“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord…” – St. Augustine

“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”

St. Ambrose baptising St. Augustine Benozzo Gozzoli (1464-65)

St. Ambrose baptising St. Augustine
Benozzo Gozzoli (1464-65)

Today is the feast day of St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (in modern-day Algeria) and Doctor of the Church. Not only is Augustine considered one of the most intelligent men to ever have lived, but also the most influential among the Early Church Fathers. His writings (of which his most important works are ‘City of God’ and ‘Confessions’) and his numerous sermons, containing a clear vision of theological anthropology, were of enormous importance in the development of Western Christianity.

Augustine had been brought up a Christian, but his sins of impurity and pride had darkened his mind so much, that he could not see or understand the Divine Truth anymore. After many years of leading a dissolute life, resisting each stirring of renewed faith in his heart, his deeply debated discussions with the great St. Ambrose finally broke his resistance. His Baptism was performed by St. Ambrose in Milan in 387. This excerpt from his great work, ‘Confessions’, vividly describes his troubled soul before his conversion:

 “I was greatly disturbed in spirit, angry at myself with a turbulent indignation because I had not entered thy will and covenant, O my God, while all my bones cried out to me to enter, extolling it to the skies. The way therein is not by ships or chariots or feet – indeed it was not as far as I had come from the house to the place where we were seated. For to go along that road and indeed to reach the goal is nothing else but the will to go. But it must be a strong and single will, not staggering and swaying about this way and that – a changeable, twisting, fluctuating will, wrestling with itself while one part falls as another rises…

I was weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when suddenly I heard the voice of a boy or a girl I know not which – coming from the neighbouring house, chanting over and over again, “Pick it up, read it; pick it up, read it.” Immediately I ceased weeping and began most earnestly to think whether it was usual for children in some kind of game to sing such a song, but I could not remember ever having heard the like. So, damming the torrent of my tears, I got to my feet, for I could not but think that this was a divine command to open the Bible and read the first passage I should light upon. …

So I quickly returned to the bench where Alypius was sitting, for there I had put down the apostle’s book [Paul’s letter to the Romans] when I had left there. I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.”[Romans 13:13] I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”

St. Augustine in his study – Sandro Botticelli (1480)

St. Augustine in his study – Sandro Botticelli (1480)

Augustine’s life changed completely and abruptly after his conversion. He worked tirelessly, with growing fervour against the heresies of his time and to bring all men to the Truth of Christ and the Church.  He was made Bishop of Hippo and was greatly loved and sought after by his flock to whom he attended with great charity. The great love of God, which burned in his heart, caused him to repent unceasingly of the iniquities of his past life. He therefore often exclaimed with a sorrowful heart: “Too late have I known thee; too late have I loved thee, thou Beauty ever ancient, and ever new! O unhappy time in which I did not love thee!” This repentance continued until his death, which took place in his 76th year. 

“Great art thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is thy power, and infinite is thy wisdom. And man desires to praise thee, for he is a part of thy creation; he bears his mortality about with him and carries the evidence of his sin and the proof that thou dost resist the proud. Still he desires to praise thee, this man who is only a small part of thy creation. Thou hast prompted him, that he should delight to praise thee, for thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee. Grant me, O Lord, to know and understand whether first to invoke thee or to praise thee; whether first to know thee or call upon thee. But who can invoke thee, knowing thee not? For he who knows thee not may invoke thee as another than thou art. It may be that we should invoke thee in order that we may come to know thee. But “how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe without a preacher?”Now, “they shall praise the Lord who seek him,” for “those who seek shall find him,” and, finding him, shall praise him. I will seek thee, O Lord, and call upon thee. I call upon thee, O Lord, in my faith which thou hast given me, which thou hast inspired in me through the humanity of thy Son, and through the ministry of thy preacher.”

