude to Him, who"has put it within the reach of weaklings to will invincibly by His giftwhat is good, and invincibly to refuse to forfeit the good."
35. Christ Jesus, our kind Master, inspires us to implore the gifts of Hisgrace, when he says: "Ask, and it shall be given to you: Seek, and youshall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asketh,receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shallbe opened." The very gift of perseverance "can be won by humblepetition." For that reason, public and private prayer never fails inGod's churches.
"When have prayers not been offered in the Church, to obtain the gift offaith for infidels and for her enemies? What believer, whose friend orneighbor or wife was an unbeliever, did not entreat of the Lord a minddocile to the Christian Faith for the loved one? Was there ever anyone, whodid not beg for himself the grace of persevering in God's favor?"
36. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, offer supplication to God, and let yourclergy and people join in your supplicationunder the patronage of theDoctor of Gracein behalf of those especially who are either strangers tothe Catholic Faith or have strayed from the truth. Moreover, spare no painsin giving an exemplary training to those who seem to have a vocation to thepriesthood, for they are destinedagreeably to their officeto be thedispensers of Divine grace.
37. Possidius, the first to write the life of Augustine, declared that to afar greater degree than the readers of his works, the Saint "profited those who could see and hear him preaching in his church and werefamiliar with his dealings with men. Not only was he 'a scribe instructedin the kingdom of heaven, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new thingsand old,' not only a merchant who sold all he had to buy the precious pearlhe found, but he was of the number of those to whom were directed thewords: 'Thus speak ye, thus do ye'one of those of whom our Saviour says:'He that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom ofheaven.'"
38. For to begin with the queen of all the virtues, our Saint, leaving allelse aside, made the love of God so completely the goal of his desires andefforts, and fed its flame so steadfastly in his soul, that he is fittinglyportrayed as holding in his hand a burning heart. No one, who has even onceturned the pages of the "confessions," can forget the conversion between mother and son, at the window of the house in Ostia. The narrative, withits lifelike charm, makes us feel that we see Augustine and Monica there,side by side, absorbed in the contemplation of heavenly things. He writes: "Alone together we held most sweet converse. Forgetting the things that laybehind and stretching out to those that were before, we questioned eachother, in the presence of Truth, which Thou art, about the nature of theeternal life of the Saints, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor hathit entered into the mind of man to conceive. Mentally with parted lips wehung over the supernal rills of Thy fountainthe fountain of life withTheeif happily we might be refreshed, so far as our condition would allow,and in some sort ponder so profound a mystery. . . And while we conversedwith eager longing, with the heart's supreme effort we made some approachthereto. We sighed and there left fettered the firstlings of the spirit,then to return to the sound of our voices, where the word begins and ends.Yet what bears any likeness to Thy Word, who is our Lord, who abides withinHimself and ages not, who makes all things new?"
39. We must not imagine that it was an exceptional thing for Augustine thusto lift mind and heart above the life of the body. Any time he could sparefrom his daily duties and tasks, he devoted to meditation on the SacredScriptures he knew so well, that he might draw thence the relish and thelight of truth. Rising on thought's pinions from a consideration of theworks and mysteries that reveal God's surpassing love for us, he was bornealoft little by little to the Divine perfections themselves, into which heplungedif we may so speakas deeply as the heavenly grace given himallowed.
"Often I do this [he says, sharing with us his secret], this is my delight,and withdrawing from such activity as necessity imposes, I take refuge inthis kind of pleasure. In all the things traversed by my mind, while Iconfer with Thee, I find no safe place for my soul except in Thee. In Theeare linked in unison my wandering strains. From Thee may nothing of minedepart. Sometimes, too, Thou dost admit me to a deep and unwonted interioremotion, to an indescribable sweetness. If that he brought to itsperfection within me, I know of nothing which that life will notcontain."
40. Hence it was that he cried: "Too late have I loved Thee, O beauty soancient, yet so new! Too late have I loved Thee!"
