Augustinian Cross

St. Augustine, whose Westernised name is abbreviated as St. Austin, is also known as the 'Doctor of Grace' or the 'Doctor of Love'. The title 'Doctor' is given to those recognized as having been of particular importance, especially in theology or doctrine.

Augustinian Cross

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The Augustinian Cross is a cross adorned with features to remind us of the gifts we have received from St. Augustine. The cross might be any shape or form, but on this page we are using a Latin Cross, as St. Augustine is known as the 'Father of the Latin Church'.

St. Augustine
St. Augustinian (b. 354, d. 430) bishop of Hippo, Algeria

He framed the Christian concept of a 'Just War'; a notion that bellicose regimes have since reframed to suit their political or economic goals. Relativists might claim that what constituted justice 1,600 years ago does not apply to today's culture.

They might cite Augustine as a teacher, who believed corporal punishment was an appropriate learning aid. Or they might cite that he maintained that the soul enters the body when the foetus is 40 days old in the case of a boy, and 90 days in the case of a girl.

Today, we don't have any better idea of when the soul enters the body but recognise, with the advantage of biological knowledge that was not available in the 5th century, that the sex of the foetus should make no difference in the timing of ensoulment.

Is Augustinian thought out of date with today's reality?

If so, why do whole scholastic careers continue to be devoted to studying great philosophers such as Augustine?

It is because he left a legacy of timeless wisdom. And these are symbolised on the Augustinian Cross.

  • Heart: The heart is a metaphor for all that is deepest and truest in one's self. (See Heart and the Cross)
  • Arrow: In The Confessions of St. Augustine (9.2) he writes of his conversion: "You have pierced our hearts with the arrow of your love, and our minds were pierced with the arrows of your words." His conversion was as though God had jolted his spiritual heart, just as a paramedic might use a defibrillator to restore the normal rhythm of the physical heart. (See the Arrow Cross)
  • Flame: He goes on to describe (13.9) "Your gift sets us afire and we are borne upward; we catch this flame and up we go. In our hearts we climb those upward paths, singing the songs of ascent. By your fire, your beneficent fire, we are inflamed." The symbol shows a heart bursting into flame with love for God. (See the Flaming Cross)
  • Book: The pierced, flaming heart overlays a book (one of those things people used before computers were invented). This book might be construed to be the Hebrew Bible and his commentary on Genesis, the Psalms, the New Testament and his hypothesis on the origin of the Gospels, or any of his numerous works. (See the Evangelists' Cross)

Augustine greatly valued spiritual relationships with other people and this brotherly love was the basis of his writings. Augustine defended the doctrine of original sin, in contrast to that radical Welshman, Pelagius, and his ilk. This was the whole point of Jesus coming to earth and for His sacrifice. (See Meaning of the Cross)

The nature of both philosophy and religion is in exploring, experiencing and learning, which have led to the development of the education system we have today.

Many modern schools and universities are based on secular, scientific and/or business goals. But even these institutions also depend on fundamental philosophical and religious thought. It is no surprise, therefore, that some of the world's best educational establishments have strong connections to the Christian Church or some other religion. Many of these schools and colleges are named 'St. Augustine' and incorporate Augustinian Cross elements in their logo.

And we'll end this page with one of St. Augustine's famous prayers to God, found in his autobiography Confessions (written AD 397–400): Fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te. (You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.) Could the love and acknowledgement of God be expressed any better than this?

Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom infinite.
And Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of Thy creation; man, that bears about him his mortality, the witness of his sin, the witness that Thou resistest the proud: yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art. Or, is it rather, that we call on Thee that we may know Thee? but how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher? and they that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him. I will seek Thee, Lord, by calling on Thee; and will call on Thee, believing in Thee; for to us hast Thou been preached. My faith, Lord, shall call on Thee, which Thou hast given me, wherewith Thou hast inspired me, through the Incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of the Preacher.

Question: What's the difference between a Hippo and a Zippo?

Answer: A Zippo is a little lighter!

On male superiority: It wasn't until 1827 that the human ovum was discovered. Before then, most people thought a child was 100% result of the man's sperm and that the woman was just the incubator. The Church, in 1869, revised canon law on abortion by removing the distinction between an 'ensouled' foetus and 'unensouled' foetus.

Domine Iesu, Noverim Me (Lord Jesus, Let Me Know Myself)

Augustine (354-430)


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