Bp Barron on Augustine and the Development of Doctrine.

MEMORIAL OF SAINT AUGUSTINE
MATTHEW 23:27-32
Friends, on this feast day of St. Augustine, we reflect on the development of Catholic teaching. In one very real sense, the Father speaks all he can possibly speak in his Son, rightly called the Logos. There is no more to be revealed, no more to be said, than what is expressed in Jesus. Nevertheless, the fullness of that revelation unfolds only over space and time, much the way that a seed unfolds very gradually into a mighty oak.

A lively mind takes an idea, turns it over, considers it, looks at it from various viewpoints, questions it. Then, in lively conversation, that mind throws the idea to another mind, who performs a similar set of operations.

This “play of lively minds” goes on over the centuries. St. John threw the idea of the Incarnation to St. Polycarp, who threw it to St. Irenaeus, who threw it to Origen, who threw it to Augustine, who passed it to Thomas Aquinas, who shared it with Robert Bellarmine, who spoke it to John Henry Newman and others, who have given it to us.
         
Now, who guarantees that this process moves forward? The answer is the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to the Church.

Now, ponder Augustine’s text prior to the “late have I loved Thee:”

From the Confessions of St Augustine
O Eternal Truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.  O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.  Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s