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Pilgrimage: A Way of Life in the Church Fathers


Pilgrimage: A Way of Life in the Church Fathers Dr. Ann T. Orlando 11 October 2008 Outline Introduction to the Church Fathers Pilgrimages St. Augustine on Pilgrimage ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Pilgrimage: A Way of Life in the Church Fathers

Pilgrimage A Way of Life in the Church Fathers
  • Dr. Ann T. Orlando
  • 11 October 2008

  • Introduction to the Church Fathers
  • Pilgrimages
  • St. Augustine on Pilgrimage and Prayer

The Church Fathers Why Are They So Important?
  • Shaped our Christian understanding
  • Doctrine (orthodoxy)
  • Practice (orthopraxy)
  • Did so by adhering to message of Scripture
  • Christology
  • Trinitarian Theology
  • Liturgy and Sacraments
  • Morality
  • Ecclesiology

As Readers of the Magnificat
  • Christian spirituality promoted by the Church
  • Prayer in morning and evening
  • Prayers at Mass
  • Pilgrimage

Who Are the Church Fathers?
  • St. Vincent of Lerins (d.450, Feast 24 May) first
    suggest criteria for Church Father
  • Student of St. Augustine
  • Reflected on great theologians of the preceding
  • St. Vincent considered one of the Fathers
  • Antiquity
  • Orthodox Doctrine
  • Ecclesial Approval
  • Holiness of Life

  • Period Begins Pope St. Clement of Rome (d.98,
    Feast 23 November)
  • Period Ends more problematic
  • Pope St. Gregory Great, d. 603, Feast 9 November
  • St. Maximus the Confessor, d.662, Feast 13 August
  • St. John of Damascus, d. 787, Feast 4 December
  • All men of Roman Empire and late antiquity
  • All Church Fathers are venerated through the
    centuries by Orthodox and Catholic Churches
  • In this period no distinction between Orthodox
    and Catholic Church
  • Often divided into two periods
  • Time of Martyrdom
  • After the Conversion of Constantine, 312
  • www.roman-empire.net/

  • What they taught was in keeping with Church
  • Most Church Fathers were bishops
  • Primary concern leading people of God
  • Defending the faith against heresies
  • The Fathers may have been the first to succinctly
    express doctrine
  • Pope St. Leo Great (d. 461, Feast November 9)
  • Christology Jesus Christ one person, two natures
  • Pope St. Gregory and St. Augustine
  • Bowes Museum

Ecclesial Approval
  • Fathers are recognized by the Magisterium
  • Subsequent theologians relied on Church Fathers
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274, Feast January 28)
  • Look in CCC for many, many references to Church

Holiness of Life
  • Church Fathers have a reputation for leading holy
    lives and leading others in holiness
  • In the first three centuries, this often meant
    witnessing in blood as martyrs
  • In later encouraging growth in spirituality
    growth of monasticism
  • St. Patrick (d. 461, Feast March 17)
  • St. Benedict of Nursia (d. 547, Feast July 11)
  • St. Scholastica (d. 547, Feast February 10)
  • Pilgrimages
  • Abbey of Monte Cassino

Early Christian Pilgrimages
  • Initially, pilgrimages were short journeys to
    burial site of martyrs
  • After the time of persecution, large pilgrimages
    to far away holy sites
  • Jerusalem
  • Rome
  • Earliest account of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem
    (4th C) by Egeria
  • Recounts the Holy Week liturgies in Jerusalem

Fourth Century Account of Adoration of Cross on
Good Friday
  • The bishop duly takes his seat in the chair, and
    a table covered with a linen cloth is placed
    before him the deacons stand round the table,
    and a silver-gilt casket is brought in which is
    the holy wood of the Cross. The casket is opened
    and (the wood) is taken out, and the wood of the
    Cross is placed upon the table. Now, when it has
    been put upon the table, the bishop, as he sits,
    holds the extremities of the sacred wood firmly
    in his hands, while the deacons who stand around
    guard it. It is guarded thus because the custom
    is that the people, both faithful and
    catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at
    the table, kiss the sacred wood and pass through
    - Egeria

But What Is Proper Understanding of Pilgrimage?
  • Are journeys to far away holy places necessary
    for Christian life?
  • Does simply being in a holy place make you holy?