With his hope set on his Heavenly home, and despite the turbulent troubled times he lived through during his final years, he was able to say:

“I look forward, not to what lies ahead of me in this life and will surely pass away, but to my eternal goal. I am intent upon this one purpose, not distracted by other aims, and with this goal in view I press on, eager for the prize, God’s heavenly summons. Then I shall listen to the sound of Your praises and gaze at Your beauty ever present, never future, never past. But now my years are but sighs. You, O Lord, are my only solace. You, my Father, are eternal. But I am divided between time gone by and time to come, and its course is a mystery to me. My thoughts, the intimate life of my soul, are torn this way and that in the havoc of change. And so it will be until I am purified and melted by the fire of Your love and fused into one with You.”

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46 Responses to “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord…” – St. Augustine

  1. mkenny114 says:

    Beautiful presentation of Augustine’s life and work Kathleen. The excerpts you’ve chosen give a very vivid sense of how important it is for conversion of the will to take place in belief; for us to humble ourselves before a higher authority. This is, I think, the real stumbling block for most people, and Augustine recognised this very clearly, in himself and others.

  2. kathleen says:

    Thank you Michael. In fact St. Augustine was such a prolific writer, and his life was so full of interesting events, that it would be impossible to cover in full every aspect of his biography. Therefore I picked just one in particular – that of his conversion.

    You are quite right in the importance of “the conversion of the will” as much as the emotions. Augustine already believed in his heart the Truth of Christ and His Church, but his disordered lifestyle kept him from allowing his will to acknowledge this, knowing that a full recognition of the first, would automatically imply he would have to change the second (his lifestyle). And yet when he does eventually do so, he mourns the time he wasted in procrastinating. He goes back to describe this battle within him so magnificently in so much of his writings.

    And oh yes, a big dose of humility is necessary in any conversion to Christ from a life of sin! To admit one’s former life, sins, or beliefs were wrong is not an easy step for most men. Humility did not come naturally to Augustine at first… but humility is a basic virtue in the making of a saint. And who would deny that St. Augustine of Hippo is one of the greatest of saints?

  3. mkenny114 says:

    Yes, very true Kathleen – as well as the wealth of interesting events in his life, Saint Augustine also wrote a tremendous amount, on such a vast array of topics, that it is nigh on impossible to give an account of it all!

    Re the importance of humility, it is a very good point you make about humility not coming naturally to Augustine! One of the reasons he is one of my personal favourite saints is precisely this – that he, in spite of a great deal of pride, and having up to that point cultivated a life geared towards academic approval and public recognition for his talents, he was able to take that step and humble himself. The fact that he probably gained even more fame after he took this step is just a good example of the saying of Our Lord that if we seek first the Kingdom of God, ‘all these other things will be added to you’!

  4. kathleen says:

    “seek first the Kingdom of God, ‘all these other things will be added to you’!”

    So true! And yet how hard it is for most would-be converts to make that first giant step to leave behind all that is familiar, enjoyable, easy, etc…. to swallow their pride and then reform their lives to Christ and His True Church. Yet even though the beginnings of doing so might be fraught with suffering and lonliness, in time peace and joy will be poured into the hearts of those who in humble recognition of Truth turn towards the Divine Will. Augustine discovered this, and his witness has encouraged countless men down through the ages – both converts to the Faith, or recovering Catholics.

    Your own article about Augustine’s conversion I found full of fascinating insights. For those who might be interested:
    http://journeytowardseaster.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/the-abiding-relevance-of-saint-augustine/

  5. John says:

    Hi Kathleen, if I may, I would just like to comment on something you said.

    “how hard it is for most would-be converts to make that first giant step to leave behind all that is familiar, enjoyable, easy, etc…. to swallow their pride and then reform their lives to Christ and His True Church”

    Of course I can only speak from personal experience.

    Yes indeed, hard it is, very hard indeed to take the first steps, because the process of conversion involves deep soul searching and a very real and often painful dialogue with Our Lord, and with (only the greatest of respect), for those who have a real desire to know the Lord in his fullness, I doubt that pride has a great deal to do with the process; for those who listen and hear, cannot but humbly follow, for the truth once revealed is impossible to ignore.

    Those who do not hear, do not have this struggle, we can say perhaps in charity, that the Lord has not spoken to them yet, or they have not understood, or perhaps they have closed their minds, but pride? I honestly, and earnestly I do not think so.

