Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the church are our brothers (and we need to be cognizant of that fact)


From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the church are our brothers
We entreat you, brothers, as earnestly as we are able, to have charity, not only for one another, but also for those who are outside the Church. Of these some are still pagans, who have not yet made an act of faith in Christ. Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say our Father.
  The prophet refers to some men saying: When they say to you: You are not our brothers, you are to tell them: You are our brothers. Consider whom he intended by these words. Were they the pagans? Hardly; for nowhere either in Scripture or in our traditional manner of speaking do we find them called our brothers. Nor could it refer to the Jews, who do not believe in Christ. Read Saint Paul and you will see that when he speaks of “brothers,” without any qualification, he refers always to Christians. For example, he says: Why do you judge your brother or why do you despise your brother? And again: You perform iniquity and common fraud, and this against your brothers.
  Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptize us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognising our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.
  If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.
  And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realise that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God.
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2 thoughts on “Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the church are our brothers (and we need to be cognizant of that fact)

  1. Dear David,

    I joined the Catholic church on Holy Saturday, 2011. Prior to my joining the Catholic church, I secretly felt something was wrong or false. I didn’t know what was wrong but something was very wrong, indeed.

    When I listened to Fr. Wade, Fr. Mitch Pawcha, Fr. Mark Mary,Fr. Leonard Mary, Fr. Miquel Mary, and then think back to the sermons that I heard throughout my lifetime as well as when I turn to other channels, I noticed a huge difference between the sermons and the Catholic homilies: the sermons are primarily focus on what Christ can do for you or will do for you ( we are not the important ones. The important beings are: the Holy Trinity ( first and above all else), the Mother of God (and I thank her for forgiving me of my blasphemies), St. Joseph, St. Michael, the nine choirs of angles, and as a matter of fact, the whole heavenly court).

    The whole Mass is focus on the actual worship of the Holy Trinity! The homilies are messages of how to further adore the Holy Trinity and things we can do to please the Trinity or become a far better, holy persons: these are the important facets mankind must encounter.

    I tried over and over again to convince my sister, friends, and coworkers; I failed terribly. I was upset about this for a very long time. I now realized that when I heard the Apostle’s Creed for the first time and I fell to my knees and begged Christ (for hours and hours) to come into my life and lead me to the real church, I was given the marvelous grace of locating his church and become a member of it! My husband, Louis Ernest,Jr. lead to the Catholic church. I am forgiven of all of my sins.

    I never want to offend The Holy Trinity ever again. I pray for those who are indifferent and hope that they may be granted the same graces that I was given.

    It is my belief, as well as my husband’s: THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH-THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND WE PRAY THAT ALL WHO ARE NOT PART OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WILL RECONCILE WITH HER AND DO ALL THINGS TO GLORIFY THE HOLY TRINITY.

    PRAY FOR THE ERNEST FAMILY AND THAT I WILL BE GIVEN STRENGTH TO ENDURE SUFFERING AND TO PLEASE MY GOD.

    Janis and Louis Ernest,Jr.

  2. Janis, I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    There is only one Church. Protestants are part of it, Hindus are part of it, atheists are part of it. The entire human race from Adam and Eve to Barrack Obama and every human in the future is part of it. Period.

    So, if that’s the case, it’s a matter of everyone being made aware of that Church, and their choice to be a member. Or not.

    The more in line you are with Christ’s Church-the Catholic Church- the more perfectly we are in communion with Him. Protestants may be in communion with Him to some degree, Catholics may be out of communion with Him to some degree.

    We’re to pray for everyone, regardless of their professed faith.

What say you???

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