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On St. Augustine's Conversion
Zenit News Agency ^ | February 27, 2008 | Benedict XVI

Posted on 02/27/2008 9:03:29 PM PST by ELS

On St. Augustine's Conversion

"A Journey That Remains a True Example for Each One of Us"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the greetings Benedict XVI gave today at St. Peter's Basilica to those who could not be accommodated in Paul VI Hall for the general audience, and a translation of the catechesis he delivered in the Vatican auditorium. This is the fifth and final address the Pope has dedicated to the figure of St. Augustine.

* * *

[Greetings at St. Peter's Basilica in English]

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking visitors present here today. May your stay in Rome strengthen your faith, and grant you courage to continue your Lenten journey in prayer, fasting, reconciliation and compassion. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace!

[Catechesis in Paul VI Hall]

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we conclude our presentation of St. Augustine. Having dwelt on his life, his works, and some aspects of his writings, today I would like to return to the process of his interior conversion, which was one of the greatest conversions in Christian history.

It is to this journey in particular that I dedicated my reflections during my pilgrimage to Pavia last year, to pay homage to the mortal remains of this Father of the Church. In so doing, I wanted to demonstrate the admiration and reverence of the entire Catholic Church toward St. Augustine, and my own personal devotion and recognition of a figure with whom I feel I have close ties to due to the part he has played in my theological life, in my life as a priest and a pastor.

Even today it is possible to revisit the experiences of St. Augustine; above all this is thanks to the "Confessions," written in the praise of God and which is the basis of a more specific Western literary form -- the autobiography. That is, a personal expression of the knowledge of oneself.

Anyone who gets close to this extraordinary and fascinating book, which is still read by many today, will soon realize that the conversion of St. Augustine was not sudden or completed quickly, but it is better described as a journey that remains a true example for each one of us.

This journey culminated with his conversion and subsequent baptism, but was not concluded with the Easter vigil of 387, when the African rhetorician was baptized by Bishop Ambrose of Milan.

In fact, Augustine’s journey of conversion continued with humility until the end of his life. We can state that all the stages of his life -- and we can easily distinguish three phases -- together make up a single long conversion.

St. Augustine was from the start, a passionate seeker of the truth: He remained so his whole life. The first stage of his journey toward conversion was realized through his gradual approach to Christianity.

In reality, he received a Christian education from his mother, Monica, with whom he was always very close. Even though he lived an errant life in his youth, he was deeply tied to the love of Christ's name, as he himself underlined (cfr. "Confessions," III, 4, 8).

Philosophy, and especially Platonic philosophy, led him closer to Christ by revealing to him the existence of the Logos, or creative reason. The books of the philosophers showed him the existence of 'reason' from which the whole world is derived, but did not tell him how to reach this Logos, which seemed so inaccessible.

It was only through reading the letters of St. Paul, in the faith of the Catholic Church, that he came to a fuller understanding. This experience was summarized by Augustine in one of the most famous passages of the "Confessions." He tells us that in the torment of his reflections, he withdrew into a garden, when suddenly he heard a child's voice singing a lullaby he had never heard before: "Tolle, lege, tolle, lege," -- take and read, take and read (VIII, 12,29).

He was reminded at that moment of the conversion of Anthony, the father of monasticism. He hastily returned to the writings of Paul, which he had been looking at a short time before. His eyes fell on the passage of the Letter to the Romans, in which the apostle urges the abandonment of the pleasures of the flesh in favor of Christ (13:13-14).

He understood that those words were specifically meant for him. They came from God, through The Apostle, and showed him what he had to do in that moment. Augustine felt the dark cloud of doubt disperse and was free to give himself completely to Christ: “You converted my being to you,” he notes ("Confessions," VIII, 12,30). This was the first and decisive conversion.

It is thanks to his passion for men and for the truth that the African rhetorician arrived at the most important stage of his long journey; a passion that brought him to seek God, the great and inaccessible. His faith in Christ made him understand that God, seemingly so distant, was in truth not distant at all. In fact he has come near us, becoming one of us. In this sense his faith in Christ allowed Augustine to accomplish his long search for truth. Only a God who made himself 'touchable,' one of us, was a God to whom one could pray, for whom and with whom one could live.

This is a road to undertake with courage and humility, leading to a permanent purification, which everyone needs. That Easter vigil in 387, however, was not the end of Augustine’s journey. He returned to Africa and founded a small monastery where he retreated with a few friends, and dedicated himself to contemplation and study. This was his life's dream. He was called to completely dedicate his life to truth, in friendship with Christ, who is the truth. This dream lasted three years, until he was consecrated a priest in Hippo and destined to serve the believers, continuing to live with Christ and for Christ, but at the service of everyone.

This was very difficult for him, but since the beginning he understood that only by living for others, and not simply for his private contemplation, could he live with Christ and for Christ. So, by renouncing a life of only meditation, Augustine learned, not without difficulty, to put his knowledge at the disposal of others. He learned to communicate his faith to the ordinary people, and to live for them in what became his home town. He carryied out tirelessly a burdensome and generous activity that he describes in one of his beautiful sermons: "To preach continuously, discuss, reiterate, edify, be at the disposal of everyone -- it is an enormous responsibility, a great weight, an immense effort" (Sermon 339, 4). But he took this weight upon himself, knowing that this way he could be closer to Christ. His true second conversion was indeed to understand that one reaches others through simplicity and humility.

There is a last step -- a third conversion -- in the Augustinian journey: The one that led him to ask God for forgiveness every day of his life. At first he thought that once christened, in a life in communion with Christ, in the sacraments, and in the celebration of the Eucharist, he would attain a life as proposed in the Sermon on the Mount, which is one of perfection given through baptism and confirmed in the Eucharist.

In the latter period of his life he understood that what he had said in his first homilies on the Sermon on the Mount -- that we as Christians permanently live this ideal life -- was a mistake. Only Christ himself realizes truly and completely the Sermon on the Mount. We always need to be cleansed by Christ, who washes our feet, and be renewed by him. We need a permanent conversion. Up to the end we need to demonstrate a humility that acknowledges that we are sinners on a journey, until the Lord gives us his hand and leads us to eternal life. It is with this attitude of humility that Augustine lived out his final days until his death.

This deep humility in the face of the one Lord Jesus introduced him to an intellectual humility as well. In his last years, Augustine, who in fact was one of the greatest figures in philosophical history, wanted to critically examine his numerous works. This was the origin of the "Retractationes" -- Revisions -- that places his theological thinking, which is truly great, within the humble and holy faith of that which he refers to as simply Catholic, that is, the Church.

In this very original book he writes: "I understood that only one is truly perfect, and that the words of the Sermon on the Mount are completely realized in only one -- in Jesus Christ himself. The whole Church, instead -- all of us, including the Apostles -- must pray everyday: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us" (I, 19, 1-3).

Converted to Christ, who is truth and love, Augustine followed him all his life and became a model for every human being, for all of us in search of God.

That is why I wanted to conclude my pilgrimage to Pavia by offering to the Church and the world, before the tomb of this great lover of God, my first encyclical -- "Deus Caritas Est." The encyclical owes a great deal to St. Augustine’s thinking, especially its first part.

Today, as then, mankind needs to know and to live this fundamental reality: God is love and meeting him is the only answer to the fears of the human heart. A heart where hope dwells, perhaps still dark and unenlightened for many of our contemporaries, but which for us Christians opens the doors to the future, so much so that St. Paul wrote "in hope we are saved" (Romans 8:24). I wanted to dedicate my second encyclical to hope -- "Spe Salvi" -- this one also owes a great deal to Augustine and to his meeting with God.

In a beautiful text St. Augustine defines prayer as an expression of desire, and affirms that God answers by moving our hearts closer to him. For our part we should purify our desires and our hopes in order to receive God's gentleness (cfr. "In I Ioannis," 4, 6). In fact, this alone -- opening ourselves up to others -- can save us.

Let us pray therefore that we are able to follow the example of this great man every day of our lives, and in every moment that we live, encounter the Lord Jesus -- the only one who can save us, purify us, and who gives us true joy and true life.

[Translation by Laura Leoncini]

[After his address, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we conclude our presentation of St. Augustine with a discussion of the process of his interior conversion. In reading his Confessions, we see that his conversion was a life-long journey marked by a passionate search for truth. Despite living an errant life as a young man, Augustine had learned from his mother a love for the name of Christ. Platonic philosophy led him to recognise the existence of Logos, or creative reason in the Universe, which he later came to understand more fully by reading St. Paul and finding faith in Christ. He completed this fundamental phase in his search for truth when he was baptized in Milan by St. Ambrose. The second stage of his conversion saw Augustine return to Africa and found a small monastery with a group of friends dedicated to contemplation and study.

Three years later, he was ordained a priest and turned to the life of active ministry, placing the fruits of his study at the service of others through preaching and dialogue. The last stage was a conversion of such profound humility that he would daily ask God for pardon. He also demonstrated this humility in his intellectual endeavours, submitting all his works to a thorough critique. Augustine has had a profound effect on my own life and ministry. My hope is that we can all learn from this great and humble convert who saw with such clarity that Christ is truth and love!