    To be honest, I have to say also “easy” is not a word I can relate to in respect of the practice of my own faith in the years gone by or my onward journey towards truth.

    Granted, in the multitude of Christian faiths that now proliferate, there are those for whom, it can be very easy. To be a practicing Christian takes more than just wearing a big hat and being seen in the pews, it involves communicating with Our Lord and being constantly aware of his will for each of us. How many listen ??

    I suspect that many who are regular attendees at church services in all denominations do not give as much thought to the precepts of their faith as they should, and for that reason they probably never reach a stage where they are able to find the truth of where they should be and what they should be doing, and amble along blissfully unaware of their mortal souls, but not all of us are of that ilk. I think the majority of those of us who are journeying towards conversion have come their decisions naturally and prayerfully and in humility and with extreme difficulty.

    Those of us who have come to this stage, come to it because we do earnestly desire to know what Our Lord wants of us, and he has brought us here and that is why we are here (or at least that is why I am here). Nobody who knows the truth wuill ever allow pride to stand in his way, lest he not be a true Christian

    We arrive here through prayerfulness, contemplation and painful inward struggle

    I have never found my Christian faith or the practice thereof easy.

    As a practicing Christian in a different denomination, it was very difficult indeed, without any form of magisterium to discern truth – this is one of the main failings of my church,- and as someone of conscience who ministered within its walls, the responsibility to “get it right”, was overwhelming and never ever ever easy
    .
    Again, in taking my first steps to conversion, which I take extremely seriously, as I believe do all men of conscience in my own denomination and who are on the same road, it is an extremely hard and lonely journey, where the dialogue with our Lord is constant. The potential convert casts himself adrift and spend his days in the wilderness, which for a Christian is the most painful time of his life

  6. mkenny114 says:

    John,

    I think you may have actually proved Kathleen’s point here (in another very interesting and disarming piece of personal testimony, which I thank you again for sharing), which is that those who DO take the steps you have described display a great amount of humility and take it upon themselves to search their consciences for the real reasons they have for taking certain steps (or not). It is precisely the prideful that do not go through this process, because they are unwilling to experience that series of events wherein we examine the reality of our own weaknesses and all those obstacles we create to prevent us from meeting the Lord’s gaze.

    Furthermore, I would add that this process of having to humble oneself and to take seriously the implications of submitting one’s life to the will of God does in fact actually imply and presuppose a prideful disposition in all of us – if it were not so, we wouldn’t find the process of conversion (either to Christ in general, or from another denomination to the Church) difficult. This is not to say that all are overtly prideful in a way that would be obvious to others, or even ourselves, but that there is a tendency to self-will and self-love at the root of all of us which makes it difficult to accept that true freedom and true joy can only come by submission to the will of our Creator.

  7. mkenny114 says:

    Thank you for another H/T Kathleen! 🙂

    I fully agree with what you say above, especially what you say about the common experience of ‘the desert’ that many must got through before they experience the peace and joy of Christ in their hearts. I think in fact that this might be something of a necessity, for most of us anyway, as there is so much self-regard and so many self-justifying voices within us that need to be purged before we can truly allow ourselves to embrace that inner freedom and the peace that comes with it.

  8. John says:

    Hi Mike, you make the point well, and I totally can see the direction you are coming from, but we must be very careful not to mistake clouded vision, ignorance, poor leadership or blindness for pride, nor must we minimise any act of pure faith or devotion to God from whichever direction it might come, even though in its essence, though genuinely given, may only have been partial in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

    A professed and practicing Christian, irrespective of denomination, does, by virtue of his baptism have the Holy Spirit within him. Whether or not that Holy Spirit facilitates a growth towards an individual’s full potential must be down to his relationship to God, and IMPORTANTLY, that relationship must be nurtured by the Church. It is the churches’ role to develop that potential.

    I hesitate to say what I am about to, and I say it only from a personal perspective, and from the position in which I find myself at this moment and it is this…..

