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1st Reflection Journal : Second week of August, day 7 (Wednesday)


St. Augustine uses his focus on the fact that God may exists in the same extent which wisdom
and truth exists, which is an concepts or ideas in the mind but not reality. He shows that there is
evidence of God but not a powerful Creator. To Augustine, God exists but requires him to exist
for the basis of his argument. St. Augustine focuses on memory as an unconscious knowledge,
which eventually leads him to his knowledge of God. Augustine is no longer telling if the past,
but only of present time.

Augustine starts his analysis of memory in a description of a house. The storehouse is a place
where objects are retrieved, deposited, and re-stored; just like the memory where images are
kept, and in need recovered. Augustine gives a characterization of memory as if it was
materialistic ;it is reliable, every things has its own place in it, and it can contain unlimited
information. The memory exists in all things in the past, present and no one can take it away
from us. St. Augustine believed that the ideas in someone’s memory must have been in his mind
before he learned it, waiting to be recognized. Augustine suggests, "It must have been that they
were already in my memory, hidden away in its deeper recesses, in so remote a part of it that I
might not have been able to think of them at all, if some other person had not brought them to the
fore by teaching me about them" (X: chapter 10,218). In recognizing an idea the exclusive
memory he has in his mind. In addition memories that are neglected slip back into remote places
of the memory and these memories evolve becoming new ones again. Augustine then started to
focus on the search of God in his memory. The search of God in one's memory was troubling
matter for Augustine ;God cannot be attained through the powers of memory, which beast's
possess. Augustine is suggests looking for God in a different place, outside of the memory. An
issues which is brought up by Augustine is the consequences of not finding God in the memory.
In order to remember something, it must be in the memory. Therefore the question raised is:
"How, then, am I to find you, if I have no memory of you?" (X: chapter 17,224). This is the same
question that was raised in book 1 of confessions: How come we know of God if we don't know
what he looks like? Unlike St. Augustine's answer in Book 1,in book X he suggests that even if
something is lost from one's memory he should look for it in his memory. Augustine believed
that one's memory could reform the knowledge of God, similarly to Happiness that could be
finding in enigmatic parts of the memory."... And ask all men whether they wished to be happy,
all would reply they did. But this could only happen if happiness itself, that is, the state which
the word signifies, were to be found somewhere in the memories" (X: chapter 20,227).
Augustine suggests that one had the knowledge of happiness in the past, therefore he knows what
it is.

"It may be that we were all once happy individually, or it may be that we were all in Adam, the
first sinner" (X: Chapter 20,226). Augustine concludes that he cannot find God un his sense, his
emotions or his mind that is mutable. Augustine asks where he can find God if he is not in his
memory, and conclude that there is one characteristic of God that can explain it. God is
transcendent " whether we approach you or depart from you, you are not confined in any place" (
(X: chapter 26,231);God transcendent Augustine's mind where ever he was looking. In order for
God to transcend the mind, it should have been known first. Therefore, it can be observed that
the search for God is still an interior search. Theological anthropology is the statement of
understand both God and understand what is to be human. An open question, what is it to be
human is in a sense that every actions of an individual and the communities determine what we
as humans and the world is like. The only way to answer the questions can only be determined
by what will happen to the world because of what we cause. In the relation to the discussions, the
ideas of St. Augustine and theological anthropology which is the concept of 'person'.

Herein is to explore St. Augustine's purpose, motive, and desires in writing the thirteen books of
his famous Confessions. Why write about his own life, his own sins, his own coming to grace,
and what sort of a message is St. Augustine trying to make in his thirteen books? I will strive to
explore what the events were in St. Augustine's life that might have spurred him on to write
his Confessions, possible motives for why St. Augustine might have written this book, what sort
of a book the Confessions is, and what the contents of St. Augustine's Confessions can tell us
about him. The other half of this article will discuss another viewpoint on the Confessions and
strive to look closely to what place Confessions has in Christian literature and in Christian piety.
Also in this, whether your memories in the past was lost, because of being a faithful person and a
person who wants to search the for the truth, you will find him . Even if you’re heartless , if you
are really searching for the truth. Your heart will rest on to him. It is important to us because it
shows that even if your life is useless , you will automatically turn back to him. It’s glad to know
that St. Augustine can rest now because he already found God because of his inferiority.

Resource: https://www.the-philosophy.com/st-augustine-confessions-summary
2nd Reflection Journal: Third week of August, day12 (Monday)


St. Augustine opens his book On Lying with a question, “Is it sometimes right to tell a lie? Can
a lie ever be an honest, well-meant, charitable lie?”
When we ponder the question we should ponder with St Augustine the actions of the Hebrew
midwives in Egypt in Exodus:

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the
other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if
it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not
do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt
summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to
live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian
women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt
well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the
midwives feared God, he gave them families. Did the Hebrew midwives sin when they told this
lie to Pharaoh? Did the Hebrew midwives lie? Many thousands of Jews were saved from the
Holocaust by lies of this sort, many people helped hide Jews and paid with their lives, several
diplomats issued thousands of passports permitting Jews to emigrate to avoid the death camps,
and we all know the story of Oscar Schindler who lied constantly to the Nazis to save his Jewish

St Augustine in his Retractions says he wrote this book to “inculcate the love of speaking the
truth.” The Catholic Catechism (CCC 2482) quotes On Lying to say that a “lie consists of
speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving,” which in our translation is rendered, “a lie
is any utterance whatever with will to deceive.” But we do know that the Hebrew wives
intended to deceive Pharaoh, so we must ponder further. St Augustine teaches us, “there is a
difference between lying and being a liar. A man may tell a lie unwittingly; but a liar loves to
lie, and inhabits in his mind the delight of lying.” Have you ever met or ever seen on TV
someone who lies so much he can’t hardly say anything that is undeniably true? Lying is
hazardous to your soul, St Augustine quotes Wisdom of Solomon 1:11:

Beware of useless murmuring,

and keep your tongue from slander;
because no secret word will go unpunished,
and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

