Our Brothers in Christ

This is a timely segment of Augustine in his commentary on the Psalms. I give no context because it could apply to many situations. It does however tie into my previous post on the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

My brothers and sisters, I beg you above all else to show charity not only towards one another, but also to those who are outside our communion...

They claim no longer to be in fellowship with us and want to rebaptise us, saying that we do not possess what only they can truly confer. They ridicule our baptism and reject us as their brothers and sisters. But why did the prophet in Scripture tell us "Say to them: You are our brothers," if not because we recognise in them what we ourselves refuse to repeat. They, by not recognising our baptism, deny that we are Christians; but we, by not repeating theirs, and acknowledging it as valid as our own, are saying to them: "You are our sisters and brothers."...

I therefore beg you, my brothers and sisters, through the very depth of that love by whose milk we are all nourished and by whose bread we are fortified; I beg you through our Lord Jesus Christ and his gentleness: it is time that we show them great charity and overflowing mercy in praying to God for them that God may finally bring them to their senses, so that they turn and see that they have nothing at all to say against the truth. Nothing is left to them except the weakness of animosity which is all the weaker the more strength it claims for itself. I appeal to you, then, on behalf of the weak, on behalf of those who reason according to this world, on behalf of those who are crude and carnal, on behalf of those who are nevertheless our brothers and sisters. They celebrate the same sacraments even though they refuse to celebrate them with us. They respond with the same "Amen" which, even though they do not say it together with us, yet it is the same. So pour out the depth of your love to God on their behalf.

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