    It is obviously an undeniable fact that it is not in the interests of the non-Roman Ministries to foster anything other than that which will ensure adherence to their respective theologies. Yes this might be seen as an obvious observation, and in making it, I want to make it very clear that I am not placing the blame full square on the legions of good, genuine, God Fearing and loving men of God, who struggle in our parishes to bring the word of God and comfort to others, no I am talking more of a historical philosophy that has been embedded into our culture and which has run through the non-Catholic denominations for centuries.
    .
    To understand this we need to look right back to the reformation, and, notwithstanding any theological issues of the time, it was the political agendas that gave form to the emergence of what came to be an anti-Catholic philosophy in the Church in England, and good loyal Catholics were overnight forced to turn away from centuries of loyalty to the Holy Church, since when they have been indoctrinated, persuaded, taught, and threatened and their inheritance of misguided error is one which I doubt many would question ( without any modern day malice towards Catholisism ) as being anything other than right.

    For those fortunate enough to have been born into the Catholic Church since that time, they should be thankful, but for those who have never had the opportunity to hear the truth and who have been prevented from hearing it by a culture which has initially rejected it on political grounds, and still rejects it today on the grounds of a tradition it barely understands, we cannot say they were arrogant. Misguided, Disadvantaged, Starved of Truth, Led Astray, Confused, yes; like Children, in most cases, innocent relying on those set over them to guide them, and who fail them by withholding the truths of their birth rights.

    I have been fortunate; I was given the opportunity to study, to listen to learned men of faith, as a man with a supposed vocation. I was given access to the truth and was able to read the philosophy and doctrines of the Christian faith, and it brought me here, but most do not have that chance, and never see a reason to look more deeply, relying on their Church to “save them”,

    I talk now to people of my Anglican faith and try to share with them what being a Catholic should mean. Most of the time I get blank looks. You see most people just don’t get it.How sad that so many people will probably never have the chance to have their eyes opened to the vast array of treasure within the Catholic Church. I am sad about this, but I would never castigate them for their ignorance

  9. mkenny114 says:

    Okay John, I see what you’re getting at now, and I think my earlier comment was at cross-purposes to what you are talking about.

    I absolutely agree with everything you’ve written here about the fact that people can only work with the information they are given and the way things are as they see it (which picture of things, as you say, is given a particular colour by the hierarchies of the various denominations so that people will continue to adhere to their theologies). If I remember rightly, we’ve discussed this sort of thing before, and I am in full agreement with you here.

    What I was talking about was the situation wherein someone has seen through the particular vision of Christianity they might have inherited, and can see the claims of the Church clearly for what they are. It is at this point that pride can and does play a great part . When it is the case of someone looking to leave another denomination this is bound to be mixed with other feelings, such as affection for where one has been before, etc. But I have seen very often in the case of those who do not believe at all, that they choose to remain in a state of unbelief primarily because it means giving up their will for the will of God, of humbling themselves before a higher authority, which is of course, at root, prideful.

    In the case of those moving from another denomination into the Church, it is clearly much more complicated, but again, I have known of many who chose to remain where they were because their church allowed them to interpret God’s will according to their own preferences, and submitting to the voice of the Church was a bridge too far – they were too proud (in the strictly theological sense of being too possessed of self-will) to make the move.

    But in the cases which you describe, where people are either ignorant of the Truth, or sincerely seeking it but struggling with attachments to a way of life that they have held in deep affection for a long time, this is not the case, and I certainly agree such people should not be castigated at all.

  10. toadspittle says:

    “It is obviously It is obviously an undeniable fact that it is not in the interests of the non-Roman Ministries to foster anything other than that which will ensure adherence to their respective theologies…”

    Is it also an undeniable fact that it is not in the interests of the “Roman” Ministry to foster anything other than that which will ensure adherence to its own theology, John?
    I think we should be told.

  11. John says:

    Hi Toad, my friendly torment haha. Yes you are absolutly right. Each sees truth from their own perspective, so how do we decide which is real truth, which is partial truth and which is falshood masquerading as truth when there is no scientific test? Well, one can adopt a scientific approach using available evidence, historical patterns, trends, causes and effects etc.