41. Again, how lovingly he contemplated the life of Christ, striving toreproduce an ever more perfect image of it in himself and to repay lovewith love. In his counsel to virgins, he impressed on them the same lesson:"Let Him be fixed deep in your heart, who for you was fastened to thecross." As his love of God burned with a more ardent flame as days wenton, so too did he make incredible progress in the rest of the virtues. Noone can refuse his admiration to a manwhom all venerated, extolled,consulted, hearkened to for his lofty genius and sanctityboth in hiswritings destined for publication and in his letters, making it his greatconcern not only to refer to the Author of all good the praise offeredhimself, as being due to God alone, and to encourage and praise others, asfar as truth allowed, but also to lavish honor and reverence on hiscolleagues in the episcopate. These were especially his mighty forerunners,such as Cyprian and Gregory of Nazianzus, Hilary and John Chrysostom,Ambrosehis master in the Faithwhom he revered as a father and whoseteaching and life he was wont to recall. But especially there shone withluster in our Saint the love of souls, a love inseparable from love of God,of those souls particularly who were committed to his pastoral care.
42. From the day whenunder Divine guidancethrough the favor of bishopValerius and the popular choice, he was first ordained priest and thenraised to the See of Hippo, he became wholly engrossed in the task ofnourishing his flock with the food of sound doctrine, of defending it fromprowling wolves, of leading it to a happy eternity. With a courage that wascombined with charity towards men in error, he fought against heresy. Hetook measures to protect his people against the wiles employed at the timeby Manicheans, Donatists, Pelagians, and Arians. In his refutation of theseheretics themselves, he not only checked the spread of false doctrine andrecovered lost spoil, but even brought back his opponents to the CatholicFaith. To this end he was always equipped for controversy, even in public,for he trusted implicitly in the Divine aid, in the innate strength andefficacy of truth, and in the loyalty of his people. If any hereticalwritings came to his hands, he lost no time in refuting them one after theother. He was neither daunted nor worsted by the senselessness of error, bythe pricks of controversy, by the stubbornness and unfairness ofadversaries. Yet all the while, no matter how spiritedly he battled for thetruth, never for a moment did he cease to implore from God the conversionof his foes, whom he cherished with the kindliness of Christian charity.His writings reveal with what humility and persuasiveness he addressedthem: "Let those be angry with you, who know not how hard a task it is to findthe truth and to keep clear of error. Let those be angry with you, who knownot how exceptional and difficult it is, to subdue imaginations of theflesh by the serenity of a pious mind. . . Finally, let those be angry withyou, who have never been misled by the error, which they see has misledyou. But I, after being for a long time storm-tossed, could turn my gaze onthat clear truth which tells its story with no admixture of falsehood. . .Those fictions, in short, which from long use hold you entangled in theircoils, I once studied closely, listened to eagerly, believed heedlessly,urged insistently on all I could, maintained against others stubbornly andvigorously. Hence I can by no means be angry with you, for as I had to bearwith myself in those days, so now must I bear with you and treat you withall the patience my friends showed me, when I blindly and madly groped inthe darkness of your tenets."
43. Consequently, hope could not fail, a happy issue was assured to thezeal for religion of the Bishop of Hippo, to his tireless activity andgentleness of soul. The Manicheans were brought to Christ's Fold, theschism of Donatus was ended, the Pelagians were routed on every side.Hence, after the death of Augustine, Possidius could write of him: "This distinguished man, a most important member of the body of the Lord,was keenly alert in his concern for the welfare of the universal Church.Even in this life it was permitted him by the favor of God to rejoice overthe fruit of his favors. This was true first in the Church of Hippo and itsterritory, where his jurisdiction chiefly lay, with its complete harmonyand peace. Besides, in other parts of Africa he saw the rise and growth ofOur Lord's Church, either through his own efforts or through the efforts ofothersof the priests he had ordained. He saw with joy Manicheans,Donatists, Pelagians, and pagans abandon their errors in great part andjoined to the bosom of the Church. Then too he seconded and applauded theprogress and zeal of all good men. The insubordination of his brethren hebore in a spirit of pious and holy tolerance. He mourned the abominationsof the wicked, both within and without the Church; cheered, as I said, bythe gain and saddened by the loss of the cause of the Lord."
44. As our Saint displayed a courageous, an invincible spirit in theweighty interests of Africa or of the entire Church, so he excelled as azealous and loving father of his flock. It was his practice to preach oftento the people. At times he explained passages taken as a rule from thePsalms, from the gospel of St. John, from the Epistles of St. Paul, suitinghimself to the capacity of the simpler and less intelligent of his hearers.At times he rebukedand most fruitfullyany abuses or faults that mighthave crept in among the people of Hippo. In this function he toiled longand earnestly to win sinners back to God, to succor the poor, to plead thecause of the accused. Moreover, though he complained that this distractedand divided his mind, he endeavored to allay strife and litigation aboutsecular matters among Christians, letting the exercise of episcopal charitywin the day over his distaste for the world. His charity and courage shonewith brightest muster amid the wreck of civilization, when the Vandals laidwaste Africa, sparing neither priestly rank nor sacred temple. Some Bishopsand priests were at a loss what course to pursue in the midst of so manycrushing disasters. One of them asked Augustine his opinion, and the holyold man frankly wrote back, that it was not permissible for any priest,whose ministry was necessary to the Faithful, to leave his people, nomatter what threatened.