St Augustine’s treatise On Lying is more difficult reading than usual. There is some archaic
usage, to speak leasing means to speak falsely, and pudicity means modesty or chastity. If you
think I have misread any of his passages, let us know in the comments. St Augustine dislikes
lying as much as he dislikes liars, and if he is compelled to justify lying in any circumstance, he
ardently wants the exception to be so narrow as to be unattainable as possible. Perhaps he fears
that if he opens the barn door a crack a herd of cattle will barge
through, such is our propensity to sin and deceive, as all sin involves deception. But God did
bless and reward the Hebrew midwives for their actions. What is always in the mind of St
Augustine as he ponders this riddle? What should always be in all of our minds? “Thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself.” How is this possible? St Augustine teaches us that to love our
neighbor we must truly love ourselves, we must Love God, but how can we truly love ourselves
if we have a lying mouth that destroys our soul? “Good men should never tell lies.”
When someone says something that it is not true out of ignorance, believing that it is true, then
this is not counted as a lie because there is no intention to lie.

The martyrs to the faith we in living memory of many Christians in St Augustine’s day. These
early martyrs were glorified by the church when they were martyred for their faith, for their
refusal to bear false witness against Christ and deny their faith. But what if the authorities also
threatened to kill their father as well if they did not deny Christ? Should they deny Christ to
prevent the murder of their father? These were hard choices the early Christians had to make.
Lying destroys our soul, so even if we think a lie is harmless, it harms our soul. Beware of lying,
be cautious in telling white lies, do we prefer pleasing people over telling the truth? What about
the person whose lies benefits someone rather than harms them? That sort of lie still damages
the soul. What about the Robin Hood argument? “What harm does it do to someone rolling in
wealth who loses one bushel out of a thousand” to a thief who needs that one bushel to keep him
from starving? You can be merciful to the thief, but he still sinned. But “it is no sin if a man hide
his property which he fears to lose,” but that is not really lying but discretion. This is especially
true when you do not reveal where your neighbor’s treasure is hidden when asked by a thief. No
harm is done when a thief is not tempted to thievery. By the same logic the landlord that hid
Jews in the attic and lied to the Gestapo when they knocked on his door asking where the Jews
were hiding, he did not sin when he told them he did not know where they were, knowing they
would be driven like cattle to the death camps. St Augustine teaches that this is not false witness
because the Gestapo were not searching for witnesses when they knocked on the door looking
for Jews, they were searching for betrayers. In these last two circumstances St Augustine teaches
that “the question is no longer about lying, but whether an injury ought to be done to any man.”
St. Augustine teaches that we must “guard our chastity of mind, when we love our neighbor we
guard our innocence and benevolence, when we Love God we guard our piety. Through
innocence we harm no man, through benevolence we do good to whom we can, through piety we
worship God.” This happens when we refuse to bear false witness against our neighbor, this
happens when we learn to love to speak the truth of our neighbor, this happens when we do not
seek to harm our neighbor, but rather seek to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Resource: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1312.htm
3rd Reflection Journal: Fourth week of August, day 22 (Thursday)


St. Augustine's On Free Choice of the Will elaborates on the relationship between God, Free will
and evil. During the very beginning of the Book One, he asks the question, "isn't God the cause
of evil"(Cahn 357). From this question, it can be ascertained that he searches for a connection
between God and evil (sins), which inferred in the writing to be connected through free will. He
believes that God does not create evil, but rather that evil is simply the lack of good, since God is
completely Good and, therefore, cannot create evil. God not being the source of evil is then
further elaborated through his explanation of a crime and how it is caused by inordinate desires
and human abuse of good things (Cahn 360). By explaining things this way, he shows that
humans are responsible for evil, through their own wills. Of course, being that God is supposed
to be in control, he further elaborates that God give us free will in order to punish us righteously
for this.

He believes that God has given humans free will so that they would be able to sin and justifies
God by writing that "the very fact that anyone who uses free will to sin is divinely punished shoe
that free will was given to enable human beings to live rightly, for such punishment would be
unjust if free will had been given both for living rightly and for sinning" (Cahn 361). Essentially,
he wrote that God gives human free will as a way to measure whether or not they can live
righteously, while being tempted with 'evil' desires.

I agree with Augustine's logic regarding free will being the cause of evil, but there is a major
fallacy which I will also explain. Augustine argues that "God is a cause of the second kind of
evil, but in no way causes the first kind... For there is no single cause of evil" (Cahn 357). While
this statement is logical, since It can be said that God's creations are the cause of evil and not
God, it can also be somewhat interpreted as being flawed in the same sense. If God is the creator
of everything, then does he not also have a hand in the creation of his creations?

He is supposed to be the omnipotent being that has the master hand in every sense of life, so he
should have more than just a secondhand blame for the creation of evil. However, since he is not
directly the creator of evil and everything is inherently good, Augustine's argument that God's
hands are 'clean' of evil is logically sound. St. Augustine's assessment of free will being the cause
of evil is also a logically sound argument. By providing an example of a mistreated slave killing
his owner as a result of his innate desire (Cahn 360), he shows that it was through the slave's
'free will' that evil was done. This shows that God, since he has given humans free will, had no
part in said evil, since if he has indeed given the slave free will, then the creation of evil was
entirely in the slave's hands. If free will is indeed given to humans by God for the purpose of
deciding if they can keep righteous through temptations, then it is clearly shown here that this is
true what a person manufactures in his mind is influenced by his surroundings and himself
(multiple factors) and what he decides to do (free will) is completely in his hands. This logic
shows that free will is the cause of evil.