    In the begining of the Christian era there was The Church, the one Church instituted by Christ with Peter and the Apostles at its earthy head. This body was from the start, the one and only repository, teacher, and defender of Christianity. For centuriers its scholars, theologians and historians interpreted the teachings of Christ and set down the word of God in the establsihment of the Gospels, and through their work established Christian Orthodoxy. These early Christian scholars are the nearest we have to primary sources, and for these reasons alone, I beleive it is not unreasonable to take the view that the continuation of this tradition in todays Roman Catholic Church remains the legitimate inheritor of those truths in their completeness

    The reformation saw a break away from what was until then was (given an acceptance that there had been earlier heresies ) the only legitimate link with Jesus Christ, and the accepted continuance of his body in the world. The nearest we have to Christ himself on earth and in earthly form.

    Given what I have said, there were, and are numerous implications for the breakaway churches who have broken away from this truth, implications that include a denail of some of the most fundamental teachings of the Church, most eloquently, and for most, evident in the doctrines of the Eucharist.

    Logic suggests, to me at least that no group can split from the Body of Christ and remain perfect. Given the analogy of the vine and the branch, if a branch is chopped off it dies because it is starved of food – in this case spiritual food. From my all beit limited knowledge of Post Reformation Churches, there are non that carried with them the fullness that embodies the Roman Church, and thus be defenition they are imperfect, or in other words, lacking in fullness of truth.

    In the light of all of this one must come to a decision as to whos’e word carries the most weight, the strongest theology and thus embodies the fullness of truth.

    I would suggest that the answer is self evident ?

  12. John says:

    “I have known of many who chose to remain where they were because their church allowed them to interpret God’s will according to their own preferences, and submitting to the voice of the Church was a bridge too far – they were too proud (in the strictly theological sense of being too possessed of self-will) to make the move.”.

    Yes Mike I absolutely concur with that, since I for a while was I suppose, such a person, while I struggled with the realization of what the truth was and tried to rationalize what I saw as the truth with the place I felt God had put me. I never saw my struggle being stubbornness, but rather a desire to apply the truth to a situation in which I believed God wanted me to be.

    My subsequent failure to make the two coalesce, showing me at last, that I was fighting the wrong battle. Indeed that there was no battle to fight. I like to believe that my decision to move marked a move from what might have been construed as a form of arrogance, but which in reality was simply part of the journey

    “ But I have seen very often in the case of those who do not believe at all, that they choose to remain in a state of unbelief primarily because it means giving up their will for the will of God, of humbling themselves before a higher authority, which is of course, at root, prideful”
    Yes Mike with this I am in full agreement. It takes a brave man, who thinks himself immune of eternal censure, to willingly submit to a higher authority and accept the prospect of all that judgement day brings, and to change his life and live according to God’s will. It is hard enough for a lifelong Christian to re commit!

    How easy it could be to close ones eyes, and ears, but of course as I have said before, it is impossible to unlearn what we have learned, for as soon as we know God we need to choose, like it or not, and live in the knowledge that in rejecting him there may be consequences for the soul. Of course as Christians we know this, but I suspect that even those who have turned away must ponder the big question from time to time, and perhaps their uncertainty is part of their individual judgement as a result of rejecting the faith. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

  13. toadspittle says:

    The word “perfect” is being employed here, with regard to the state of the world before The Fall. What does that mean?
    No change, no growth, no decay? No death?
    If Eve had not picked the fatal apple which, presumably, had grown on a tree – what would have become of it? Would it have fallen off and rotted? Then what?
    Grave implications here.

  14. The Road Not Taken says:

    Ello Toad. I think I used the word perfect in relation to the Church rather than the world unless I missed something? Of course there is a degree of subectiveness to that word. My meaning in respect of the Church is that amongst the plethora of church denominations the Roman one is the pure one on several counts. Unbroken Continuity,infallibility (as the expression of God’s will) Coherently developed theology over time within an Orthodox framework, and the body that can be traced directly back to Christ

  15. kathleen says:

    @ John

    Sorry to have come back rather late in the day to the interesting discussion above; “internet gremlins” (as our Burrito calls them) were attacking my computer again for a while. Grrr!

