A. Fitzgerald, "Augustine on Eucharist ...", in W. Mayer, P. Allen and L. Cross (eds), Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church, vol. 4, Strathfield: St Paul’s Publications, 2006, pp. 267-280.


Augustine on Eucharist[1]

Your only Son [is] my ransom price, which I eat, drink and dispense to others (Conf. X,43, 70)

Introductory remarks

The study of the Eucharist in the early church may not be exactly what it appears to be to a 21st century scholar. We have a tendency to think of Eucharist as a topic that can be the object of study. Yet, since the Eucharist had not yet become a source of disagreement or of heresy, it remained in the background, implicitly an integral part of everything christian. The Eucharist was simply the celebration of Christ – and, therefore, the celebration of christian experience. Hence, it was not “isolated”, as if it were an object to be analysed.

In that very different historical context, references to Eucharist, most frequently by allusion or metaphor, might be just as easily found in doctrinal treatises as in ser­mons.[2] Where the words may appear to be about being nourished by the Word, the Eucharistic context is not always noted.[3] Yet, language about the Word of God, about giving to the poor,[4] about Jesus Christ,[5] and about food and drink[6] should often be interpreted within a eucharistic context. The Eucharistic celebration, after all, was not limited to sacrament, as Augustine says:

So the Eucharist is our daily bread . . . And the fact that I am dealing with this subject for you, and that you hear readings in the Church every day, is daily bread; and that you hear and sing hymns is daily bread. These are things we need on our pilgrimage.[7]

Eucharistic experience, in the life of the Western Church of the fourth and fifth centuries, did have a hidden dimension. What is called the disciplina arcani [8] meant that there was something unspoken about Eucharist. Since we have ser­mons and other texts from that time which explicitly mention Eucharist, Euchar­istic symbols and Eucharistic rituals, the disciplina arcani could not have meant mere silence about the rites nor about their meaning.[9] Rather, the secret was part of an experience only available to baptized christians, to those who, in fact, received the Eucharist. Bap­tized christians lived the Eucharist and – implicitly –  under­stood its mystery, but they participated in something too great for words.

When Augustine said, "the faithful know (norunt fideles),"[10] it wasn’t a matter of hiding ritual details. He simply acknowledged a fact: only by full membership in the christian community was it possible to appre­ciate the mystery. Often, he will call his listeners to a spiritual understanding, to the kind of presence that will increase their capacity for understanding the mystery and for participation in that mystery. He could thus admit that his words – whether about Eucharist or Baptism – could be understood by the faithful and, at the same time, be meaningless to catechumens. Thus, he often invites the catechumens to baptism: that they might know as well.[11]

A presentation of Augustine’s understanding of Eucharist requires – I think – that one not impose 21 st century questions on what he has left us. Jesus Christ – not the Eucharist – was his focus.[12] His many efforts to clarify christian identity and christian holiness might be made through theological dis­course, moral recommen­dation or celebration in prayer and sacrament. If the eucharistic experience was more or less explicit in each of these circumstances, it was not the primary focus of atten­tion. Hence, talking about Eucharist in a way that respects the historical context should keep the community that celebrated Eucharist as its primary focus[13] – not for theoretical reasons, but because of Augustine’s own experience.

Augustine's experience

What then can be said about Augustine’s experience of Eucharist? At the end of Book X of the Confes­sions, he gives us a brief insight into his experience, enmeshed as it was in a rather complex account of what he was living at that time. Apparent­ly, he found himself in an especially difficult set of circumstances. Much of Book X had been a personal examination of conscience.[14] Then, in the last paragraph, he wrote: “Terrified by my sins and by the weight of my misery, I had racked my heart and thought about flight into solitude, but you for­bade me and strengthened me.”[15] His anguish about his sins and his misery led him to think seriously about going off to be alone. [Knowing his need for friends,[16] such a temptation indicates how ‘out of sorts’ he must truly have been!] Then he cites words from the second letter to the Corinthians as if they were spoken directly to him: “you forbade me . . . saying: That is why Christ died for all, so that those who live should not live for themselves, but for him who died for them” (2 Cor 5:15). Augustine heard those words as an indictment of his plan to run away, as a phrase that criticized him for his selfishishness. But, then, he continues, “your only Son, in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), redeemed me with his blood (Col 1, 14). Let not the proud find fault with me (Ps. 118:22) because I think about my ransom-price (cf. 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), and I eat it, and I drink it, and I dispense it, and, as a poor man, I long to be filled with it in the midst of those who eat and are satisfied, for those who seek him will praise the Lord(Ps 21:27).[17] Augustine thus gives us a fleeting glimpse – the only explicitly personal one in all his works – into his experience of Eucharist.

