Fr Billy Swan
St Augustine’s stature as a giant of the Church is partly because he wrote such a extensive volume of works. There are commentaries on Scripture, works on the Trinity, the City of God and of course his famous autobiography, his ‘Confessions’. Some of what he wrote is heavy and academic but much is very quotable and relevant almost seventeen centuries later. Here is a selection of quotes from St Augustine, published in honour of his feast day on Friday 28th August.
‘He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why heaven and earth cry out: God made me!’
‘God is more deeply present to me than I am to myself’.
‘If you see charity, you see the Trinity’.
‘A State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves’
‘If you have understood God, what you have understood is not God’.
‘Many are only superficially in the Church, but have their hearts outside the Church; whereas many who are outside the church really have their hearts in it’.
‘Praise be to thee, glory to thee, O fountain of mercies. I became more wretched and thou more close to me’.
‘The one who created us without us does not want to redeem us without us’.
‘There the door to life was opened from which the sacraments of the church flowed , without which one cannot attain the life that is true living’.
‘Love him and love him freely, for nothing. You see if you love him on account of something else, you aren’t loving him at all. You mustn’t want him for the sake of anything else but whatever you want you must love for his sake so that everything else may be referred to love of him, not so that he may be referred to other loves but that he may be preferred to other loves. Love him, love him freely, for nothing’.
‘For that very desire of your heart is your prayer; and if your desire continues uninterrupted, then so does your prayer.’
‘Behind every sin is the human ‘desire to dominate’.
‘That I may know you and know myself’
‘The Word is effective not because it is said but because it is believed’.
‘When they receive communion, the faithful ‘be what they see and receive what they are, the Body of Christ’.
‘Whether we realise it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him’
‘If therefore you are the body of Christ and members, your divine mystery is set on the table of the Lord; you receive your mystery. To that which you are, you answer Amen’
‘And becoming a partaker of our mortality he made us partakers of his divinity,
‘That is the authentic happy life, to set one’s joy on you, grounded in you and caused by you’
‘God is closer to us than we are to ourselves’.
‘Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.’
‘God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give’.
‘Christ takes shape in a believer through the faith that is in his inmost soul… Therefore the believer who imitates Christ becomes (as far as he is permitted) the same as Christ whom he imitates.
‘He prays for us as our priest; He prays in us as our head; He is prayed to us as our God. Let us therefore hear both our words in him and his words in us’.
‘The source of man’s love for God can only be found in the fact that God loved him first. He has given us himself as the object of our love, and he has also given us its source. What this source is you may learn more clearly from the apostle Paul who tells us: The love of God has been poured into our hearts. This love is not something we generate ourselves; it comes to us through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’.
‘How I wept during your hymns and songs! I was deeply moved by the music of the sweet chants of your Church. The sounds flowed into my ears and the truth was distilled into my heart. This caused the feelings of devotion to overflow. Tears ran and it was good for me to have that experience’.
‘Sing on the way as pilgrims …sing a new song! Since you are a new person, walking on a new path, sing up and keep on walking!’
‘God’s mercy goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without Him we can do nothing’.
‘By humility we reach a height—a height not grasped by human arrogance but granted by divine grace—which transcends all these earthly pinnacles that totter with the shifts of time’.
‘Show me a lover and he will understand what I mean’.
‘Christ comes forward to meet every human being…It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts. His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us’.