    As to your earlier points John, I must say that Michael Kenny has done a great job of voicing my own intentional meaning in saying why some seem so determined to resist conversion – keeping their wills from hearing God’s call to their hearts.

    I said: “a big dose of humility is necessary in any conversion to Christ from a life of sin!” In referring to the necessity of “humility” in accepting the Truth, I was not strictly thinking so much of those who are already believers (particularly other Christians) who one assumes are not living lives of sin, but more those who are taking the big leap from an agnostic mindset and a hedonistic lifestyle, to that of Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church He founded. Like Augustine himself! 🙂

    In no way was I saying that all those who are not of the Catholic Church are arrogant and prideful – besides, you have given good examples how it is often sadly a case of genuine ignorance of the true Catholic Church that keep people in their other Protestant denominations – but that when we discover where Truth lies, putting the Divine Will before our own will, always entails a certain amount of humility. That’s all.

    And thank you once more for your sincere and fascinating personal testimony to God’s grace in your own journey of Faith.

  16. John says:

    Hi Kathleen. Yes all is clear now !!:) These discussions are really good and helpful. Just as a point for some bizzare reason my name has been changed. Nothing I have done, but The Road Not Taken is still me lol, Have sent in an email to try and get it clarified 🙂 So I better keep quiet until I retreive my identity again haha

  17. John says:

    Oh I am back !!! GREMLINS EVERYWHERE !!

  18. toadspittle says:

    Why is it – that when people insist on telling me how “humble” they are – I always detect a sizeable whiff of what seems to be spiritual arrogance?
    Dickens got it right, of course, with Uriah.
    …But then it must also be admitted, toads’ noses are not very efficient.

    It seems to me John, to paraphrase your comment: “God gave us free will, but it is only to be employed in agreeing totally with Him, or in what we are told by our elders and betters – are His explicit instructions”

  19. John says:

    Hey Toad 🙂 Hope you are well!.

    Sincere apologies if I have ever come over as arrogant, that horrifies me, but I am grateful for the comment, as I can be sure to try and counter it if I sniff it!.

    I guess spiritual arrogance, is from the perpetrator’s perspective, more a case of conviction?

    If one truly believes in what they are saying to the point that nothing will convince them otherwise does that turn arrogance into something more palatable?.

    When talking about truth when it relates to an individual’s faith, I think other Christians would probably see it as something of a gift.

    In respect of the Free Will, what you say is correct insofar as there are 2 choices in life (at any rate in the philosophy of a Christian), and those choices relate to who we follow. This choice as you say involves using our Free Will. If we deny God, then we follow our own path, which means that we understand ourselves to be the centre of our own individual universe and per se’ become inherently selfish, and prone to what a Christian would see as sin.

    If on the other hand we take God into our lives, then we put him at the centre of our lives, and in so doing he becomes the one to whom all things are owed and thus, the natural progression would be to respect and worship him.

    So vast and far reaching is the teaching of Christ that for most of us it is impossible to absorb all of what we believe he expects of us, and thus yes, we defer to that which embodies his teaching and is in fact for a Christian the actual continuing of his body – The Church – So, in following our “Elders and Betters” ( for want of any other term ) we look to be guided and taught by his body the Church, lest we Miss understand his will and fall into heresy. Hope that doesn’t sound too arrogant heheh

  20. John says:

    I should clarify…. when I said ” If we deny God, then we follow our own path, which means that we understand ourselves to be the centre of our own individual universe and per se’ become inherently selfish, and prone to what a Christian would see as sin.” that DID sound arogant !! We are all prone and do to sin, but what I meant was that for a non Christian there are I suggest no consequences for sinning and thus less reason not to give in to it, I am talking here more of the sins of morality and behaviour

  21. toadspittle says:

    It’s just that some Catholics are so certain that they – and they alone on earth are the only people who know THE TRUTH – that it can come across as arrogance.
    …Or so I think. It may not actually be the case that they are arrogant.
    However, we should not forget there are several ways of skinning a cat.
    All of them nasty, nevertheless.

  22. GC says:

    Oh fiddle, Toad.