Let me untangle some of the threads that run through this brief text. When, for example, was he tempted to take flight into solitude? Who were “the proud” and who were those who “eat and are satisfied?” What does it mean to Augustine to eat and drink the price of his redemption?[18] How should his longing to eat, drink and share the Eucharist within the Christian community be understood? What can be said about the sense of Eucharist that emerges from the answers to such questions? First of all, why was he tempted to run away? When did that occur?

Shortly after being ordained a priest, Augustine wrote a letter to his bishop, Valer­ius, in which he spoke about the burden of ministry. He said that his priestly min­istry “now torments and crushes me” (Letter 21, 3). His unexpected ordination as a priest had interrupted plans for the study of Scripture along with others, he wrote. But he also admitted that he did not then realize what kind of prepara­tion he needed for priesthood: nothing in his upbringing had adequately prepared him “for this manner of service” (Letter 21, 1). In the meantime, he had come to know “what a person who ministers to the people the sacrament and the word of God” must have,[19] and he explains why he – of all people – wanted this time for the study of the Scriptures: “. . . I know and hold with com­plete faith what pertains to our sal­vation. But how am I to exercise this ministry for the salvation of others, not seek­ing what is beneficial for me, but for many, that they may be saved” (I Cor 10:33)?[20] He had come to recognize that his challenge was not personal faith or his own sal­vation, but the salvation of “others” – a  response to his temptation to selfish flight.

The context for what he wrote in the Confessions and in the letter to Valerius are remark­ably similar: both speak of a struggle in choosing between his own prefer­ence for solitude and the needs of others; both refer to the weight of his awareness of sin’s burden and to his weakness. Whereas the letter makes no mention of Eucharist, the text from the Confessions – some six years later – has a refined sense of the place of Eucharist in his life. In addition, the text from the Confessions has set the discussion of Eucharist in specific relation to Christ as mediator and as priest, a framework that will remain significant in the rest of Augustine’s thinking about the sacramental life of Christianity.[21] [That framework would require another paper at another time.[22]]

Something had changed: not merely the fact of ordination nor the exercise of ministry, but, most probably as a result of increased contact with Donatist clergy and the confrontation with their ideas about church, sacrament and holiness.[23] His emphasis on his own sinfulness and on the importance of not thinking about his own good, but about the common good, [24] are both positions that will have significant place in what he will write against the Donatists. His explicit reference to the experience of Eucharist is also significant, insofar as the Eucharist is an integral part of his appreciation of his faith and of the role of the christian community. In fact, it is the community that celebrated Eucharist – not the Eucharist itself and his presence in that community – that held his attention. His temptation to run away may have been blocked by a word of Scripture, but that same word thrust him into the midst of the christian community in a new way. Since the Donatists were so focused on their own holiness, isolating themselves from anyone they found unworthy, the emphasis on the benefit of Eucharist for the many was a natural emphasis for Augustine. It was also the most significant dimension of the experience to which he points: Eucharist was – quite precisely – the sacrament that could bring the many into unity.

Eat and be satisfied (Ps 21:27)

About whom was Augustine speaking when he identified “the proud” and why was he worried about them? Why would they find fault with him? How are the proud distinguished from those who “eat and are satisfied?” A text from his commen­tary on psalm 131 will clarify the matter:

What is meant by the promise, brothers and sisters – I will satisfy its poor with bread? Let us be poor, and then we shall be satisfied. Many people pin their hopes on this world; though Christians, they are proud; they worship Christ, yet they are not satisfied. The trouble is that they are already filled up with other things and wallow in their proud affluence. These were the kind another psalm referred to when it spoke of the contempt in which we are held, a disgrace to the affluent and contemptible to the proud (Ps 122:4). They are well off and therefore have plenty to eat, but they are not satisfied...  They worship Christ, they hold him in reverence, they say their prayers to Christ, but they are never filled to their satisfaction with his wisdom and justice. Why not? Because they are not poor. The truly poor, on the other hand – that is, the humble of heart – eat all the more as their hunger grows keener and the more empty they are of what the world enjoys, the hungrier they become. . . God himself is [their] bread.”[25]

The experience of Eucharist for those who are satisfied by receiving refers to those who have recognized the fullness that they have encountered; Eucharist thus makes sense in relation to what Augustine calls the blood of the just man and the humility of God.[26] But, to eat and drink the Eucharist in the company of the poor was a gift that everyone did not appreciate. Those who they ate and drank without recognizing and imitating the humility of God were set in contrast: rather than being satisfied by the experience of Eucharist, they were self-satisfied, proud.[27]

But who were these proud people? There is good reason to think that Augustine is referring to Donatist bishops who often spoke of themselves as just,[28] and who saw their church as holy and their role as mediators of that holiness – a kind of bella figura. They may not have understood Augustine’s accusation, but he described them as detracting from the ministry of Christ since he alone is truly just and only his justice is the basis for our salvation. Augustine’s constant emphasis on the need to admit one’s sinfulness – rather than pretend to be just – was essential for a Christian,[29] not a self-conscious pessimism or a narrow focus on himself. That emphasis may have been stimulated by the Donatist clergy whos exaggerated accent on thei own sufficiency was often noted by Augustine. In addition to seeing the pride of Donatist clergy, there is probably a reference as well to anyone who pretended to be holy, including some of those who worshipped in his own church and who failed to appreciate their real need for God’s fullness.

