CELEBRATING ST AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO
"...when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all" (Lk. 17:26-37).
RHETORIC, PROPAGANDA, and CULT
Remember these three words to celebrate the birthday of Saint Augustine, doctor of the faith and brother of African descent. The words: RHETORIC, PROPAGANDA, and CULT had a different meaning in his day. We look to those ancient meanings to bring Saint Augustine’s witness to life. In today’s gospel, Luke 17:26-37, Lot’s wife missed the meaning of these three words, and thus, lost her life. She did not have St. Augustine to show her the way. We have him, so our lives should be different.
Augustine was a teacher of RHETORIC, defined as a persuasive presentation of the Truth in his day. The purpose of his presentation was PROPAGANDA; see the word “PROPAGATION” in the second word, which is spreading the Truth. Spreading the Truth creates a community anchored in the Truth; in his day, this community, which Augustine was formed to build, could be referred to as a “CULT.” Saints Augustine, Monica, and Ambrose were leaders in the “CULT,” which we now call the Church. In today’s gospel, we hear in Luke 17:29, "when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all."
We know what happened to Lot’s wife; hers is the fate of those who don’t live by the ancient meanings of Augustine’s words. As we celebrate the birthday of St. Augustine of Hippo, we recall his RHETORIC, PROPAGANDA, and CULT, which embodied his way. Augustine was and remains in a CULT with Jesus. And, in John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” St. Augustine’s way was “the way and the truth and the life.” Let’s celebrate his RHETORIC, PROPAGANDA, and CULT, and walk in the way of Jesus.
Author: Timothy E. Tilghman, Deacon in the Neighborhood