    Meanwhile, a homily very much relevant here by Bishop Emeritus Basil Meeking of Christchurch, New Zealand, but from the Church of St Aloysius, North Caulfield in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, in Holy Week this year. This is the church of the Personal Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman, established earlier this year for those wishing to worship according to the traditional rites.

    Bishop Meeking lost his former cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament which was greatly damaged in the earthquake of 2011.

  23. toadspittle says:

    Magnificent hat. Imposing, but not vulgar. Neat, but not gaudy.

    Toad fiddles while Rome burns with indignation, paranoia, and schism – does he, GC?

  24. toadspittle says:

    Comforting to know that when God unleashes one of His earthquake on us, He is no respecter of Cathedrals.
    Though, for a Bishop to lose one – begins to look rather like carelessness.

  25. toadspittle says:

    “…for a non Christian there are I suggest no consequences for sinning and thus less reason not to give in to it,”

    If that is the case, John – shouldn’t we all start taking non Christian lessons as soon as possible?

  26. GC says:

    Fie, Oscar W.Toad, Bishop Meeking had the prescience to have himself emeritusised a good 16 years before the earthquake. Which is not to cast nasturtiums on the incumbent Ordinary, Bishop Jones, which I think is a rather protestant name.

  27. John says:

    Hello again Toad,

    Please do not misunderstand the meaning behind the statement I made.

    I am not saying that a non-Christian will NOT reap the consequences of sin just because he doesnt believe, for all God’s creatures are subject to him and his will whether they accept him or not.

    What I am saying is that the non-Christian perhaps BELIEVES that there are no consequences for sin, since for him, there is no God, and per se, no sin against God, and it follows, no punishment for that sin. (If sin in a Godless state of mind can even be recognised as something that is against the goodness of God)

    Choosing not to believe in Christ does not mean there is no God. Christians obviously believe and want others to believe so that they can also share with them in the redemption, by taking him into their lives, because Christians care about those who do not know of or, have rejected God, and in particular they care about the destiny of their souls.

    Clearly a comitted Christian is unlikely to turn away from God because he knows that in doing so – the sin would be all the greater having at once accepted Christ and then subsequently deciding to reject him, and in any case his conviction would make such a choice impossible..

    Moreover, I doubt any Christian with conviction would wish to trade their immortal souls for the transitory pleasures of sin in this world knowing what the consequences of that unrepentant sin would be in the next.

  28. Brother Burrito says:

    John,

    In order to save you some oxygen and electricity, I must inform you that Toad is only here to engage in on-line combat, which he relishes as much as his dogs love chasing rabbits. He has been spinning the same lines of arguments here for over four years. We think of him as the blog’s spouting gargoyle. Whatever gets said to him, he doesn’t seem to mind

    Toad cannot be converted by human means. Only the Holy Spirit will achieve that end, if Toad allows Him, and He fancies a challenge.

  29. John says:

    Hi Brother Burrito 🙂 Yeah I rather guessed that I would not get very far lol, but Toad has really helped me !!. Really made me think about things and sometime struggle to find answers, so I have been more than happy to engage and really grateful ! 🙂

  30. Brother Burrito says:

    In that respect, Toad provides a very useful service to our community.

    In the CS Lewis book “That Hideous Strength”, the protagonist Dr Ransom is greatly assisted in his mission by an (annoying) skeptic rationalist scientist called MacPhee.

    Toad is our MacPhee.

    I recommend that book to everyone.

  31. John says:

    Sounds intereresting.! I will be sure to read it ! 🙂

  32. kathleen says:

    Well said Burrito!

    And dear John, please don’t imagine the “arrogance” accusation from the (ahem) un-arrogant Toad was really aimed at you… it was meant for me! His following comment, when he says: “some Catholics are so certain that they – and they alone on earth are the only people who know THE TRUTH” gives him away. (He and I have had many discussions/arguments about Truth in the past.) 😉

    Hyper-sensitive though I might normally be (one of my many weaknesses I’m afraid to say), such accusations from Toad (of all people) simply roll off my back!

