St. Augustine

What you should know about St. Augustine:

His Belief In The Continuation Of Spiritual Gifts.

St. Augustine, a towering figure in Christian history, is widely celebrated for his profound influence on Western theology, particularly his perspectives on the Holy Spirit’s nature and role. Yet, an aspect often eclipsed in historical discourses is Augustine’s vibrant engagement with the miraculous and the charismatic dimensions of faith. This facet of his ministry unveils a dynamic Augustine, who, contrary to some scholarly views, embraced the charismata, especially in his later years.

Augustine’s transformation in understanding and experiencing the miraculous is evident in his seminal work, ‘The City of God’ (written between 413-426). Here, he confidently asserts the continuity of God’s miraculous interventions: ‘Even now… many miracles are wrought, the same God who wrought those we read of still performing them, by whom He will and as He will.’ He challenges the skepticism towards visible divine acts with the assertion that the Creator of the visible universe actively performs visible miracles to draw souls to the worship of the invisible God.

A compelling illustration of this belief is found in Augustine’s recounting of a miraculous healing in Hippo. It involved a Cappadocian brother and sister, Paulus and Palladia, known for their severe palsy. Their visit to Hippo and subsequent miraculous healing during an Easter service, as narrated by Augustine, not only demonstrates the miraculous but also underscores Augustine’s role in interpreting and mediating these divine acts to his congregation. These events were not mere occurrences but transformative experiences that reinforced faith and glorified God.

Augustine’s insistence on the veracity of spiritual gifts is noteworthy. He proposed a discernment framework to authenticate the divine origin of these gifts, emphasizing the need for a sound and charitable spirit as a marker of God’s work. Yet, in an intriguing contrast, Augustine expresses skepticism towards the contemporary manifestation of glossolalia or speaking in tongues. His repeated denial of this gift’s relevance for his time suggests a nuanced stance, possibly shaped by the ecclesial and cultural contexts of his era. If you would like to know more about St. Augustine’s doctrine and experience of supernatural activity, you should watch this interview I did with Matthew Esquivel.

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