"Surely we know [he said] that when such perils reach their crest and noescape is possible, people of both sexes and of all ages are wont to flockto the church. Some beg for Baptism, some for reconciliation, some for theperformance of penance, all for consolation and for the Sacraments to bemade available and administered. In such a crisis, if ministers be lacking,utter ruin is the lot of those who leave this world unregenerated orunshriven. How extreme is the grief of their brethren in the Faith, whocannot share with them the repose of eternal life! How piercing thelamentation of all, aye, and the bitter denunciation of some at the absenceof sacred ministries and ministers! Consider what the fear of temporalevils does, and the eternal evils it entails. Whereas, if ministers bepresent, with the strength and means God gives them, succor is ready forall. Some are baptized, others are reconciled, none are robbed of Communionof the Body of the Lord; all are consoled, are edified, are exhorted toinvoke the aid of God, who can avert whatever misfortune is feared. All areready for either issue, so that, if that chalice may not pass from them,His will may be done who cannot will anything that is evil."
45. He concludes in these terms: "If, however, anyone flees, so that theflock of Christ is deprived of the food by which it is nourishedspiritually, that man is a hireling, who sees the wolf coming and flies,since he has no care for the sheep." What is more, our Saint practisedwhat he preached. For in the city which was his episcopal see, while thebarbarians were besieging it, the great-souled shepherd who stayed with hisflock, yielded up his soul to God.
46. Another fact may be now added to complete Our eulogy of Augustine.History avouches that this holy Doctor of the Church had seen at Milan,"outside the city walls under the fostering care of Ambrose," adwelling-place of holy souls. Again, a little after his mother's death, heknew of monasteries "at Rome also in large number . . . not merely for men,but for women likewise." Scarcely then had he landed on the shores ofAfrica, when he began to plan the progress of souls towards absoluteperfection of life in the Religious state, and built a monastery in anestate of his. Here "he established himself for nearly three years, sethimself free from all worldly cares, and with certain followers whoattached themselves to him lived only for God, in the practice of fasting,prayer, and good works, meditating on the law of the Lord day andnight." After his promotion to the priesthood, he founded anothermonastery at Hippo in the neighborhood of the church; "and began to livewith the servants of God according to the manner and rule fixed under theholy Apostles: so that before all else no one in that society kept anythingof his own, but they held all things in common, giving to each whatever heneeded." When he was raised to the episcopal dignity, since he wasunwilling to sacrifice the blessings of community life himself, yet wouldnot throw open his monastery to all who came as visitors or guests of theBishop of Hippo, he established a community of clerics in the episcopalpalace. He required that, after renouncing their family property, theyshould live in common a life which, while remote from the allurements ofthe world and from anything like luxury, would not be over-harsh oraustere. The inmates too were to fulfil unitedly the duties imposed by thelove of God and of the neighbor.
47. Not far away was a group of Religious women under the superiorship ofhis own sister. To these he gave an admirable rule, characterized at onceby its wisdom and its moderation. This rule is followed today by a goodlynumber of religious congregations of both sexes, not only those who arecalled "Augustinians," but others whose founders have added theirindividual constitutions to the original rule. These were the seed of amore perfect life in harmony with the evangelical counsels, which our Saintsowed among his contemporaries, and rendered a service not to ChristianAfrica alone, but to the universal Church; for it is from this spiritualmilitia that the Church has drawn during past centuries, and draws today,marked advantages and growth. Rich harvests of this sort sprang from thefruitful sowing of Augustine, even in the Saint's life-time. Thus Possidiusrelates that, appealed to from every quarter, the Father and lawgiverpermitted many Religious men to sally forth in all directions, in orderthat they might found new monasteriesas one fire kindles anotherand mightaid the churches of Africa by their learning and holiness of life.