However, there is a major factor which I also disagree with and unravels much of the argument
for me. The main issue is that God is omnipotent, but has given humans free will. That in itself is
a huge contradiction, which Augustine attempts to answer by saying that "God foreknows this
power (our will).. Since he whose foreknowledge never foreknows that I will have it" (Cahn 366
367). This sounds like he is simply speaking in circles about the subject. He tries to say that God
knows about the future but he knows about our free will, which will give us the power to decide
things, but in the end is also foreknown by God. This is where I start to defer from his beliefs,
since I believe that free will is the cause of evil, but that God should be taken out of the equation.
While it can argued that God only knows of all the possibilities and not what will directly
happen, which would make it so that he is providing free will and is part of a triangle relation
between himself, free will, and evil, it is simply much more logical to believe that if there is a
God, then there is no free will, and if that is such, God is the originator of evil. Augustine's work
is extremely logical and provides much evidence proving that free will is the cause of evil. He
explains very clearly that evil is a result of human desire and free will to do what they want. The
most major flaw in his argument is that there is An omnipotent being that controls everything,
yet doesn't control everything, which would unravel his entire argument, resulting in evil being
created by said being. Thus, the message that God exists would actually be detrimental to the
argument that free will is the cause of evil. However, Augustine writes that "I hold by faith, not
by something I see for myself"(Cahn 362), which means that God is not proven, so logically he
doesn't exist. Therefore, God were to not exist, humans were innately given free will, and evil is
not created from another source, it can be logically deduced that St. Augustine's analysis of free
will being the cause of evil is correct. I chose this book because it is all about God and evil. God
is not the cause of an evil but human desire and human free will is. It is very important to us
because it tells us about the truth and to open our eyes for the reality that God only knows of all
the possibilities and not what will directly happen so don't blame God on what happened in our
surroundings. And also, we are only hold by our faith and not by something we see because God
doesn't Exist. At first, I'm a little bit confused because We said that God is always there and he
exist but now I've learned in this book and that is God is not exist.

Resource: https://owlcation.com/humanities/St-Augustine-of-Hippo-on-Free-Will
4th Reflection Journal: Fifth week of August, day 30 (Friday)


On Christian Doctrine, Blog 1, Love of God and Neighbor

St. Augustine’s key work, On Christian Doctrine, is translated often as On Christian Teaching,
teaches us how to read Scriptures and teach and spread our faith to our neighbors. What is the
core of this work? We should Love God with all of our heart and with all of our soul and with all
of our mind and with all of our strength, and we should love our neighbor as ourselves. If we do
not love our neighbor, we cannot Love God, and if we do not Love God and our neighbor, we
cannot fathom Scripture, let alone deign to teach and preach the Scriptures.

On Christian Doctrine, Blog 2, Biblical Interpretation

St. Augustine teaches, “Scripture exhorts nothing except charity (or agape love), and condemns
nothing except lust, so fashioning the lives of men. But if an erroneous opinion takes hold of a
man’s mind, he thinks that whatever Scripture asserts contrary to his mistaken delusion must be

On Christian Doctrine, Blog 3. Read Scriptures, Love God

Above all, we should always remember the words of St Augustine, when he teaches that when
anyone “thinks he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, and puts such an
interpretation upon them that does not build up the two-fold love of God and our neighbor, does
not truly understand the Holy Scriptures.”

On Christian Doctrine Blog 4: Steps To Wisdom

What are the steps to Wisdom? St Augustine teaches us there are seven steps to wisdom. Fear of
God, the beginning of wisdom, is the first step. “We should be led by the fear of God to seek the
knowledge of His will, what He commands us to desire, what we should avoid.” Fear of God
should make us mindful of our mortality, so we will always remember our death before us, so we
can crucify our pride “as if our flesh were nailed to the tree.”
We are as quick to forget Fear of God as we are slow to remember our mortality, as we are
reluctant to accept our suffering, as we are quick to seek cheap grace and an easy faith. Fear of
God is like sweating in Church, Loving God in an air-conditioned sanctuary is what we seek. But
Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the end of wisdom is seeking the Love of God.

5th Reflection Journal : First week of September , Day 1 (Sunday)


What Is This Book About?

Over his lifetime, Augustine wrote in excess of 5 million words, which makes him arguably the
most prolific ancient author of all time. City of God (Latin: Civitate Dei), written intermittently
between AD 413 and 427, is considered to be Augustine’s scholarly masterpiece. The title of
Augustine’s work came directly from Scripture:
Glorious things are said of you, city of God.
–Psalm 87:3
City of God stands as Augustine’s monumental world-and-life-view analysis. It is his longest
(more than a thousand pages) and most comprehensive work, and it is considered by some to be
his most significant contribution to Western thought. In this book, Augustine laid new
foundations in the fields of Christian apologetics and worldview and in the analysis of Christian
City of God consists of 22 chapters and can be divided into two major parts. The first part of the
work consists of Augustine’s refutation (“Against the Pagans”) of the charge made by some
Roman citizens that Christianity was responsible for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
(Rome had been shockingly sacked in AD 410 by barbarian invaders.) Augustine concludes that
the Roman Empire’s demise was not the result of it becoming influenced by Christianity in its
later stages but rather the result of the empire’s inability to live up to its highly exalted ideas.
In the second part, Augustine developed his own tale of two cities: “the City of God” and “the
City of Man.” The City of God, represented as Jerusalem, has a divine origin and a heavenly, or
eternal, destiny. The City of Man, represented as Babylon, has a human origin and an earthly, or
temporal, destiny. Augustine saw human affairs, like all things, as being under the control of the
sovereign and providential plan of almighty God. In this work, Augustine gave the Western
world its first philosophy of history, presenting and defending a distinctly Christian linear view
of history.
On August 24, the year 410, the unthinkable happened: The Goths, under the leadership of
Alaric, sacked Rome. Although, by historical standards, it was a fairly “restrained” sacking, there
was nothing restrained about response to the news that the “eternal city” had been pillaged.
Pagans blamed the downfall of Rome, and other calamities as well, on Christianity. This
prompted a reply by a North African bishop that shaped the course of Western civilization. That
bishop was, of course, Augustine of Hippo, and his reply was the classic apologetic book
entitled The City of God. To fully appreciate Augustine’s masterpiece, you need to understand
the man and his times. And I can think of no better guide than my friend Ken Boa. You see,
Augustine understood clearly and enunciated the classic Christian truth about the fallen nature of
man and the pervasiveness of sin. As Ken tells listeners to his Great Books Audio CD Series, for

Augustine sin is a revolt against God and refusing to accept one’s status as a creature. This
rebellion causes us to turn away from things that are divine and truly abiding and, instead, turn to
things that are changeable and uncertain.

