People might find it hard to admire something they do not understand such as faith. However, in Agustin’s case, no one can ignore the fact that he is to be admired in his continued search for the Truth and his fight to be honest and faithful to this truth he finally discovered, even when it meant he had to struggle to live according to it. Whether someone has faith in God or not, Agustin’s journey of conversion and faith against all odds is to be admired, and clearly supports Portier’s comment.
Agustin’s change of life and strong faith were inspired by religion, by the Catholic Church. So if he is to be admired as he indeed is, despite other charlatans or hypocrites that surely are, still Agustin is an example of how religions still can inspire people to live a faithful and holy life. This is again a very strong point in favor of Portier’s position.
Augustin’s faith was also fired up when he heard about the story of conversions of Simplicianus and Victorious (p. 186). These are trustworthy lives had a strong effect in Agustin’s faith. Sometimes as Williams’ states, faith increases and even is lightened up by the simple fact that there are holy lives to be admired and seen. While these two holy men support Williams’ statement, there are still some arguments against it.
It can be said that Augustin’s origin of faith was through reasoning, through books and philosophies (p. 169) rather than through the encounter with holy men. However, it is clear that his faith was still not alive, he believed in God but he could not live for Him yet, his sins were dragging him down. It is not until he goes to the Scripture, and he finds St Paul’s life and Jesus Christ’s (p.182), including the two lives of Simplicianus and Victorious, that his faith starts become alive, and he can finally change his ways (p. 186). So it can be said that Agustin’s conversion supports Williams’s statement.
Goizueta says that Christians can remain faithful to their beliefs in the contemporary world through the lived faith of the participants of God’s Works. This is an important statement, as it can be understood as by remaining faithful to the Church through the communion of saints and reception of the Sacraments from where we receive the grace necessary. However, we can see it as well in that there are faithful men and women with faith that are doing amazing works for God. By being close to them and participating in these works, the faith of Christians in the contemporary world can stay firm.
Agustin had the constant prayer of his mother (p.208) and in this way it was the communion of Saints. But also he reached out for people with faith. He reached out to Simplicianus (p. 186). Their works and faith help Agustin live his faith.
Ultimately through holy men and prayers of his mother, the communion of saints, through his search from the heart, and through reasoning Agustin finally arrived at God, but it was prayer and contact with the Scriptures (p.182), that gave faith and life to Agustin. It was the source of life, the Word of God that gave faith to Agustin.
Today, in the modern world there are still many struggles for a Christian to live according to his or her faith and participate in Christ’s work. But Agustin is a great example of this struggle. The source where he got the strength was the Scriptures. His heart remained faithful in searching for the truth. That is the key in today’s contemporary world. And ultimately while prayer and Scriptures are the source of encounter with God the giver of life, being surrounded by good, holy people also gives a great example to be able to continue living, sharing and working in Christ. It is a strong source of motivation and encouragement, just as Agustin’s visits to Suspicianus. Agustin did not read life of saints; however, he hears lives of conversions (p. 186).
Dorothy has a different struggle, but quite similar, as well. She was also looking for human and tender love, just as Agustin did. Agustin has given to his passions, to lust, while Dorothy was looking for real love, tender and care, of a husband and a family. Her struggle to become a catholic was because her husband was a communist and atheist and if she converted that meant her and her daughter would be alone. And she did not want that (p.33).
While Agustin searched for the truth through reason, Dorothy’s encounter was led by nature (p.23). She came closer to God through the beauty of creation and life. Nature made her happy, her life with her husband made her happy, and this joy inspired in her desire for prayer. She was pulled by God to prayer (p. 23).
She compared a seed that she planted and that she knew it would grow and become a flower with a miracle. She did not know how it seeds grow, but she has faith that when she plants a seed it will become a flower. In the same way, she compared God’s miracles, meaning having faith in God: she did not have to know how it works, she just has to believe. So through nature and prayer (p. 23) she encountered God and He gave her faith.
Her husband did not have faith, and she could not talk about it to him. She knew she wanted to be part of the Catholic Church, but that meant that both her daughter and she had to be separated of him, and she did not want to be alone. So this was her struggle (p.33).
One characteristic of Dorothy that she mentions several times is that she prayed for the gift of faith for her daughter, and she says she believes because she wants to belief (p.48).
Regarding Portier’s comment, Dorothy encountered a sister that she believed to be part of a community that used tainted money, and it could have been thought of a hypocrite. However it is clear how this sister had an important role in Dorothy’s conversion. This selfless and holy person inspired Dorothy and was an instrument in her increase of faith and in becoming part of the Catholic Church. Religions, an in particular the Catholic Church still inspired people to do actions that are to be admired.
Dorothy after becoming part of the Catholic Church was inspired by another man, Peter, (p.42) to do great works for what she believed to be good, defending the workers and the poor, as part of Christ’s works. She did amazing works to be admired, and these were inspired by faith and religion. So this very fact supports both Portier’s and Goizueta’s opinions. People can indeed stay in the contemporary world faithful to their values and beliefs by participating in Christ’s works and faith of others.
Peter encouraged her to read lives of saints and to pray hard. Peter’s faith and trustworthiness had a great impact in Dorothy’s faith and future works (p.42). This again supports greatly both William’s and Goizueta’s statements.
Furthermore, the sister’s love and faith anchored in prayer and her rosary (p.34.), Peter’s faith (about the capital that will be raised through prayer) were instruments in Dorothy’s faith to stay fired and faithful to her Christian vocation (p.42).
Day, Dorothy. By Little and By Little, The selected Writing of Dorothy Day. Ed. Alfred A. Knopf. New York: 1983. Print.
Saint Agustin. The Confessions. Trans. Ed. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A. Maria Boulding, O.S.B. New York: New City Press, Hyde Park. Print.