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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

Ted Tack OSA: Augustinian Reflections on the Spiritual Life

Rest in Peace

Fr Tack died in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A. in February 2013.

Related Article

A second lecture by Fr Ted Tack OSA is also available on this website. Go to If Augustine Were Alive Today

Augustine had his feet firmly planted on solid earth, but he kept his eyes trained on those things that were of the greatest importance for him and for all who want to follow Christ: how to make the spirit and body work together harmoniously, on our journey toward the common goal to which we have all been called—life with God, both here and hereafter.

When we speak of a particular spirituality, as I shall be doing this evening, we are referring to a particular way of looking at the gospel. We all look at the gospel with different eyes: whether we are married, single or religious, scholars or those less well prepared, Catholic or Protestant, we see things from a different angle. And it is the same with the saints: Augustine, Benedict, Francis, Dominic, Ignatius or any other of the founders of religious orders. No spirituality can say that it is the best or the only one to follow, because all are fixed on bringing the entire gospel to life, while emphasizing one or another particular aspect of that gospel.

As I thought about how I might phrase this talk, it occurred to me that not many of you may have had much previous opportunity to have an overall view of St Augustine’s spirituality, that is, the way he speaks of the Christian life. Augustine is generally well known, both within the Church and in secular society, as a great philosopher and theologian. But not many are aware of his life as a Christian and bishop, reflecting on the gospel.

Over the last twenty years I have frequently taught a course on Augustine’s Confessions to adults. At the same time I have taught this course in a more extensive way to a good number of seniors in our Augustinian college prep school in Tulsa, Cascia Hall. I remain continually fascinated at how both adults and our senior students respond to Augustine’s odyssey, his message, and his approach to the Christian life. He is very down to earth, and much of what he lived and experienced himself is still relevant for our times, as even my students have no difficulty in eventually understanding. Now it is true that they initially come to this class with quite a bit of skepticism, asking themselves, “What can this guy, who’s been dead sixteen centuries, possibly have to say to me with my problems?” But often within two or three weeks a change begins to take place and they begin to identify with him in a very realistic way.

 

To read the text of this talk Click here, or else view this talk on YouTube.

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