If those who are “satisfied with the bread which comes down from heaven (Jn 6:50)” are those “who, while clinging to him and preserving his peace and love, imitate his humility,”[30] then, 'being filled' or ‘satisfied’ are code words by which Augustine identifies those who live as members of the christian community and, by their honesty about their need for Christ’s justification, seek and praise the Lord. Augustine highlights the communion with them when he says: “live a good life, and you make me rich. My riches are nothing other than your hope in Christ. My joy, my consolation and the breathing space from my dangers amid all these trials is your good lives.”[31] Hence, Augustine’s view is not just a matter of living a good life, but of being fully a part of the community which worships with and cares for others – as he says about Luke 24:

. . where did the Lord wish to be recognized? In the breaking of bread. . .  You too, then, if you want to have life, do what they did in order to recognize the Lord. They showed him hospitality. The Lord, you see, was like someone who still had a long way to go, but they held him back. When they reached the place they were making for, they said, “Stay with us now, the day has faded toward evening.” Constrain the stranger, if you want to recognize the Savior. What had been lost through a lack of faith was restored through hospitality. So the Lord made himself present in the breaking of bread. Learn where to look for the Lord, learn where to have him, learn where to recognize him, that is, when you eat him.[32]

Thus, the poor are satisfied with Eucharist, the proud with themselves. All received the Eucharist, and each was thus invited to reflect what it meant to do so. Even so, the stark distinction between the proud and the poor does not mean that Augustine was “poin­ting a finger” at this or that person. Augustine’s attention is, rather, on the only one who could satisfy: Jesus Christ, who humbled himself and lived, not for himself, but for the salvation of the many. His words to his community were perhaps like those that Paul wrote to the Corinthians (I Cor 11:17-34): words of correction and of encouragement in the common search for a truly christian com­munity. Eucharist was not for ‘me’ and for ‘my salvation’ but for the salvation of the many.

Eucharist: hunger for the justice of God

Augustine’s focus remained centered on Jesus Christ. Thus, he pays less attention to “the Eucharist” than to its raison d’être: it was the sacrament of unity in Christ whereby all become the body of Christ. Those who “eat and are satisfied” are the same ones who continue to seek the Lord and to praise him, who seek to live according to God’s justice, i.e., praising him. The others “failed to grasp the meaning of the bread coming down from heaven, because satisfied with their own justice, they weren't hungry for the justice of God.”[33] In a letter from 412 to Honorius, a friend from Carthage, Augustine meditates on the relation of hunger and thirst for justice to the members of the eucharistic community.

“The rich too come to his table, eat, and adore, but they are not satisfied because they do not hunger and thirst for justice. For those with such a hunger and thirst will be satisfied. . . one is not inappropriately said to be satisfied by the poverty of Christ who not only scorns all temporal goods out of temperance but also endures temporal evils with patience for the sake of his justice, that is for the sake of coming to share in the eternal Word, something that he has begun in faith. . . 67. Such were the fishermen and the tax-collectors, because he chose the lowly of this world to confound the mighty (1 Cor 1:27). Of these persons it was said, the poor will eat and be satisfied (Ps 21:27). But because they did not hold this satiety within themselves . . the world was roused by their preaching so that all the ends of the earth remembered and turned back to the Lord . . . 68. And my soul will live for him (Ps 21:31), for him, not for itself, like the souls of the proud who rejoice in their own private good and with empty elation leap back from the common good, which is God. Let us avoid this and seek to enjoy the common true good of all goods rather than our own private good in order that they who live may no longer live for them­selves, as the apostle says, but for him who died for them and rose (2 Cor 5:15).”[34]

Thus, par­ticipation in the Eucharist – a hunger and thirst for justice – is antithe­tical to self-seeking. The citation from the second letter to the Corinthians that was cited in the Confessions, as well as in his letter to Valerius, is again cited in this letter; its connection to Augustine’s life story and to his experience helps to explain how it came to be an integral part of his understanding of Eucharist. But that only makes sense to the degree that his view of Christ, the humility of God,[35] and of the community, the Body of Christ,[36] coalesce. “What you receive is what you yourselves are, thanks to the grace by which you have been redeemed. . . Lift up your heart; if it is not lifted to the Lord, it is not an act of justice, but of pride.”[37]

Jesus Christ took on the form of a servant to redeem us, and his self-sacrifice was the price of our redemption. Hence, when Augustine thinks about the ransom-price of his redemption – when he eats it, drinks it and gives it to those who are thus filled – he enters into the heart of that mystery. Those who wish to eat and drink in a way that is worthy of the sacrament they celebrate must do what Christ did, setting aside self-seeking. “For he became mediator for the purpose of reconciling us through the humility of God, from whom we had through pride withdrawn a great distance. Let no one, then, live for himself but for Christ, not doing his own will, but Chrit’s will, and remaining in his love.”[38] Eucharist is part of the ongoing hunger and thirst for justice: “we shall be satisfied by what we are hungry and thirst for. Let our inner self be hungry and thirsty.”[39]  

Daily Eucharist in Hippo – growth

In his Confessions, he also wrote about what he learned while yet a catechumen:

I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature; grow then, and you will eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food: you will be changed into me.”[40]

Augustine’s need to eat, drink and share the Eucharist within the Christian com­munity was, therefore, the touchstone of his experience and of his understanding of Eucharist. In that way, he could grow and be changed into Christ. In Hippo, Eucharist was not only celebrated every day, [41] but it was truly the daily bread of the faithful,[42] and a daily remedy for sin.[43] Thus, “by this food and drink [Christ] wishes us to understand the fellowship of his body and his members, which is the holy Church.”[44] As sacrament of the unity, the Eucharist unites the members of the church, both in heaven and on earth.[45] Not just a sign of salvation, Eucharist unites the faithful with those who have preceded us in faith and thus becomes a source of growth as well. Augustine writes:

“So that human beings might eat the bread of angels, God became a human being. . . that food both fills its recipients and remains whole and entire. Christ instructed us to hunger for that food when he said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, since they shall be satisfied. So it is the business of human beings living this mortal life to hunger and thirst for justice. . . in being hungry for it [human beings] stretch themselves; in stretching themselves they are enlarged; in being enlarged they increase their capacity; through increasing their capacity, they will be filled in due course.”[46]

Yet, more than just the food for the journey, the celebration of the Eucharist already makes us part of the City of God, the fullness of unity and of peace in the fellowship of the saints:

“The point is that what people desire with food and drink, that is to stop being hungry or thirsty, is really and truly only provided by this food and drink, which makes those who take it immortal and imperishable; only provided, that is, by this fellowship of the saints, in which there will be peace and full and perfect unity.[47] 


To speak about the Eucharist in Augustine, therefore, is not to limit oneself to an appreciation of the sacramental or sacrificial character of the Eucharistic prayer or of its completion in communion. It means the celebration of Word, of sacrament and of life,[48] a combination of elements whereby the christian community not only comes to appreciate its need for redemption, but, by celebrating it together, grow toward the fullness of communion with God’s people:

The Church is a mother and her breasts are the two testaments of the divine Scriptures. From there, in time, is the milk of all the sacramental deeds sucked for our eternal salvation, so that, nourished and strength­ened, one might come to eat the food of which it is said: “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Our milk is the humble Christ; our food is the same Christ, equal to the Father. You are nourished with milk so that you may be fed with bread. Thus to touch Christ with the heart spiritually means knowing that he is equal to the Father. [49]

Thus, a familiar passage from a sermon on Pentecost ties these various elements together in the one Body of Christ :

So if you are the body of Christ and its members, that mystery – which means you – has been placed on the Lord's table; what you receive is the mystery that you are. You reply 'amen' to what you are, and by so replying you express your assent. So, what you hear is ‘The body of Christ’; and you answer, ‘Amen’. So be a member of the body of Christ, in order to make that Amen true.[50]

The experience of the community that celebrated Eucharist held Augustine’s attention; given his experience of a divided church, no other emphasis could be ade­quate. Union in Christ, therefore, was no abstract formula, but an everyday invitation to seek satis­faction in the bond of unity with those who ate and drank together, those who were happy to continue to seek, to praise the Lord. For no value is found in worship “unless one is bound to the church through the bond of Christian association.”[51] And “the one who wants to live, has somewhere to live and something to live on. Let him come, believe, be part of the body that he may be given life. Don't shudder at the members who make her up, don't be a decaying member needing to be amputated or a crooked member who makes her ashamed; be beautiful, apt, healthy, stay in the body, live for God from God; work now on earth to reign in heaven.”[52]

[1] On the study of Eucharist in Augustine, see the brief, accurate summary of some previous studies by M.-F. Berrouard, “L'étre sacramental de l'Eucharistie selon saint Augustin,” Nouvelle revue théologique 99 (1977) 702-721. Other significant contributions include: Vittorino Grossi, “L'eucaristia in sant'Agostino,” L'eucar­istia nei Padri della Chiesa [Di­zionario di Spiritualità Biblico-Patristica, v. 20], Borla, Roma 1998, 261-270; Bertrand de Margerie, “Eucharistie et communauté dans le contexte de la Règle de saint Augustin,” Augustiniana 41 (1991) 507-530; Ottorino Pasquato, “Eucaristia e Chiesa in Agostino,” Ephemerides Liturgicae 102 (1988) 46-63; Marie-François Berrouard, “Du corps Eucharistique à l'Eglise sainte,” Biblioghèque Augustinienne 72 (1977) 817-819; Athanase Sage, “L'Eucharistie dans la pensée de saint Augustin,”  Revue des Études Augustiniennes 15 (1969) 209-240; Luis Arias, “La Eucaristía signo de la unidad de la Iglesia. Doctrina de San Agustín,” Estudio agustiniano 3 (1968) 319-340. Joanne McWilliam, “Weaving the Strands Together. A Decade in Augustine's Eucharistic Theology,” Augustiniana 41 (1991) 497-506); J. Patout Burns, “The Eucharist as the Foundation of Christian Unity in North African Theology,” [The Saint Augustine Lecture of 2000 at Villanova University] Augustinian Studies 32/1 (2001) 1-24.

[2]  Eucharist is still a local matter. Cf. A. de Vogüé, “Les premiers moines et l’Eucharistie,” Connaissance des Pères de l'Église 77 (2000) 43-54. Augustine’s experience thus reflects that Hippo, just as Ambrose’s experience needs to be set in Milan. Ambrose <>,emphasizes Christ’s presence, but Augustine emphasizes the celebrating community – a difference that may be more social than theological. Cf. J. Garcia, “L'Eucharistie, sacrement de la Communauté,” Connaissance des Pères de l'Église 77 (2000) 25-35.

[3] See, for example, ser. 57, 10 which might first seem to be limited to preaching but which also refers to Eucharist: “Our daily food on this earth is the word of God, which is always being served in the Churches; our wages when the work is finished is called eternal life. Again, by this daily bread of ours you can understand what the faithful receive, what you are going to receive when you have been baptized; for this too we do well to ask, and say, Give us this day our daily bread, that we may live in such a way as not to be excluded from the altar”; ser. 95, 1.

[4] Ser. 45, 1 and 4.

[5]Conf. 7.18.24: Et quaerebam viam conparandi roboris, quod esset idoneum ad fruendum te, nec inveniebam, donec amplecterer mediatorem dei et hominum, hominem Christum Iesum, qui est super omnia deus benedictus in saecula, vocantem et dicentem: ego sum via veritatis et vita, et cibum, cui capiendo invalidus eram, miscentem carni: quoniam verbum caro factum est, ut infantiae nostrae lactesceret sapientia tua, per quam creasti omnia.

[6]Ep. Io. tr.  3, 1: quisquis nouit natum se esse, audiat quia puer est et infans; auide inhiet uberibus matris, et cito crescit. est autem mater ecclesia; et ubera eius duo testamenta scripturarum diuinarum. hinc sugatur lac omnium sacramentorum temporaliter pro aeterna salute nostra gestorum, ut nutritus atque roboratus perueniat ad manducandum cibum, quod est, «in principio erat uerbum, et uerbum erat apud deum», et deus erat uerbum. lac nostrum Christus humilis est; cibus noster, idem ipse Christus aequalis patri. lacte te nutrit, ut pane pascat: nam corde contingere Iesum spiritualiter, hoc est cognoscere quia aequalis est patri.

[7] Ser. 57, 7.

[8] Vgl. O. Perler, “Arkandisziplin,” Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum 1 (1950) 667-676; D. Powell, “Arkandisziplin,” Theologische Realenzyklopädie 4 (1979) 1-8; V. Recchia, “Arcano (disciplina dell'),” Dizionario Patristico e di Antichità Cristiane 1 (1983) 315-317. See ser. 232, 7: “The faithful know where to recognize him; the catechumens don’t know; but nobody is shutting the door in their faces, to stop them knowing.”

[9] For example, the theologically-rich sermons which Augustine preached to the newly-baptized christians on Easter or at Pentecost (Sermons 227 and 272) do provide more than a few details about the structure of the liturgy; the writings of Ambrose are sufficiently rich in detail to allow even fuller knowledge; see R. Johanny, L'Eucharistie: Centre de l'Histoire du Salut, Paris: Beauchesne, 1968. But the mystery of Eucharist was yet something more.

[10] “The faithful understand” (fideles norunt) is an oft-used phrase in Augustine's preaching, always referring to Eucharist: Tr. ev. Jo. 6, 15; 11, 3; 22, 5 ; 26, 13, 45, 9 ; 96, 3 ; ciu. Dei 19, 23; In Jo. ep. 3, 5; En. Ps. 21, 2, 27-28; 21, 2, 28; 33, 1, 5; 33, 2, 2; 39, 12; 103, 1, 14 ; 109, 17 ; Sermones 4, 28. 31; 5, 7; 56, 6. 10; 57, 7; 58, 5; 68, 6; 90, 1; 131, 1, 1 ; 132A, 1; 232, 7, 7 ; 234, 2; 235, 3; 297, 3; 308A, 6; s. Dolbeau 18, 1; 23,19; 26,12.

[11]Tr. ev. Jo. 44, 2: “here am I, speaking to both the faithful and to catechumens. What have I said about the spittle and the mud? That the Word was made flesh. The catechumens hear this too; but being anointed into this truth is not enough for them; let them hasten to the bath, if they are seeking the light.” Cf. Tr. ev. Jo. 11, 3.

[12] See R. Dodaro, “Cristo, eucaristia e fame dell'essere umano nella teologia di Agostino d'Ippona,” Concilium 2 (2005) 76 [247] – 84 [254] for a discussion of the Christological dimensions of hunger for the Eucharist.

[13] See especially G. Bonner, “The Church and the Eucharist in the Theology of St. Augustine,” Sobornost, ser. 7, 6 (1978): 448-461, reprinted in God's Decree of Man's Destiny (London: Variorum Reprint, 1987); G. Bonner, “Augustine's Understanding of the Church as a Eucharistic Community,” in Saint Augustine the Bishop, ed. F. LeMoine and C. Kleinhenz (New York: Garland, 1994), pp. 39-63.

[14] His examination of conscience extends from Conf. X.30.41 to X.41.66, framed by a discussion of I John 2:16: three-fold concupiscence.

[15]Confessions X, 43, 70: Conterritus peccatis meis et mole miseriae meae, agitaveram corde meditatusque fueram fugam in solitudinem, sed prohibuisti me et confortasti me.

[16]On Order II, 8, 25.

[17]Confessions X, 43, 70: ille tuus unicus in quo thesauri sapientiae et scientiae absconditi, redemit me sanguine suo. non calumnientur mihi superbi, quoniam cogito pretium meum, et manduco et bibo, et erogo et pauper cupio saturari ex eo inter illos, qui edunt et saturantur: et laudabunt dominum qui requirunt eum. See too, Confessions IX, 13, 36: pretii nostri sacramentum and En.Ps. 115, 3: conterritus enim respexit infirmitatem suam, et uidit non de se sibi esse praesumendum. Augustine also cited Psalm 21:27 in the initial prayer the Confessions 1, 1, 1.

[18] The pretium, i.e., Christ’s blood which redeemed us, is often mentioned in Augustine’s writings. See ser. 228B, 2: “drink the price that was paid for you. Just as it is changed into you when you  eat and drink it, so you turn into the body of Christ when you live devout and obedient lives;” ser. 130, 2: “You distribute our price to us, we drink your blood; so you indeed distribute our price to us [pretium nostrum erogas nobis, sanguinem tuum bibimus; erogas ergo nobis pretium nostrum].”

[19] Letter 21, 3: quod uerum est, nondum sciebam, quid mihi deesset ad tale opus, quale me nunc torquet et conterit. quod si propterea in re ipsa didici, quid sit homini necessarium, qui populo ministrat sacramentum et uerbum dei . .

[20]Ep. 21, 4: auderem enim dicere scire me et plena fide retinere, quid pertineat ad salutem nostram. sed hoc ip­um quo modo ministrem ad salutem aliorum non quaerens, quod mihi utile est, sed quod multis, ut salui fiant? See too, the end of the letter where he again highlights the value to the church of his sabbatical (Ep. 21, 6): “that my absence may not be without fruit for the Church of Christ and beneficial for my brothers and fellow servants (nec infructuosa ecclesiae Christi atque utilitati fratrum et conseruorum meorum absentia mea.).”

[21] See Daniel Jones, Christus Sacerdos in the Preaching of St. Augustine (Patrologia: Beiträge zum Studium der Kirchenväter 14), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2004, p. 239-282 for these connections.

[22] Cf., for example, City of God 10, Ep. 26*, Conf. 7.

[23] Athanase Sage, “L'Eucharistie dans la pensée de saint Augustin,”  Revue des Études Augustiniennes 15 (1969) 209-240, esp. p. 214-215.

[24] L. Verheijen, “La charité ne cherche pas ses propres intérêts,” Nouvelle approche de la Règle de saint Augustin 2, Bégrolles-en-Mauges, Abbaye Bellefontaine, 1988, 220-289. Care for the common good is a sign of the truth of one’s love: Rule V, 2: Caritas enim, de qua scriptum est quod « non quaerat quae sua sunt », sic intelligitur, quia communia propriis, non propria communibus anteponit.

[25]En. Ps. 131, 24. Note that the psalm numbering follows that of Augustine, not that of modern adaptations to the numbering in the Hebrew Bible.

[26]De Trinitate 4, 1, 4.

[27] Augustine’s reflection on the distinction between the proud and those who are truly satisfied is often associated with his commentary on Psalm 21, 27 (edent pauperes, et saturabuntur) and 30 (manducauerunt et adorauerunt omnes diuites terrae) where some eat and are satisfied and others just eat. See adn. Iob 38; ep. 140, 60.61.65-67; en. Ps. 21, 1, 27; 21, 2, 27; 48, 1, 3; s. 332, 2; en. Ps. 131,

[28] G. Bonner, “Christus Sacerdos: The Roots of the Anti-Donatist Polemic,” Signum Pietatis. Festgave für Cornelius P. Mayer OSA zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. A. Zumkeller, Würzburg: Augustinus Verlag, 1989, 325-339, p. 330-331.

[29] M.-A. La Bonnardière, “Les commentaires simultanés de Matt 6, 12 et de 1 Jo 1, 8 dans l’aeuvre de saint Augustin,” Revue des Études Augustiniennes 1 (1955) 129-147.

[30]Ep. 140, 24, 61; cf. G. Bonner, “The Significance of Augustine’s de Gratia novi Testamenti,” Augustiniana 41 (1991) 531-559.

[31]Ser. 232, 8: diuitiae meae non nisi spes uestra est in Christo. gaudium meum, solatium meum, et respiramentum periculorum meorum in his tentationibus nullum est, nisi bona uita uestra.

[32]Ser. 235, 3 ubi uoluit dominus agnosci? in fractione panis. . . et tu ergo, si uis habere uitam, fac quod fecerunt, ut agnoscas dominum. hospitio susceperunt. similis enim erat dominus tanquam in longinqua pergenti, illi uero tenuerunt eum. et posteaquam uenerunt ad locum quo tendebant, dixerunt:  “iam hic nobiscum mane, declinauit enim in uesperum dies.” tene hospitem, si uis agnoscere saluatorem. quod tulerat infidelitas, reddidit hospitalitas. dominus ergo praesentauit se ipsum in fractione panis. discite ubi dominum quaeratis, discite ubi habeatis, discite ubi agnoscatis, quando manducatis.

[33]Tr. ev. Jo. 26, 1: inde erant isti qui panem de caelo descendentem non intellegebant, quia sua iustitia saturati, iustitiam dei non esuriebant.

[34]Ep. 140, 27, 66…68 : et ipsi ueniunt ad mensam, manducant et adorant, non tamen saturantur, quia non esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam; tales enim saturabuntur. . . non tamen inconuenienter saturatus dicitur paupertate Christi, qui pro iustitia eius, hoc est pro participatione uerbi aeterni, quam inchoauit interim fide, omnia temporalia non solum temperanter contemnit bona, uerum etiam patienter sustinet mala. 67. tales fuerunt piscatores et publicani, quia abiecta huius mundi elegit, ut confunderet fortia [1 Cor 1,27]. de his dictum est: edent pauperes et saturabuntur [Ps 21,27]. sed quia istam saturitatem non apud se ipsos tenuerunt . . eorum praedicatione commotus est mundus, ut commemorentur et conuertantur ad dominum uniuersi fines terrae. .  68. et anima, inquit, mea ipsi uiuit [Ps 21,31]; ipsi utique, non sibi sicut superborum priuato suo bono laetantium et a communi omnium bono, quod deus est, inani elatione resilientium. hoc utique deuitemus et communi potius uero omnium bonorum perfrui quam priuato nostro gaudere quaeramus, ut, qui uiuit, iam non sibi uiuat, sicut ait apostolus, sed ei, qui pro ipsis mortuus est et resurrexit [2 Cor 5,15]. Cf. B. de Margerie, “Eucharistie et Communatué dans le Contexte de la Règle de Saint Augustin,” Augustiniana 41 (1991) 507-530; the relation to Augustin’es Rule is extremely tenuous, but the communal dimensions of Eucharist are accurate enough.

[35]De Trinitate 4, 1, 4.

[36]Tr. ev. Jo. 26, 13 and 15.

[37] Ser. 229A, 1. 3: quod accipitis, uos estis, gratia qua redempti estis; subscribitis, quando amen respondetis. . . sursum cor, si non sit ad dominum, non est iustitia, sed superbia.

[38]Ep. 140, 28, 68 : per hoc enim mediator effectus est, ut nos reconciliet deo per humilitatem, a quo per impiam superbiam longe recesseramus. . . non ergo sibi uiuat quisque sed Christo faciens non suam sed ipsius uoluntatem et manens in eius caritate. .

[39] Ser. 53, 4: sitiamusque iustitiam, ut ipsa iustitia saturemur, quam nunc esurimus et sitimus. inde enim saturabimur, quod esurimus et sitimus. interior ergo noster esuriat et sitiat. Cf. Tr. ev. Jo. 32, 4 on what it means to drink interiorly.

[40]Conf. VII, 10 16. Tr. ev. Jo. 40, 10 : "What am I to say to your graces? Oh, if only our hearts were sighing the tiniest little bit for that indescribable glory! Oh if only we were groaning for weariness under the burden of our wanderings, and weren't so in love with the world, and were constantly knocking with the devotion of our thoughts at the door of the one who has called us! Desire is the depth of the heart; we will receive the object of it, if we stretch our desire as much as we can. This is what the divine scriptures, the gathering of peoples, the celebration of the sacraments, holy baptism, singing God's praises, all do for us; that is what this reflection on the gospel does for us, such that this desire is not only sown in us and bears fruit in us, but it also increases to become so capacious as to be ready to receive what eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it come up into the heart of man (1 Cor 2:9). If such you are, lift up your hearts, those of you who can, and listen to me; if such you are, you will attain to his promises. Tr. ev. Jo.  34, 7: Is it God you desire? . . . Let your soul stretch wide its yearning, and seek to enfold in an ever more capacious bosom what eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it come up into the heart of man (1 Cor 2:9). That can be desired; it can be sought after; it can be what we sigh for; but we can't think fittingly about it or find words that do it justice; cf. sermons, 21,2; 52,6; 117,5; 308A,5.

[41] Augustine says that Monica participated daily in the Eucharist (Conf. IX, 13, 36). See also Ep. 54, 2, 2 and Tr. ev. Jo. 26, 15. Cf. M.-F. Berrouard, “La fréquence de la célébration Eucharistique aux premiers siècles.” Bibliothèque Augustinienne 72 (1988) 819-822.

[42] See, for example, ser. 56, 6, 10; 57, 7, 7; 132, 1, 1;  227; 334, 2.

[43] See, for example, ser. 17, 5, 5; 53, 4; 56, 9, 13; 136, 6, 7.

[44]Tr. ev. Jo. 26,15: cibum et potum societatem vult intellegi corporis et membrorum suorum, quod est sancta Ecclesia.

[45] J. Patout Burns, “The Eucharist as the Foundation of Christian Unity in North African Theology,” [The Saint Augustine Lecture of 2000 at Villanova University] Augustinian Studies 32/1 (2001) 1-24.

[46]De utilitate ieiunandi 1: ibi panis angelorum, quem panem angelorum ut manducaret homo, deus factus est homo. . ille [cibus] autem et implet, et integer permanet. hunc cibum nobis esuriendum Christus indixit, dicens: “beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam, quoniam ipsi saturabuntur.” pertinet ergo ad homines hanc uitam mortalem gerentes esurire ac sitire iustitiam . . . homines . . dum esuriunt, extendunt sed dum se extendunt, dilatantur; dum dilatantur, capaces fiunt; capaces facti, suo tempore replebuntur.

[47]Tr. ev. Jo. 26, 17; cf. civ. Dei 19, 23; 10, 6 and 20; contra Faustum 12, 20; 20, 21; En. Ps. 146, 8.

[48]Tr. ev. Jo. 50, 12.

[49]Ep. Jo. tr.  3, 1: est autem mater ecclesia; et ubera eius duo testamenta scripturarum diuinarum. hinc sugatur lac omnium sacramentorum temporaliter pro aeterna salute nostra gestorum, ut nutritus atque roboratus perueniat ad manducandum cibum, quod est, “in principio erat uerbum, et uerbum erat apud deum”, et deus erat uerbum. lac nos­trum Christus humilis est; cibus noster, idem ipse Christus aequalis patri. lacte te nutrit, ut pane pascat: nam corde contingere Iesum spiritualiter, hoc est cognoscere quia aequalis est patri; Serm. 57, 7: “The faithful know about a spiri­tual sustenance, which you too are going to know, and to receive from the altar of God. That too will be a daily bread, necessary for this life. I mean, are we going to go on receiving the Eucharist when we have come to Christ himself, and when we have begun to reign with him for ever? So the Eucharist is our daily bread; but we should receive it in such a way that our minds and not just our bellies find refreshment. You see, the special proper­ty to be understood in it is unity, so that by being digested into his body and turned into his members we may be what we receive. Then it will really be our daily bread. And the Word that I give you is also daily bread; what you hear read in the Church every day is daily bread; and when you sing hymns, that is daily bread. All are needed for our pilgrimage.” See note 7 above.

[50]Serm. 272.

[51] De bapt. 1, 8, 10: nisi per uinculum christianae societatis et pacis incorporaretur ecclesiae. Cf. Ser. 149, 6: Restabat ut tamquam cibus mundus incorporaretur Ecclesiae, hoc est corpori Domini; tr. ev. Jo. 13, 4: Ab eo quod manducavit homo ad illud quod quotidie manducant angeli

[52] Tr. ev. Jo. 26,13: qui uult uiuere, habet ubi uiuat, habet unde uiuat. accedat, credat, incorporetur, ut uiuificetur. non abhorreat a compage membrorum, non sit putre membrum quod resecari mereatur, non sit distortum de quo erubescatur; sit pulcrum, sit aptum, sit sanum, haereat corpori, uiuat deo de deo; nunc laboret in terra, ut postea regnet in caelo. Cf. A. Sage, art. cit., p. 230 and tr. ev. Jo. 32, 2-8.