I welcome all the English speaking visitors present today, including the many student groups and the pilgrims from England, Sweden, Malta, Japan, Canada and the United States. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace.

(c) Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

© Innovative Media, Inc.

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: conversion; generalaudience; popebenedictxvi; staugustine

Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead his weekly general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (ITALY)

Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by cardinals at the end of his weekly general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN)

From earlier in the week:

Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by Il Foglio newspaper editor Giuliano Ferrara upon his arrival at Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio parish, in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008. Ferrara, a prominent Silvio Berlusconi supporter, announced he'll run for Parliament in the April 13-14 elections on an anti-abortion platform. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
1 posted on 02/27/2008 9:03:30 PM PST by ELS
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To: All
Previous catecheses on the Early Church Fathers:
On St. Clement of Rome -The Church Has a Sacramental, Not Political Structure (March 7, 2007)
Truly a Doctor of Unity (St. Ignatius of Antioch) (March 14, 2007)
St. Justin Martyr: He Considered Christianity the "True Philosophy" (March 21, 2007)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons: The First Great Theologian of the Church (March 28, 2007)
St. Clement of Alexandria: One of the Great Promoters of Dialogue Between Faith and Reason (April 18, 2007)
On Origen of Alexandria: He Was a True Teacher (April 25, 2007)
Origen: The Privileged Path to Knowing God Is Love (May 2, 2007)
Tertullian: Accomplished a Great Step in the Development of the Trinitarian Dogma (May 30, 2007)
St. Cyprian: His Book on the 'Our Father' Has Helped Me to Pray Better (June 6, 2007)
On Eusebius of Caesarea (June 13, 2007)
On St. Athanasius (June 20, 2007)
On St. Cyril of Jerusalem (June 27, 2007)
On St. Basil (July 4, 2007)
St. Basil (August 1, 2007)
St. Gregory of Nazianzen (August 8, 2007)
St. Gregory Nazianzen's Teachings (August 22, 2007)
St. Gregory of Nyssa - A Pillar of Orthodoxy (August 29, 2007)
Gregory of Nyssa on Perfection (September 5, 2007)
On St. John Chrysostom's Antioch Years (September 19, 2007)
On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine (September 26, 2007)
St. Cyril of Alexandria (October 3, 2007)
On Hilary of Poitiers (October 10, 2007)
On St. Eusebius of Vercelli (October 17, 2007)
On St. Ambrose of Milan (October 24, 2007)
On St. Maximus of Turin (October 31, 2007)
On St. Jerome (November 7, 2007)
St. Jerome on the Bible (November 14, 2007)
On the Teachings of Aphraates (November 21, 2007)
On St. Ephrem the Syrian (November 28, 2007)
On St. Chromatius of Aquileia (December 5, 2007)
On St. Paulinus of Nola (December 12, 2007)
On St. Augustine (January 9, 2008)
St. Augustine's Last Days (January 16, 2008)
On St. Augustine's Search for Truth (January 30, 2008)
On the Writings of St. Augustine (February 20, 2008)
2 posted on 02/27/2008 9:04:17 PM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: clockwise; bornacatholic; Miss Marple; bboop; PandaRosaMishima; Carolina; MillerCreek; ...
Weekly audience ping!

Please lat me know if you want to be on or off this list.

O Lord, Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee. - Saint Augustine

3 posted on 02/27/2008 9:08:28 PM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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What timing! I just happen to be reading the Confessions of Augustine now, ...for the second time.

4 posted on 02/27/2008 11:13:13 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Only infidel blood can quench Muslim thirst-- Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Last week’s audience (see last link in reply #2) was about the writings of St. Augustine.

5 posted on 02/28/2008 6:46:14 AM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo

You’re welcome.

8 posted on 02/28/2008 7:01:08 AM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saint Augustine,
Bishop & Doctor of the Church
August 28th

Saint Ambrose baptizing Saint Augustine
Benozzo Gozzoli (1464-65)
Apsidal chapel, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano, Italy

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord"
Augustine opens his Confessions with praise of God, and follows this with of the best-known passages in all of Christian literature -- his introductory observations about man's restless search for God.

Prayers, readings - Excerpt from "Confessions" - Recipe

Augustine, one of the most influential thinkers in the entire history of the Church, was born at Tagaste, North Africa, on November 13, 354. His father, Patricius, a city official was not a Christian, though his mother, Monica, was a woman of strong Christian faith. (She eventually led her husband to be baptized, and he died a holy death circa 371.)