Our desires, and not the love of God, become the center of our existence. Sound familiar? This
self-centeredness, absent the grace of God, blinds us to the truth and enfeebles our will and will
cripple our institutions.
In the book, Augustine contrasts the City of God versus the City of Man. While the first, the City
of God, understands its rebellious nature and therefore submits to God and His purposes, the
second city—the secular one—is simply trying to “rival God.”

The City of God is “social” and “seeks the common welfare.” The City of Man is “selfish” and
seeks “selfish control...for the sake of arrogant domination.” The City of God “desires for its
neighbor what it wishes for itself,” while the City of Man “desires to subjugate its neighbor.”

Augustine makes a great apologetic defense of Christianity and its powerful influence in the
welfare of the state. And he makes a powerful critique of the City of Man. Rebellion against the
true God is what led to the fall of Rome and other earthly cities. The Romans worshipped false
gods, and it was their pride and corruption, not Christianity, that brought catastrophe on Rome.

Contrary to what ancient and modern pagans believe, it is Christians who make the best citizens.
We know that the various earthly cities are transitory. We do not see earthly governments as a
means to power, wealth, or self-aggrandizement.

Christians fulfill the requirements of citizenship out of obedience to God and love for Him, and
in the hope of creating the kind of society where we can live peaceable and godly lives. Of
course, this kind of society is good for our non-Christian neighbors as well, which is exactly the
point. There is so much more about The City of God than I can cover here. So The City of God is
indispensable to an understanding of a proper Christian worldview.

Resource: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1201.htm
6th Reflection Journal : Second week of September, day 12 (Thursday)


The mystery of the most Holy Trinity is a basic doctrine of Faith in Christianity, understandable
not with our heads but with our hearts. It teaches us that there are three distinct Persons in one
God, sharing the same Divine Nature. Our mind cannot grasp this doctrine which teaches that
1+1+1 = 1 and not 3. But we believe in this Mystery because Jesus who is God taught it clearly,
the Evangelists recorded it, the Fathers of the Church tried to explain it and the Councils of
Nicaea and Constantinople defined it as a dogma of Christian Faith.

I’ll bet many of you know the old story of St. Augustine walking along the beach one day,
taking a break from writing his treatise on the Trinity, whose Solemnity we celebrate this
week. The great scholar just couldn’t get his mind around this great mystery. The story goes
that he saw a little boy digging a hole in the sand, and then running to the ocean, filling up his
hands with the seawater, running back to the hole and emptying the water into the
hole. Augustine watched as the child went back and forth several times. Finally he said to the
boy, “What are you doing?” The boy said, “Trying to fill that hole with the ocean.” And
Augustine said, “You’ll never fit the ocean in that hole.” And the boy said, “Neither will you
be able to fit the Trinity into your mind.” this treatise does not seek to prove or defend the
existence of the Triune God, but invites us to join its author in contemplating the mystery of God
as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For Augustine, the act of contemplating the Triune God is
neither a ‘dry’ exercise nor a theological weapon, but a conversion of the heart: “…[a] renewal
and discovery of self in God and God in self.” Sadly, this beautiful connection was separated
from doctrinal examination in western Christian spirituality, making the Trinity appear, in
Edmond Hill’s words, “a curious kind of intellectual luxury for theological highbrows.”

Augustine begins Book IX with a statement of intent, encouraging readers to maintain the correct
posture of faith, which is produced by contemplating the Triune God. He suggests that the
contemplation of the Holy Trinity, if undertaken in a particular fashion, moves one toward
holiness. He then proceeds to discuss the way in which God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can
be seen in humankind. Augustine posits that the imago Dei is most accessible by examining the
triad that is formed by the act of loving something. The three points of the triad are seen in (1)
the act of one who is loving something, (2) the love itself, and (3) the object that is loved. These
are, in a sense, mirroring the process of contemplation, in which also exists a triad: (1) the mind
that desires to know something, (2) the activity of knowing, and (3) the object that is known.
These two triads are then linked in the contemplative mind, which is knowing and loving itself.
This must also, if humans are really are made in God’s image, reveal something of the God’s
own movement in the Triune Godhead. The link between the triads in the Godhead and the triads
of knowing/loving is that “whoever does not know love does not know God, for God is love” (1
John 4:8). It’s true that the concept of God as three “Persons” is a mystery. And yet if we
reflect on it, we can see also that it is the way that God has been revealed to us, as Father or
Creator; as the Son, Jesus; and as the Holy Spirit or the Advocate. It’s also clear that one of
the fundamental attributes of the Trinity is that it is about relationship between those three,
and with us. So this week, perhaps take some time to meditate on the place of the Father, Son
and Holy
Spirit in your life, and while you’re not going to “fit” that mystery of the Trinity into your
mind, you might find a greater place for it in your spiritual life
Importance in Christian life: 1) All prayers in the Church begin in the Name of the Holy
Trinity and end glorifying the Trinity. 2) All Sacraments are administered (we are baptized,
confirmed, anointed, our sins are forgiven, and our marriage blessed, and our Bishops, priestsand
deacons ordained) in the name of the Holy Trinity. 3) Where Church bells ring thrice daily, they
remind us to pray to the Holy Trinity. 4) We bless ourselves, and the priest blesses us, in the
name of the Holy Trinity.

Life messages: 1) We need to respect ourselves and respect others. Our conviction of the
presence of the Triune God within us should help us to esteem ourselves as God’s holy dwelling
place, to behave well in His holy presence, and to lead purer and holier lives, practicing acts of
justice and charity. This Triune Presence should also encourage us to respect and honor others
as "Temples of the Holy Spirit."

2) We need to be aware of God as the Source of our strength and courage. The awareness
and conviction of the presence of God within us, gives us the strength to face the manifold
problems of life with Christian courage. It was such a conviction that prompted the early
Christian martyrs, when taken to their execution, to shout the heroic prayer of Faith from the
Psalms: "The Lord of might is with us, our God is within us, and the God of Jacob is our helper"
(Psalm 46).

