Pope John Paul II on Augustine
Let us ask this extraordinary man what he has to say to the modern man. I believe he has much to say, both by his example and by his teaching.
He teaches the person who searches for truth not to despair of finding it. He teaches this by his example—he himself rediscovered it after many years of laborious seeking—and by means of his literary activity, the program of which he had fixed in the first letter after his conversion: “It seems to me that one must bring men back… to the hope of finding the truth.” He teaches therefore that one must seek the truth “with piety, chastity and diligence” in order to overcome doubts about the possibility of returning into oneself, to the interior realm where truth dwells: and likewise to overcome the materialism which prevents the mind from grasping its indissoluble union with the realities that are understood by the intelligence, and the rationalism that refuses to collaborate with faith and prevents the mind from understanding the “mystery” of the human person.
Augustine’s legacy to the theologians, whose meritorious task is to study more deeply the contents of the faith, is the immense patrimony of his thought, which is as a whole valid even now. Above all, his legacy is the theological methods to which he remained absolutely faithful. We know that this method implied full adherence to the authority of the faith which is one of its origin—the authority of Christ—and is revealed through Scripture, Tradition and the Church. His legacy includes the ardent desire to understand his own faith—“Be a great lover indeed of understanding” is his command to others. which he applies to himself also. Likewise the profound sense of the mystery “for it is better,” he exclaims, “to have a faithful ignorance ...