Though Augustine received a Christian upbringing, he led a very dissolute life as a youth and young man, according to his "Confessions". Augustine gives an account of his spiritual development in the first nine Books of the "Confessions" -- a work that has engrossed readers for 1600 years, and are as fresh and immediate today as when they were written.

As a nineteen-year old student at Carthage, he espoused the Manichaean heresy, a form of Gnosticism founded in Persia in the late third century, which claimed to be a religion of reason as contrasted with Christianity, a religion of faith. Manichaeism aimed to synthesize all known religions. Its basic dualistic tenet is that there are two equal and opposed Principles ("gods") in the universe: Good (Light/Spirit) and Evil (Darkness/Matter).

After nearly ten years as a Manichaean, Augustine, who taught in Milan, visited Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, became a regular attendant at his preachings, and through his influence became convinced that Catholic teachings are true, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Still, he found himself conflicted -- unwilling to give up his desire to satisfy his sexual lusts.

An interview with Simplicianus, spiritual father of St. Ambrose , who told Augustine the story of the conversion of the celebrated neo-Platonic rhetorician, Victorinus (Confessions, VIII, i, ii), and later, a chance visit by a Christian, Ponticianus, who told him of other conversions, led Augustine to a crisis:

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. (Confessions, Book VIII.8.19)

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 neighboring house, chanting over and over again, "Pick it up, read it; pick it up, read it."[260] 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. (Confessions, Book IX.29)

Augustine was thirty-three when he was moved to act on his convictions in that garden at Milan in September, 386. A few weeks later, during the autumn "vintage" holiday, Augustine, resigned his professorship at Milan, resolving to devote himself to the pursuit of true philosophy, now inseparable from Christianity. After a vacation at Cassisiacum, Augustine returned to Milan with Monica, Adeodatus (his son) , and his friends, where the new converts were baptized. Soon after, while preparing to return to North Africa with her sons and grandson, Monica died at Ostia, near Rome. (A moving account of her final days is found in Confessions Book IX, 8-12)

Augustine returned to Africa in August 388, and, with the objective of living a life of poverty and prayer, he sold his property and gave the proceeds to the poor. Although he did not think of becoming a priest, during a visit to Hippo, as he was praying in the church, people suddenly gathered around him and persuaded the bishop of Hippo, Valerius, to ordain Augustine. He was ordained in 391, and in Tagaste, established a monastery, and preached against Manichaeism with great success. When he was forty-two, he becme co-adjutor bishop Hippo, where he was bishop for thirty-four years.

During his years as bishop, Augustine combatted the Manichaean heresy, strongly affirming free will and expounding on the problem of evil; he struggled against the Donatist heresy that attacked the divine institution and hierchical nature of the Church. In later years he would confront the Pelagian heresy that denied the doctrine of original sin and the effects of grace; and the heresy of Arianism, which denied that the Son is of the same substance as the Father.

Augustine died August 28, 430 at the age of seventy-five. His perennial contribution to and influence on Catholic doctrine and thought and on Christian belief and piety is incalculable, and his many theological and philosophical works, especially the Confessions and the City of God have continuee to captivate and inspire mankind for more than fifteen-hundred years.

Prayers, Readings

Lord, renew in your Church the spirit you gave Saint Augustine.
Filled with this spirit, may we thirst for you alone as the fountain of wisdom and seek you as the source of eternal love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading:
I John 4:7-16
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Gospel Reading:
Matthew 23:8-12
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Prayers of Saint Augustine:

God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and wear us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, we beseech you; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise.

(From Prayers of the Saints: An Inspired Collection of Holy Wisdom, ed. Woodeene Koenig-Bricker - San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996)


"Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or
weep tonight, and give your angels charge over
those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love's sake.  Amen."


"Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you."

Augustine opens his Confessions with praise of God, and follows this with of the best-known passages in all of Christian literature -- his introductory observations about man's restless search for God.

Excerpt from:Confessions

Excerpt from Confessions, Book I, Chapter I

"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.

Excerpt from:Confessions -Book VI

Chapter I.--His mother, Monica, having followed Augustine to Milan, declares that she will not die before her son shall have embraced the Catholic Faith.