3) We need to see the Trinity as the model for our Christian families: We are created in love
to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in
love. From the day of our Baptism, we have belonged to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How
privileged we are to grow up in such a beautiful Family! Hence, let us turn to the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit in prayer every day. We belong to the Family of the Triune God. The love, unity
and joy in the relationship among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit should be the supreme model
of our relationships within our Christian families. Our families become truly Christian when we
live in a relationship of love with God and with others.

4) We are called to become more like the Triune God through all our relationships. We are
made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we
can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. The self needs to be
in a horizontal relationship with all other people and in a vertical relationship with God. In that
way, our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. Modern society follows the so-called “I-and-
I” principle of unbridled individualism and the resulting consumerism. But the doctrine of the
Blessed Trinity challenges us to adopt an "I-and-God-and-neighbor" principle: “I am a Christian
insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and other people.” Like God the Father, we
are called upon to be productive and creative persons by contributing to the building up of the
fabric of our family, our Church, our community and our nation. Like God the Son, we are
called upon to reconcile, to be peacemakers, to put back together that which has been broken, to
restore what has been shattered. Like God the Holy Spirit, it is our task to uncover and teach
truth and to dispel ignorance. (Trinitarian spirituality: “The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that
it belongs to God’s very Nature to be committed to humanity and its history, that God’s
Covenant with us is irrevocable, that God’s face is immutably turned toward us in love, that
God’s presence to us is utterly reliable and constant.... Trinitarian spirituality is one of solidarity
between and among persons. It is a way of living the Gospel attentive to the requirements of
justice, understood as rightly ordered relationships between and among persons.” Dictionary of

Resource: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130101.htm
7th Reflection Journal : Third week of September, day 17 (Tuesday)


This discourse on the Apostle’s Creed was delivered by St Augustine to a local church council in
North Africa. In this treatise he repeats his classical explanation of the Trinity:
The Father is truly God, the Son is truly God, and the Holy Spirit is truly God.
The Father is not sometimes the Son, and the Father is not sometimes the Holy Spirit, and God is
One. We have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, but “there are not three
Gods in that Trinity, but One God and one substance.”

St. Augustine suggests that the tree is another metaphor for the Trinity. The tree is made of roots
and trunk and branches, “the root is wood, and the trunk is wood, and the branches are wood, but
we do not speak of three woods, but only one tree.” The concluding section of this discourse is
quoted in Catholic Catechism’s discussion of the commandment, Do not covet: “The faithful
must believe the articles of the Creed ‘so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may
live well, and by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what
they believe.’ “

When we truly believe in our heart the Creed we will cheerfully obey God, we will then live well
and purify our hearts, and with pure hearts we can truly understand the meaning of the
creed. Before this can happen we need to know what the Creed says, and studying what the
Church Fathers and the Catechism teaches us about the Creed can only help. Language and
knowledge is what distinguishes us from the beasts and permits us to acquire wisdom. Why are
we such eager Sunday afternoon quarterbacks, second-guessing coaches, when we let our minds
drift during the sermon, if we attend church at all? If we truly Love the Lord, why would we not
be eager to learn how to please the Lord?

Future blogs on the teachings of the Catholic Catechism on the Creeds will examine the creed in
more detail, and there will also be a future blog on St Augustine’s major treatise on the Trinity,
so we will summarize what strikes us in this discourse. The Apostles Creed: I believe in God, the
Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. St Augustine quotes from the Septuagint, “Unless
you believe, you will not understand.” You must believe in faith that “God made all things out
of nothing.”I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

The Church Fathers teach that Christ was not begotten at a specific time or place, but rather that
Christ the Son was eternally begotten of the Father. There was never a time when Christ was
not, that was the Arian heresy condemned in the First Ecumenical Council. St Augustine
teaches, “God, when He begat the Word, begat that which He is Himself. Neither out of nothing,
nor of any material already made did He beget the Son, but He begat of Himself that which He is
Himself.” If this does not make logical sense to you, it because this is God’s logic, this is not
man’s logic. Begetting the Son so His Son can become Incarnate in the flesh and die for our sins
is what God wanted to do, so God begat the Son, begets the Son, and continues eternally to beget
the Son. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men.” The Arian heresy was to assert that the
Son was a glorified creature, but a creature nonetheless. St Augustine responds that “however
great they declare a creature to be, if it is a creature, is has been fashioned and made,” and cannot
be eternally begotten. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin

St Augustine remind us that when Christ was dying on the Cross on of his last words on the
Cross was to his mother, “Woman, here is your son,” then he said to His disciple John, “Here is
your mother.”[1] Honor your father and your mother, that is the first Love your neighbor
commandment. St Augustine teaches, “the Word of God could in no way have been defiled by a
human body (of the virgin Mary) which does not defile the human soul. The soul is not defiled
by the body when it rules the body and quickens it, the soul is only defiled when the body lusts
after mortal things.”

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. Christ humbled Himself to
be born of Mary, but He did not consider his humbleness a humiliation. “Christ deemed it meet
to die in behalf of mortal men, ‘He humbled Himself unto death, even death on the Cross.’ “

St Augustine compares Christ’s burial in a new tomb where no dead person had been buried to
His conception in the womb of Mary, where before or after his birth “was anyone mortal
conceived.” He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. St Augustine cautions us that this clause in the Creed
does not suggest that “God the Father is circumscribed by a human form.” When the Creed says
that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, this means spiritually, signifying a “position of
supreme blessedness, with righteousness, peace, and joy,” a divine judicial power he will come
again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the
communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life

St Augustine questions whether the “Love of God and the Holy Spirit are identical.” St
Augustine observes that at Pentecost when apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, that this was
ascribed to love. “To enjoy the Wisdom of God implies that we should cleave to Wisdom in
Love.” We abide in the Wisdom of God by Love, thus the “Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of
Sanctity.” We can say that the Holy Spirit brings Love, and that the Holy Spirit is Love, but
Scripture also exhorts that God is Love, “not Love is God, but God is Love, so the very Godhead
is taken to be Love.”

