Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Today is the memorial of St. Augustine. Much has been written about St. Augustine’S early life and his conversion story, especially about his famous spiritual autobiography Confessions. Not many people pay attention to the mature and older St. Augustine. For instance, his Enchiridion De Fide, Spe, et Caritate (the Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love) bears the marks of the period of Augustine’s maturity. He wrote this treatise in the later years of his life when De Trinitate (The Trinity) had already been published and De Civitate Dei (the City of God) had largely been completed. During this phase of his life, the Pelagian controversy was particularly intense and St. Augustine was thinking deeply about the fall, grace, and predestination. In his treatise, St. Augustine is able to explain Christian truth in faith, hope and love based on the reflection of his long episcopal experience.
In the Enchiridion, St. Augustine wrote, “when we believe that good things await us in the future, this is nothing other than to hope for them. And now what should I say about love? Without it faith has no value. But hope cannot exist without love. The apostle James says, ‘Even the demons believe and shudder,’ (Jas 2:19) yet they do not hope or love but rather fear that which we hope for and love, believing that it will come about. That is why the apostle Paul approves and recommends ‘the faith that works through love,’ (Gal 5:6) which cannot exist without hope. So love cannot exist without hope nor hope without love, nor can either exist without faith.”
St. Paul, in the first reading today, begins his prayer by thanking God for his companions who “unceasingly call to mind their work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Is there anyone that you would like to thank God for as your heroes of faith, heroes of hope and heroes of love? In your prayers today, perhaps you can share with Jesus about your hope? Who is that you want to love more? Would you like ask Jesus to help you to grow in faith and inspire others with your faith?