Monday, 8 May 2017

St Augustine on the pilgrim Church

I previously posted some extracts from a letter of St Augustine on the meaning of the Easter season, and here is the next part.

He starts by reminding us that faith has to be reflected in our works:
This passing from death to life is meanwhile wrought in us by faith, which we have for the pardon of our sins and the hope of eternal life, when we love God and our neighbour; for faith works by love,  and the just shall live by his faith...
St Augustine goes on to talk about the virtue of hope, which requires that we rise with Christ in this life by living our lives with an orientation towards heaven: we must 'set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth'.  

There is of course, more to come though, since though
...we have by faith the first-fruits of the Spirit; ...we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body: for we are saved by hope. While we are in this hope, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness...But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.
We must therefore, with the help of grace, work for our salvation:
This renewal, therefore, of our life is a kind of transition from death to life which is made first by faith, so that we rejoice in hope and are patient in tribulation, while still our outward man perishes, but the inward man is renewed day by day.  It is because of this beginning of a new life, because of the new man which we are commanded to put on, putting off the old man, purging out the old leaven, that we may be a new lump, because Christ our passover is sacrificed for us;
 This not just a message for us individually though, but applies to the Church as a whole:
The whole Church, therefore, while here in the conditions of pilgrimage and mortality, expects that to be accomplished in her at the end of the world which has been shown first in the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the first-begotten from the dead, seeing that the body of which He is the Head is none other than the Church.

No comments: