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Spirituality

Biography filled with detail puts St. Augustine in perspective

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12182015p21pha.jpgAUGUSTINE: CONVERSIONS TO CONFESSIONS
By Robin Lane Fox
Published by Basic Books, $35

Augustine: Conversions to Confessions may be informative to the nth degree, but it's not dense. Robin Lane Fox says he wrote this biography for all readers -- even those in a post-Christian age who do not share Augustine's religious beliefs.

With what gifts?

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Eight centuries before the Magi from the east came bearing gifts to present to Jesus, Micah asked, "With what shall I come before the Lord and bow before God most high? Shall I come with holocausts, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my crime?" (Micah 6:6-7). The prophet gave voice to the desperation of his people, who were overwhelmed by their own sinfulness and shame.

Blanket of snow

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Like much of the country just now, my parish is buried under snow. It is lovely.

The physical beauty of the shimmering clean white cover over everything is stunning. But there is also the spiritual beauty of a big snow fall. It is a universal Sabbath, given to us by God or nature or both.

In 2003 I wrote about the beauty and blessing of snow. It is still true:

"This blanket of snow is a spiritual experience. It is a sign of God's grace and a metaphor for how that grace is experienced."

First of all it is powerful.

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