2002 Catholic Press Association Award Winner
The Christian life is both a challenge and a struggle. In As One Struggling Christian to Another Theodore E. Tack, OSA, speaks about many of the challenges of this life and the struggle needed to meet them from the view of one who knew such a struggle firsthand: Augustine of Hippo. Augustine had to struggle both to find Christ and to hold on to him. Though his world (354-430 c.e.) was different from ours, it is remarkable how his reflections on the Christian life and its struggles are still very relevant for our own times.
Tack shares Augustine's profound and very practical approach to Christian spirituality. Augustine once told his people gathered at Mass, For you I am a bishop, but with you I am a Christian " Augustine found much greater happiness in being a simple follower of Jesus than in having to accept the often overwhelming responsibility of being a bishop. This deep understanding of the joy of being a Christian drove Augustine the Bishop to want to help his people better appreciate and love their Christian commitment, just as he did. He well knew the struggle it had cost him to come to the faith. He found himself constantly in need of God's grace to be able to live up to his new life in Christ.
This book is not intended for scholars or experts but rather for those who may wish to learn more about Augustine's reflections on the Christian life, so they can continue to grow in their faith and love of God. The first chapter attempts to bring the reader to a better understanding of Augustine himself - the man, the monk, and the bishop - in the surroundings that influenced him so deeply. Other chapters then deal with our common call to know better both ourselves and God, to be leaders in the world, to search for God and be intimate with him through prayer, to accept God's mercy through conversion, and to be Church - God's holy people - in the fullest sense of the word. Two other chapters share how Augustine related to his people as their spiritual leader and with the pastoral problems he frequently ran into. These latter chapters give us insights into some of the difficulties priests and pastors can experience even today in their service of others.
The chapters included in this introduction to Augustine as a writer of the spiritual life are "Who Is This Man Augustine?" "Identity Crises: The Need to Know Ourselves and God," "What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?" "Struggling To Find God: Augustine's Odyssey and Ours, "Prayer: Knocking at God's Door with Persistence," "He Was Lost and Has Been Found: Celebrating God's Mercy," "Your Priest Is Only Human," "To Bear Another's Burdens, and Our Own " and "Building the City of God."
Theodore E. Tack, OSA, is a teacher at Cascia Hal, an Augustinian preparatory school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and chair of the theology department at Cascia Hal. He is also Prior of the Augustinian Community and has authored one other book about St. Augustine.