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Falling in Love With Christ View Comments
By Ronald D. Witherup

Falling in love is one of the most unsettling, mind-blowing, risky experiences in life. A young man once described to me his life-changing encounter with his future wife. He was simply bowled over. It was not only her good looks and a certain mysterious quality to her personality, but her entire demeanor attracted him. The way she talked, the way she walked, the way she smiled and laughed—all these and more convinced him she was “the woman of his dreams.”

Alas, he found out he had to work hard to get her to feel the same way about him! It took time and patience. But throughout the long courtship and engagement, his intuitions were confirmed. This was not infatuation. It was love. It was worth the risk, and it changed his whole life.

Perhaps this experience won’t speak to everyone, but most people do fall in love at one time or another. By way of analogy, I suggest that falling in love is a good way to describe the apostle Paul’s experience of faith.

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Ronald D. Witherup, SS, is superior general of the Sulpician Fathers and lives in Paris, France. He has authored many books and articles on Scripture, includingA Retreat with Paul the Apostle (St. Anthony Messenger Press) and, earlier this year, Gold Tested in Fire: A New Pentecost for the Catholic Priesthood (Paulist Press).

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Augustine of Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog A hero isn’t someone born with unconquerable strength and selflessness. Heroes are not formed in a cataclysmic instant. Heroism is developed over time, one decision after another, moment by moment, formed by a deliberate, chosen, and habitual response to life.

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