Church Fathers Develop Cautions About Pilgrimages
As Journeys
  • www.svspress.com/images/svspressicons/l-icon237.jp
  • St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 394, Feast March 9)
  • Place does not make a Christian holier
  • Change of place does not bring one closer to
    God, but where you are, God will come toward
  • Gregory himself does go on a pilgrimage to
    Jerusalem, but need proper attitude
  • Most important pilgrimage is the interior one to
  • Gregory is a brother of one of four Greek
    Doctors of Church
  • St. Athanasius (d.373, Feast May 2)
  • St. Basil of Caesarea (d. 379, Feast January 2)
  • St. Gregory Nazianzus (d. 390, Feast January 2)
  • St. John Chrysostom (d. 407, Feast Sept. 13)

Pilgrimage and St. Augustine of Hippo
  • St. Augustine comes to understand our entire
    Christian life as a pilgrimage
  • The genuine pilgrim life begins at Baptism
  • The goal of the Christian pilgrim is eternal
    happiness with God

St. Augustine is baptized by St. Ambrose
Benozzo Gozzoli, 1465
Who Was St. Augustine
  • Born in North Africa (354)
  • St. Monica (d. 387, Feast August 27)
  • Died as Bishop of Hippo (430, Feast August 28)
  • Wrote some of our most import Christian
    theological works
  • Confessions
  • City of God
  • On the Trinity
  • On Christian Teaching
  • On Free Choice of Will
  • In almost all of these works, he describes our
    life as a pilgrimage
  • A journey to Jerusalem or Rome should be seen as
    the metaphor for the real pilgrimage of life
  • The earthly Jerusalem is a sign of the heavenly
  • One of four Latin Fathers
  • St. Ambrose (d. 397, Feast December 7)
  • St. Jerome (d. 420, Feast September 30)
  • Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604, Feast March
  • Enduring influence on theologians and
    philosophers in subsequent centuries up to our
  • More references to Augustine in CCC than any
    other theologian
  • The greatest Father of the Latin Church
  • Benedict XVI, St. Augustine of Hippo (1), General
    Audience 9 January 2008

Pilgrimage in the Confessions
  • Confessions tells the story of Augustines turn
    from and return to God
  • As a young man he rejected the Catholic faith of
    his mother, Monica
  • Ambitious for sex, fame and wealth
  • In searching for the Truth, he finally returns to
    the Catholic Faith
  • He comes to see the importance of his life as a
    pilgrimage to God,
  • Not as a consumer of temporal things

The End of Monicas Pilgrimage
  • In the Confessions Augustine describes Monicas
    peaceful and holy death.
  • At the end he writes
  • My Lord, my God, inspire your servants, that all
    who read this book may remember Monica your
    servant and Patrick her husband, May they
    remember with devout affection my parents in this
    transient light, my kith and kin under you, our
    Father, in our mother the Catholic Church, and my
    fellow citizens in the eternal Jerusalem. For
    this city your pilgrim people yearn. Confession

Augustine In Pilgrimage Together as the People
of God
  • Pilgrimage as a way of life
  • Social enterprise
  • We travel together
  • We support each other
  • Everyone belongs to one of two cities
  • City of God, the Church, on pilgrimage
  • City of this world

Pilgrimage and The City of God
  • Pilgrimage companions are found in
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Church
  • The Church itself is on pilgrimage
  • Without regard to custom or manners
  • With concern one for the other
  • In unceasing prayer together
  • For witness the prayer of the whole city of God
    in its pilgrim state, for it cries to God by the
    mouth of all its members, Forgive us our debts as
    we forgive our debtor City of God XIX.27
  • But how can people active in the world pray

Letter 130, To Proba
  • Written by Augustine c.411
  • Proba
  • Wealthy Roman widow living in North Africa
  • Mother of Roman consuls
  • She wrote to Augustine asking him about how to
  • Fresco, ancient aristocratic Roman woman

Wealth and the Good Life in Letter 130, To Proba
  • Probas request fills Augustine with joy
  • Happy because Proba realizes that wealth is not
    source of security
  • Proba should act as though the things of the
    world do not matter to her
  • Temporal goods do not make us happy
  • Temporal goods should be in service of the moral
  • Happiness comes from
  • What makes us good
  • Increases love of God and neighbor
  • Prayer should be our guide on our pilgrim way to
    that Good Love

Prayer in Letter 130, To Proba
  • Even when busy in the world the desire to pray is
    a prayer
  • Pray in short prayers so as not to lose focus
  • Pray to make ourselves open to Gods response
  • Augustine closes by asking Proba to pray for him.

Where to Learn More About Church Fathers
  • Pope Benedict XVI General Audiences
  • From 7 March 2007 through 25 June 2008, the Pope
    devoted most audience talks to the Church Fathers
  • All mentioned in this presentation
  • Some (The Greek and Latin Fathers) had two each
  • Except Augustine, with whom the Pope spent five
  • Available on Vatican website, www.vatican.va
  • Spe Salvi has many references to Church Fathers
  • Letter to Proba
  • But the best way to know the Fathers is to read
  • Augustine, The Confessions
  • Treatises, Books, Homilies, Letters, Poems, Songs
  • Meditations in the Magnificat
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