48. Hence our Saint could rejoice in this robust activity of Religiouslife, so fully meeting his desires. We may quote his own words: "I, the writer of these lines, loved intensely the perfection our Lordspoke of, when He said to the rich young man: "Go, sell all you have, andgive to the poor, and you shall have a treasure in heaven, and come followme." This I did, not of my strength, but with the help of His grace. Nor ismy credit the less, because I was not a rich man. Neither were the Apostlesrich men, who were the first to do this. He gives up the whole world, whogives up all he has and all he desires to have. As to the progress I havemade along this road of perfection, I know better than any other man; butGod knows better than I. To pursue this aim I urge others as best I can,and in the Lord's name I am not without compeers, who have been won over bymy means."
49. In our day likewise We would like to see men arise all the world over,resembling the holy Doctor, many "sowers of chaste counsel," who prudently,of course, but fearlessly and perseveringly, under God's guidance wouldpersuade others to adopt the Religious and priestly life. So would beprovided a surer safeguard against the decline of the Christian spirit andthe gradual decay of sound morality.
50. We have sketched the career and the deserts of our subject, VenerableBrethren; a man to whom none or very few can be compared from among thosewho have flourished from history's dawn to the present, if we regard hissoaring and subtle genius, his wealth and range of learning, his sanctitymounting to the topmost pinnacle, his invincible defense of Catholic truth.We have already cited more than one who spoke his praises. How charmingly,and how truly, Jerome writes to his contemporary and close friend; "Myresolution is to love, to welcome, to cherish, to admire you, and tochampion your words as though they were my own." And again: "Well done!You are famous throughout the world. Catholics revere and receive you asanother builder of the ancient Faith. A mark of greater glory it is, thatheretics loathe you. Me too they assail with a like hatred. They would killin desire those whom they cannot slay with the sword."
51. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, as We have most gladly commemorated theSaint in this Encyclical, not long before the expiration of the year thatmarks the fifteenth century since his death, so we have it very much atheart that you would so extol his memory among your people, that everyonemay venerate him, everyonebefore all elsemay strive to imitate him,everyone may render thanks to God for the benefits which have come to theChurch through so great a Doctor. In this We know that Augustine's noblesonsas is befittingwill take the lead. The ashes of their Father andFounder, given them through the kind grant of Leo XIII, Our predecessor ofhappy memory, they piously preserve at Pavia in the Church of St. Peter inCaelo Aureo. May the Faithful flock in crowds to that shrine, to honor hissacred remains and to gain the indulgences We have bestowed. Then too Wefeel constrained to declare Our lively hope and desire that the EucharisticCongress of the whole world, soon to be held at Carthage, besidescontributing to the triumph of Christ Jesus hidden under the SacramentalSpecies, may also redound to the honor of Augustine. For since the Congresswill meet in the city where our Saint once vanquished the heretics andstrengthened the Christians in their faith; in Latin Africa, whose ancientglories time will never wither, which was the birthplace of that mind ofsurpassing wisdom; not far either from Hippo, which had the happy fortuneof witnessing his virtues and profiting by his pastoral care; it mustsurely come to pass that the memory of the holy Doctor and his teachingabout the august Sacramentwhich We have omitted as being somewhat familiarto most readers from the Church's liturgywill present itself to the mindsof those that assemble there, nay, will almost greet their gaze.
52. Finally, We exhort all the Christian faithful, and especially those whopropose to visit Carthage, to make Augustine their intercessor with theDivine clemency, that brighter days may dawn hereafter upon the Church. Letthem pray, too, that in the vast regions of Africa, natives and strangerswhether they are as yet ignorant of Catholic truth or are at a variancewith Usmay not spurn the light of the Gospel teaching brought to them byour missionaries, may not defer to seek shelter in the bosom of theirloving Mother, the Church.
May the Apostolic Benediction which We most lovingly bestow in the Lord onyou, Venerable Brethren, and on all your clergy and people, win thebestowal of heavenly gifts and attest Our fatherly affection.
Given at Rome in St. Peter's the twentieth day of April, on the Feast ofthe Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the year 1930, the ninth yearof Our Pontificate.
1. Innocent to the Bishops Aurelius and Augustine: epist. 184 among theAugustinian letters.
2. Innocent to Aurelius, Alypius, Augustine, Evodius, and PossidiusBishops: epist. 183, n. 1, among the Augustinian letters.
3. Celestine to Venerius, Marinus, Leotius, Auxonius, Arcadius, Filtanius,and the rest of the Bishops of Gaul: epist. 21, c. 2, n. 3.
