“Incomprehensible and immutable is the love of God. For it was not after we were reconciled to him by the blood of his Son that he began to love us, but he loved us before the foundation of the world, that with his only begotten Son we too might be sons of God before we were anything at all” (St. Augustine of Hippo).All St. Augustine quotes are from The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations, compiled by Mark Water (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000).
August 28 is the Feast of St. Augustine in some churches. The following thoughts commemorate him while also providing an introduction to a forthcoming series about God’s Love.
St. Augustine (born November 13, 354; died August 28, 430) is arguably the most influential Christian author since the apostles passed away. His writings not only influenced Roman Catholicism, but also perhaps the two most significant Protestant reformers, Martin Luther and John Calvin. If you follow the teachings of Luther or consider yourself a Calvinist, you are a de facto Augustinian.
Some may find his theology heavy-handed; his views about morality were strict, perhaps legalistic. Raised by a Christian mother and pagan father, he spent his youth as a rebel. During early adulthood he sought truth: followed Manicheeism (sort of a proto-New-Age fusion of Christianity and Eastern mysticism), had a son out of wedlock, became a professor of rhetoric, and eventually became a Christian. Interested readers may want to check out his biography, the Confession of St. Augustine. Although he lived over 1600 years ago, it is easy to relate to him. His Confession reminds us that times may change, but people are essentially the same.
In the coming weeks, I will share a few thoughts about the love of God. The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8); it is one of His most important attributes. If we do not have the love of God in our hearts, our faith is not genuine.
I would like to close with a few more quotes by St. Augustine about God’s love. Reflect on them and rejoice in the incomprehensible, unchangeable love that God has for you!
“O Love ever burning and never extinguished caritas, my God, set me on fire.”
“God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.”
“People are renewed by love. As sinful desire ages them, so love rejuvenates them.”
“The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and be loved.” (Augustine sought satisfaction in several premarital sexual relationships before surrendering his life to Christ. Like many people today, he found that he was “looking for love in all the wrong places,” as a popular song from the 1970s said.)
I would like to hear from you. Does one of Augustine’s quotes really speak to you in a special way? Share your thoughts or suggestions by clicking the “Leave a comment” link below.
Copyright © 2021 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.