St Augustine teaches us that as God Loves us, so we should Love God with all of our heart and
with all of our soul, so we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Here St. Augustine teaches us
that man consists of spirit, soul, and body. Here the modern definitions conflict with the ancient
definitions. What St Augustine here calls spirit is what we call soul, the eternal soul that
distinguishes man from beast, the soul that we possess because we were created in the likeness of
God. What St Augustine here calls soul is the Greek animating soul that gives life to the
soul. Aristotle says that all plants, animals, and people have souls, for the soul is what animates
the body. St. Augustine teaches that the “spirit is also called the mind, the mind which the
apostle says, ‘with the mind I serve the law of God.’ “ Our mind is a gift from God to be used
and exercised, not merely entertained by television and movies. St Augustine also teaches that
the soul is the flesh when it chases after carnal things, but the nature of the soul is perfect when it
follows the spirit that follows God.

Let us pray with St Augustine that we study the Creed we would believe the Creed, that our
belief will lead us to obey God, that our obedience to God’s commandments will lead us to live a
godly life, that our virtuous life will purify our heart, and that our pure heart expressed in our
thoughts, words and deeds will enable us to truly understand that which we believe.

Resource: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1304.htm
8th Reflection Journal: Fourth week of September, day 25 (Wednesday)


Many of us have either studied Augustine or at least heard some of his more famous quotes. One
in particular is quite striking: “Our heart is restless until it rests in you.” These words are taken
from one of Augustine’s most well-known writings, the Confessions, in which Augustine
discusses his long journey towards Christ and his conversion to Christianity.

“Our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

These are powerful words. They direct us toward Christ in a simple way that speaks to everyone,
for everyone has a restless heart. Pope Francis tells us that Augustine is speaking of three types
of restlessness: “the restlessness of spiritual seeking, the restlessness of the encounter with God,
the restlessness of love.” This restlessness, whether we recognize it or not, is a desire to know
God and to have a deeper relationship with Him. None of this is easy, but God is always there for
us. He is waiting with open arms, just as he waited for Augustine in his conversion to
Christianity, so that we might rest in Him.

Of course, the natural question to ask is how we can rest in the Lord. Augustine gives us a clear
answer in his Confessions. He says:

“No one knows what he himself is made of, except his own spirit within him, yet there is still
some part of him which remains hidden even from his own spirit; but you, Lord, know everything
about a human being because you have made him… Let me, then, confess what I know about
myself, and confess too what I do not know, because what I know of myself I know only because
you shed light on me, and what I do not know I shall remain ignorant about until my darkness
becomes like bright noon before your face.”

Augustine is giving us an important model of faith to follow, one of deep personal reflection, one
that teaches us how to reflect and why we should reflect. Why? Because in reflection, we find
God, in reflection, we find rest.

But Augustine is very clear about how reflection works. He says, “What I know of myself I know
only because you shed light on me.” Reflection is not solitary; we have to reflect with God. It is
a prayer.

We have all been told time and time again that prayer is an integral aspect of our everyday lives,
but prayer does not have to be formulaic, it does not always have to be recited from the back of a
card. These types of prayers are amazing and so helpful in directing our lives, but some of the
most beautiful prayer is when we reflect with God, when we open up ourselves to Him and just
talk to Him and listen to Him in our hearts. Who better to show us the importance of reflection
than our Mother? Luke 2:19 tells us “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her
heart.” Mary, the Mother of God, born without sin, who through her body brought Jesus into this
world, still took the time to reflect with the Lord.

Augustine and Mary are both powerful examples to us. They were holy people, but they were
human. They faced struggles in their lives and in their faith. Their hearts were restless in their
journeys toward the Lord. But through their example, through their lives, through personal
reflection with the Lord, they show us how to find rest in Him.
9th Reflection Journal: Fifth week of September, 30 (Monday)


Before all else, dear brothers, love God and then your neighbor, because these are the chief
commandments given to us. All followers of Jesus are called to love God and neighbor. The
synthesis of the Gospel for Augustine and the way to live it out can be found in his Rule or way
of life. We can use these principles, which we find in the Rule, in our ministerial service. As
religious, we can be a model of community for those parochial communities which we form and

Principle one: Unity and Harmony

Live together in harmony, being of one mind and heart on the way to God. St. Augustine,
reflecting on the Christian community described in the Act of the Apostles, realistically expects
diversity. He likewise promotes harmony, by which differences are respected and, under the
influence of grace, the community approaches unity.

Principle two: Stewardship

“Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common.”
Like the community of Acts, we are called to be wise stewards of our time, treasure and talents –
both material and spiritual goods. Freed from the burden of possessiveness, Augustine
encourages us to abandon all self-seeking in order to find joy in sharing with others God’s
manifold gifts. The community (Church) can hold goods in common and from this storehouse
share whatever is necessary for those in need. Our parish communities advance this way of life
by embracing stewardship, returning a share of what we have and focusing our mission on the
genuine concern for those who are in need.

Principle three: Care and respect for the individual (Your superior should see to it that each
person is provided with food and clothing. He does not have to give exactly the same to
everyone, for you are not equally strong, but each person should be given what he personally
When common resources are joyfully shared to meet individual needs, the community itself is
strengthened. Both the person providing the resource and the one receiving it benefits. This
reflects the life of our Trinitarian God in our imitation of God’s own generosity and sharing. The
core teaching of the gospel and the first principle of social justice is that every human person is a
child of God, worthy of respect and dignity. A parish encourages each person in the use of
his/her God-given gifts in service to the community. The parish is also to be open to the
differences of individuals as a means of witnessing to the community through each person’s
uniqueness and diverse gifts.

Principle four: Worship (Persevere faithfully in prayer at the hours and times appointed”)
The community should always have an outward focus, seeing and finding Christ in others.
Allowance must be made for personal and private prayer so that the God who dwells within can
be found. Prayer and liturgy (as the work of the people) encourage a peaceful and harmonious
community. For authentic community life to exist in a parish there must be a faith-based sharing
of one’s interior life as we journey on our way to God. Our prayer together must come from the
heart, contemplating in our hearts what is said by our lips.
Principle five: Moderation and Self-Denial (As far as your health allows, keep your bodily
appetites in check by fasting and abstinence from food and drink.)
Fasting, abstinence, sacrifice, self-denial are all necessary for spiritual growth but they are
means, not ends in themselves. St. Augustine urges moderation in all things, advising spiritual
discipline “so far as your health permits.” These practices are meant to lead us to God and to live
a simple lifestyle, rejecting materialism and consumerism and being in solidarity with the poor.
In the words of St. Augustine: “It is better for us to want a little than to have too much.”

Principle six: Mutual care (In all actions, let nothing occur to give offense, but only what
becomes your holy state of life.)
God cares for us when we are cared for by another in love. One clear manifestation of such care
is the obligation to speak fraternally to another who is in danger of straying into sin. Ultimately,
such admonishment must always manifest the tender mercy and forgiveness of God. When in
need of assistance we must graciously accept the help given. We must humbly accept fraternal
correction, which is based on truth and offered in a charitable spirit.

Principle seven: Humility (If, in the religious life, rich people were to become humble and poor
people haughty, then this style of life would seem to be of value only to the rich and not the
Augustine contends that there is no possibility of true community of mind and heart without the
virtue of humility. It is the primary virtue for common life. Conversely, pride, which lurks even
in good works, is the beginning and origin of all sin. Just as Christ emptied himself, so too ought
we to guard against pride which can undermine a good work and distort motivation. Social
status, education, possessions and high achievements do not make us who we are except when
pride dominates. The incarnation of the Word is God’s humility. When we imitate Christ in his
humility, we are formed in his image by loving God and others more than self. We depend on
God for all that we are and what we have.

Principle eight: The common good (Love puts the interest of the community before personal
advantage, and not the other way around.)
Charity grows whenever the individual or the community freely chooses to place the greater
good ahead of one’s own. We are called to build the kingdom of God, not our own. Cooperation,
collaboration and the recognition of the gifts of others enhance the growth of community. The
measure of our growth in charity is found in our placing the community interest (parish) before
our own.

Principle nine: Reconciliation (If you have hurt a person by abusing him, or by cursing or
grossly accusing him, be careful to make amends for the harm you have done, as quickly as
possible, by 3 apologizing to him. And the one who has been hurt should be ready in his turn to
forgive you without wrangling.)
A community of life without conflicts is impossible. Living and interacting together is bound to
create conflicts and Augustine in the Rule offers us a way to respond to these situations. Disputes
are to be addressed quickly, directly, and with compassion. The one who has been offended must
be ready to forgive. Here again, forgiveness must come from the heart not just the lips. To
forgive from the heart requires humility. Augustine makes it eminently clear that a community
will be strong only if its members interact honestly and lovingly. Reconciliation is based on true
concern for each other’s welfare. An Augustinian parish ought to model open, forthright and
loving confrontation in pointing out what is truly harmful to individual persons and to the
community for the welfare of all.
Principle ten: Authority and obedience as service (Your superior must not think himself
fortunate in having power to lord it over you, but in the love with which he shall serve you.)
For Augustine, authority is an act of loving service. A designated authority figure or leader is not
placed above others but remains a part of the community (parish) with special responsibilities
and duties toward others. Guiding the community toward the fulfillment of the Gospel ideals and
being an example to others are two of the most important aspects of the role of authority (pastor).
Every member, however, must take responsibility for the progress toward these ideals and the
discernment of the community’s direction. Likewise, obedience shows a loving compassion for
the leader who bears greater responsibility for the community and a willingness to listen and
cooperate for the common good. This certainly shapes our New Testament understanding of
authority as counter-cultural as proclaimed by Jesus. Such authority remains gentle and humble
because it is always perceived as in service to God, whose servants are thereby served.

Principle eleven: Ongoing conversion (This little book is to be read to you once a week. As in a
mirror, you will be able to see in it whether there is anything you are neglecting or forgetting.)
Augustine encourages us to look into the gospel and Rule as in a mirror to assess how well we
are approaching our goals. Thus, we can monitor our progress in the Christian life, a gradual
process of ongoing conversion in Christ. Conversion is a life-long process. 4 Frequent personal
and communal evaluations help us focus on the journey toward God in oneness of mind and
heart. Augustine’s words alert us that on our journey as the pilgrim people of God we cannot be
complacent. Regular review of the process can stimulate renewal and strengthen commitment
and fervor.

Principle twelve: Freedom under grace (Live in such a way that you spread abroad the life-
giving aroma of Christ. Do not be weighed down like slaves straining under the law, but live as
free men under grace.)
While striving to live in oneness of mind and heart intent upon God as proposed by Augustine,
we must remember that God gives us the grace needed to succeed. It is this grace, freely given by
God that grants us the freedom to choose to love one another as Jesus did and reject the
enslavement of sin. Grace gives us the freedom and the responsibility to find God in ourselves
and in one another.

Resource: https://catholicism.org/the-rule-of-st-augustine.html
10th Reflection Journal: 1st week of October, day 4 (Friday)


Augustine wrote: "all persons want to be happy; and no persons are happy who do not have
what they want." (De beata vita 2.10) From this statement, Augustine proceeds with questioning
what a person should obtain to achieve happiness since happiness is a matter of having what one
wants in order to be happy. The answer for me is that happiness constitutes something that can
be had when it is wanted (De beata vita 2.11). With the availability these days of instant credit
most people are in the position of having materially what they want when it is wanted. Does this
then provide us with the answer of happiness? The answer is inevitably no for material wealth,
no matter how achieved, is perpetually subject to the fear of loss. Augustine argues that it is in
our love of God that we find permanent and enduring happiness without the fear of loss that
erodes our happiness (De beata vita 2.11).

The main theme of Augustine’s thought on happiness concerns our vulnerability to the material
things of this world: "It is beyond doubt that the one cause of fear is either that we will lose what
we love after attaining it or that, despite all our hopes, we will never attain it at all." (De div.
quaest. 33).