4. Gelasius to all the Bishops of Picenum (circa finern).
5. Hormisdas, epist. 70, to Bishop Possessor.
6. John II, epist. olim 3, to certain Senators.
7. Registrum epistolarum, lib. X, epist. 37, to Innocentius, prefect ofAfrica.
8. Hadrian 1, epist. 83, to the Bishops throughout Spain. Cf. Letter toKing Charles on images, passim.
9. Encyclical "Aeterni Patris."
10. Ps. lxvii, 36.
11. Confessions, Bk. m, c. 4, n. 8.
12. Confessions, Bk. 11, c. 2, n. 4.
13. Ibidem. Bk. m, c. 12, n. 21.
14. De dono perseverantiae, c. 20, n. 53.
15. Confessions, Bk. VI, c. 5, n. 7.
16. Confessions, Bk VII c. 7, n. 11.
17. Ibidem, Bk. VIII, c. i2, n. 29. (Rom. xiii, 13-14.)
18. Confessions, Bk. 1, c. 1, n. 1.
19. De Civitate Dei, Bk. XIX, c. 13, n. 2.
20. Acts xvii, 27.
21. Acts xvii, 30.
22. De utilitate credendi, c. 16 n. 34.
23. De utilitate credendi, c. 17, n. 35.
24. Contra epist. Parmeniani, Bk. m, n. 24.
25. J. H. Newman, "Apologia," pp. 116-117. (London, 890.)
26. Enarrat. in Ps. Ivi, n. I.
28. Psalmus contra partem Donati.
29. Contra epist. Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti, c. 4, n. 5.
30. Innocent to Silvanus, Valentinus, and the rest who took part in theCouncil of Milevum. Eput. 182, n. 2 among the Augustianian letters.
31. Serm. 131, c. 10, n. 10.
32. Epist. 190, to Optatus, c. 6, n. 23.
33. In Johannis Evang., tract. 5, n. 15.
34. Isaias vii, 9 (Septuag).
35. Mal. ii, 7.
36. Enarrat. in Ps. cxliv, n. 13.
37. De Trinitate, Bk. VII, c. 4, n. 7.
38. Enarrat. in Ps. d, n. 10.
39. De Trinitate, Bk. VIII, proem., n. I.
40. Ibidem, Bk. XV, c. 21, n. 40.
41. Ibidem, Bk. XV, c. 17, n. 27.
42. De Trinitate, Bk. XIV, c. 19, n. 25.
43. In Johannis evang., tract. 78, n. 3. Cf. St. Leo's epist. 165,Testimonia, c. 6.
44. Ibidem; cf. Breviarium causae Nestorianorum et Eutychianorum, c. 5.
45. De civitate Dei, Bk. XIV, c. 28.
46. Enarrat. in Ps. Ixiv, n. 2.
47. Rom. viii, 28.
48. Wisdom viii, 1.
49. De civitate Dei, Bk. V, c. 15.
50. Ibidem, BK. V, c. 17, n. 2.
51. Ibidem, c. 25.
52. Ibidem, c. 26.
53. Ibidem, Bk. XV, c. 26.
54. De civitate Dei, Bk. V, c. 24.
55. Luke xxii, 25-26.
56. Luke xxi, 33.
57. Ps. cxviii, 161.
58. Enarr. in Ps. cxviii, sermo 31, n. 1.
59. Confessions, Bk. IX, c. I. n. I.
60. Rom. vii, 23.
61. Serm 128, cc. 9-10, nn. 11-12.
62. I Cor. iv, 7.
63. De correptione et gratia, c. 12, n. 38.
64. Matt. vii. 7-8.
65. De dono perseverantiae, c. 6, n. 10.
66. Ibi em, c. 23, n. 63.
67. Vita S. Augustini, c. 31.
68. Confessions, Bk. IX, c. 10, nn. 23-24.
69. Ibidem, Bk. X, c. 40, n. 65.
70. Ibidem, c. 27, n. 38.
71. De sancta virginitate, c. 55, n. 56.
72. Contra epist. Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti, cc. 2-3, nn. 2-3.
73. Vita S. Augustini, c. 18.
74. Epist. 228, n. 8.
75. Epist. 228, n. 14.
76. Confessions, Bk. VIII, c. 6, n. 15.
77. De moribus Ecclesiae catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum, Bk. 1, c.33, n. 70.
78. Possidius, Vita S. Augustini, c. 3.
79. Ibidem, c. 5.
80. Epist. 157, c. 4, n. 39.
81. Epist. 172, n. I, among the Augustinian letters.
82. Epist. 195, among the Augustinian letters.
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