    However, if one was not certain that our Glorious Faith, as set out in all the teachings of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of whom we are Her privileged members, were not the Truth, what on Earth would we be doing adhering to Her teachings? Might as well fling caution to the wind and just follow every licentious, hedonistic, selfish, base instinct that comes our way – no? We know this wouldn’t bring us the true love, peace and joy that only Our Lord and Saviour can bring, but if our existence ends here, nothing else would either, and there would be no longer any Cornerstone, any Rock, any soul to save….etc. Our lives would be meaningless.
    Toad, the eternal relativist, just can’t seem to get this obvious fact into his little green head: that true Faith* (that is in itself a great gift from God) must naturally lead to this belief, that there can only be One Truth.

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
    And, “Divine Truth is immutable“, as St. Augustine says.

    * Needless to say, most people go through periods of darkness in their lives, when their faith and hope weaken or become blurred, but these trials must be seen for what they are, “dark nights of the soul”, temptations of the Evil one, to be faced with prayer, courage and steadfastness. “I do believe, Lord: help Thou my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

  33. John says:

    Hello Kathleen….beautifully put! and I would not wish to add anything to what you have said as I am in full concord.

    I really don’t mind sparing with Toad haha. If nothing else it is giving the rest of you a break Yes ?

    As intransigent as Toad may be, I am equally intransigent, (oh dear am I being arrogant) haha but also more fortunate as I have the truth of my faith at my back sol I never get weary!!
    As for our friend Toad…….

    “But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” (1 Corinthians 14:24–25).

    …………. Maybe it needs a little more work 🙂

  34. toadspittle says:

    Yes, Toad lives only to serve. And is very ‘umbleabout it.
    Although, occasionally, he gets as weary as the people who have to read him

    By all means read Poor Old C.S. Lewis, the well-known Protestant.
    Didn’t recognise the TRUTH – or what? Still, he’s all we’ve got. (Except for Gil the Gigantic.)

    Toad’s accusations rolling off Kathleen’s back would be a sight worth paying to see, wouldn’t it just!

  35. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad has as much in common with That Hideous Strength as this does:

    Hideous Piffle, more like. I vow to thee, my country, not to spend anymore time on any ex-pats eking out a living in Spain.

  36. toadspittle says:

    Misuse of the word, “eking,” I suggest, JH.
    I have no need to eke. (At present.)

  37. johnhenrycn says:

    I vowed to my country to never speak to you again, so to do so now would be to break my vow.

    But I challenge you to use the word ‘to’ five times in one grammatically correct sentence, like I’ve just done.

    Anyroad, you operate a hostel on the Compostela to which pilgrims are invited to make “free will” offerings, no?

  38. toadspittle says:

    No.
    Pilgrims are told they can make a donation to help cover the cost of their stay if they like.
    And they are only told that if they bother asking.
    All the pilgs are ever invited to do is to help me to drink Ribera del Duero and to help to eat tortilla from now to whichever hour the cows consider it suitable to repair to the barn; to come home, in fact..

  39. johnhenrycn says:

    “Pilgrims are told they can make a donation to help cover the cost…”

    That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Act II, Scene I, Lines 85-86.

  40. johnhenrycn says:

    Okay, Toad, you used 9 ‘to’s to my 5 tos in the last sentence in your comment at 10:22, but for you to think that makes you my equal, to think that trying to be clever is the same as being such – which is not to say that you’re not clever, but to suggest that you’re not in my league – is to pretend to a felicity you clearly lack when it comes to the English language, which will always be a bridge too far in your case, to put it kindly.
    ___
    That 11 or 12 tos, depending on your charity.

  41. johnhenrycn says:

    “That‘s 11 or 12 tos” , is what I meant to say 😉

  42. toadspittle says:

    …but for you to think that makes you my equal,…
    Toad thinks no such thing.

  43. johnhenrycn says:

    “Toad thinks no such thing.”

    Note to self: That just might be intended as an insult. Do not give it a thumbs up.

  44. toadspittle says:

    Where on earth do you get your ideas from, JH?
    You are a lawyer.
    Toad is a toad.

  45. Frere Rabit says:

    Yes, exactly the kind of tiresome piffle to which my earlier (generally hated and despised) comment referred.

  46. toadspittle says:

    Piffle has its place.

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