I. O Thou, my hope from my youth, where wert Thou to me, and whither hadst Thou gone? For in truth, hadst Thou not created me, and made a difference between me and the beasts of the field and fowls of the air? Thou hadst made me wiser than they, yet did I wander about in dark and slippery places, and sought Thee abroad out of myself, and found not the God of my heart;' and had entered the depths of the sea, and distrusted and despaired finding out the truth. By this time my mother, made strong by her piety, had come to me, following me over sea and land, in all perils feeling secure in Thee. For in the dangers of the sea she comforted the very sailors (to whom the inexperienced passengers, when alarmed, were wont rather to go for comfort), assuring them of a safe arrival, because she had been so assured by: Thee in a vision. She found me in grievous danger, through despair of ever finding truth. But when I had disclosed to her that I was now no longer a Manichaean, though not yet a Catholic Christian, she did not leap for joy as at what was unexpected; although she was now reassured as to that part of my misery for which she had mourned me as one dead, but who would be raised to Thee, carrying me forth upon the bier of her thoughts, that Thou mightest say unto the widow's son, "Young man, I say unto Thee, arise," and he should revive, and begin to speak, and Thou shouldest deliver him to his mother? Her heart, then, was not agitated with any violent exultation, when she had heard that to be already in so great a part accomplished which she daily, with tears, entreated of Thee might be done, -- that though I had not yet grasped the truth, I was rescued from falsehood. Yea, rather, for that she was fully confident that Thou, who hadst promised the whole, wouldst give the rest, most calmly, and with a breast full of confidence, she replied to me, "She believed in Christ, that before she departed this life, she would see me a Catholic believer." And thus much said she to me; but to Thee, O Fountain of mercies, poured she out more frequent prayers and tears, that Thou wouldest hasten Thy aid, and enlighten my darkness; and she hurried all the more assiduously to the church, and hung upon the words of Ambrose, praying for the fountain of water that springeth up into everlasting life. For she loved that man as an angel of God, because she knew that it was by him that I had been brought, for the present, to that perplexing state of agitation I was now in, through which she was fully persuaded that I should pass from sickness unto health, after an excess, as it were. of a sharper fit, which doctors term the "crisis."

Link to Confessions on Fordham's website.

A recipe for celebrating the Feast of Saint Augustine

Chiles En Nogada (Stuffed Peppers in Walnut Sauce)
(from Cooking with the Saints,
Ignatius Press)

This recipe is from the Mexican state of Pueblo, where the Feast of St. Augustine is celebrated with this dish. An unsusal mix of ingredients produces a tasty and filling dish. It requires a bit of effort, shelling and skinning the walnuts. It is important to use fresh walnuts, because it is almost impossible to remove the skin from store-bought shelled walnuts, which tend to be older and may also have an off-flavor. If shelling and skinning the nuts are too cumbersome, shelled or ground walnuts may be used, or even blanched almonds. The flavor will be somewhat different, but the work is considerably less.

Serves 6 - 8 people.
50 walnuts, shelled, or 2 cups (200g) ground walnuts or ground blanched almonds
Milk (if using fresh walnuts)
1/4 lb (100g) goat cheese, or, if not available, cream cheese
1 hard roll or crust end of bread soaked in milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cinnamon

To make the sauce:
If starting with fresh walnuts, soak the shelled nuts in milk for about 20 to 30 minutes to loosen the skin and then remove the skins.
Using a blender, grind the nuts, cheese, hard roll in milk together to make a sauce. The sauce should be thin enough to pour; if not, add some more milk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and a pinch of cinnamon.

3 tomatoes, or 8 oz (300 g) can of tomatoes, drained
1/2 cups (100 g) almonds, whole, blanched
2 peaches, peeled, chopped
2 pears, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup (100g) raisins
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb (250g) pork, ground
1/2 lb (250g) beef, ground
4 tbsp onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp saffron
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the stuffing:
Peel tomatoes and chop them. Chop almonds. Peel fruit and chop. Soak raisins in hot water. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat. Add tomatoes, onion and garlic. Cook covered for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Add the almonds, drained raisins, saffron and fruits. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook till the filling is quite thick and most of the liquid has evaporated.

7 to 8 peppers, medium size, different colors

Put the peppers into boiling water for a couple of minutes, till they have softened somewhat. Remove the top and the seeds.

3/4 cup (100g) flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp sugar
2 eggs

parsley and pomegranate seeds

1. Prepare the coating mixture by mixing together all the dry ingredients. Beat the 2 eggs slightly.

2. Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture. Make sure the outside of the peppers is wet before dipping them in the flour spice mixture and then into the egg. Sprinkle again with the flour mixture.

3. Fry in hot fat at 375°F (190°C) until browned. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve with the cold sauce, garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley.

Plain or Mexican rice goes nicely with this dish.

9 posted on 08/28/2008 5:36:38 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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