Augustine’s definition of love can be found near the end of the first book of the Soliloquia in
which he states: "What is not loved in its own right is not loved." This statement describes the
purity of love for itself not egotistical in its selfishness but altruistic in its unselfishness. When
considering the purity of love, we cannot escape from the fact that originating with the sin of
Adam <Gen 3:6> we are all inherently sinners <Matt 15:19; Rom 5:12>. This fact, as Augustine
suggests, leads to three other primary emotions that create an apprehensive emotional life.
Desire, which is the love of material things, the loss of which we fear; grief, which results in
psychological pain caused by the realization of our fears; and manic or baseless joy, which is
rejoicing in those things that we know are subject to loss though realizing our fear of such a loss
(De div. quaest. 33). It is these emotions that constitute the pathology of the soul from which
Augustine concludes that love can only be measured in relationship to its object. The example
provided by Augustine is that of a shameful love in which the soul pursues material things that
are inferior to itself: "the root of all evils".

In love there are two discerning factors to consider dependent upon the object pursued. There is
the object of material love, which is transitory, and the object of eternal love, which is enduring.
In regard to these two loves, Augustine remarks that it is the object of love that affects its lover
with something of itself (De div. quaest. 33). Augustine describes the evil encountered in the
object of material love as attempting to either eliminate or protect oneself from all impediments
(De lib. arb. 1.4.10). Such behavior frequently involves domination or removal of those who may
pose a threat to the security of their material enjoyment. The social consequence of such
behavior inevitably sets one person against another. The social ills of contemporary society, and
our human history, demonstrate the negative consequences of such behavior.

The antithesis of material love is eternal love the object of which is the love of God. It is in our
love of God that we can be confident that there exists no fear of loss; though it should be
understood that fear exists. This fear is expressed in the Old Testament as "The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom" <Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7, 9:10>. The wisdom we
obtain from our fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge of God and ourselves. In
the Soliloquia this knowledge is described by Augustine as the "knowledge of the soul" which
requires a purging from false conceptions and moral impurities. To achieve this purging,
Augustine states that there are three things required: that the soul have sound eyes with which to
see, that it direct its sight towards God, and that it actually see. Augustine maintains that for the
soul to have sound eyes with which to see one must have faith described by Catholic theologians
as "the evidence of things not seen" referring to Hebrews 11:1. For the soul to be cured, and in so
doing rightly direct its sight towards God, one must have hope. With sound eyes and the
directing of our sight towards God we will see the love of God as being the object of our
happiness (Soliloquia. 1.6.12-7.14). Augustine’s reference to faith, hope and love (described as
charity in the King James version of the Bible) can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

In pursuing wisdom by way of "knowledge of the soul" we must seek virtue. Augustine defines
virtue as our best and deepest love of God. The four classical virtues comprising of the various
dispositions of love are temperance, fortitude, justice and prudence. In Christian tradition these
virtues are accompanied by the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, which were described
in the preceding paragraph. In order to understand more clearly how the four classical virtues
form our personal character in expressing our love of God it is necessary to understand the
context in which they properly belong. Augustine defines the function of temperance as to
control and still our desires and lusts of the material world that draw us away from God and from
the enjoyment of divine goodness (De mor. eccl. cath. 19.35). In a similar manner it is by
fortitude that we overcome our fear of loss that marks our love of material things. Temperance
then applies to our not desiring material things and fortitude in losing them (De mor. eccl. cath.
22.40). Justice gives to each its own by serving only God (De mor. eccl. cath 24.44) and finally
prudence guards us against deceit, keeping the soul vigilant against temptation (De mor. eccl.
cath 22.45).

It is through the integration of the virtuous life into the life of the love of God that we obtain
"knowledge of the soul" leading us to wisdom. There are two questions posed by Augustine in
regard to gaining "knowledge of the soul". How are we to pursue God whom we do not see and
how are we to see God? Augustine answers his questions with the truism that God is seen not
with the eyes but with the mind and, that in our present condition, our minds are enveloped in a
dark cloud of folly, unfit and unable to see (De mor. eccl. cath. 7.10). Augustine maintains that
in directing our love towards God we must rely on the teaching of authority not on our own
darkened reason. The authority Augustine refers to is found in Christ’s commandment that we
are "to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind: <Matt 22:37; Lk 10:27>. As
Augustine states, it is from this commandment of Christ that we learn what we are to love and
how much we are to love it, that God is our highest good (De mor. eccl. cath. 8.13). It follows,
therefore, that all our purposes in life must be directed to our love of God so that we may see
God with our mind.

This purpose is expressed in Paul’s epistle to the Romans 12:1-2 that not only are we to present
our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, but also not to be conformed to this
world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the
will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Augustine believed that to know love by
means of the mind unites the soul in centering its love towards the eternal love of God (De div
quaest. 35.2).

The journey we have undertaken here in our understanding of Augustine’s words that "All
persons want to be happy; and no persons are happy who do not have what they want." (De beata
vita 2.10) is to understand there is a corollary that, as Augustine describes, to purse God is to
desire happiness, and to attain God is happiness itself (De mor. eccl. cath. 11.28). Augustine has
shown us in his writings that what comprises genuine human happiness in our love of God is
what human beings were created for.

One final word from Augustine, which provides an excellent summary of this brief introduction
of his theology on love and happiness: "Virtuous behavior pertains to the love of God and of
one’s neighbor; the truth of faith pertains to a knowledge of God and of one’s neighbor. For the
hope of everyone lies in his own conscience in so far as he knows himself to be becoming more
proficient in the love of God and his neighbor." (De doct. chr. 3:10)


De beata vita De beata vita – On the Happy Life

De div. quaest. De diversis quaestionibus – On 83 Different Questions

De lib. arb. De libero arbitrio – On Free Will (translated by J.H.S. Burleigh)

De mor. eccl. eath De moribus ecclesiae catholicae – The Morals of the Catholic Church

De doct. chr. De Doctrina christiana – On Christian Doctrine