The Sacrament of the Possible, Or, Why I Became a Catholic

The Sacrament of the Possible, Or, Why I Became a Catholic

Like Augustine’s Confessions, what is offered here is in a mode of theological memory. [1] It is a recollection, a re-collection, a gathering up and dusting off and laying out vignettes of personal memories side-by-side in a retrospective effort to discern a providential pattern of moments that cumulatively prompted my turn to the Roman Catholic faith at the Easter Vigil of 2005. With St. Augustine too I must ask what is to me the most urgent question: “Lord my God, judge of my conscience, is my memory correct?” (Confessions V.11). This question is pressing because as a genre both retrospective and constructive, any autobiographical writing is prone to misremembering, exaggerating, thematizing, fictionalizing, sentimentalizing, disposed either to selective forgetfulness or romance or both. In the 1874 preface to The Autobiographical Memoir, Newman opines that the genre of

Memoir, or at least a Life, is more or less the product of the imagination, a conclusion from facts, more or less theoretical and unauthoritative. Besides, for the most part, Lives are padded, or spun out, that they may give an adventitious interest, form a continuous narrative, and complete a volume (Autobiographical Writings, 23).

Newman took scrupulous care, however, to preserve testaments to his life in such media as grammar school notebooks, scraps of papers salvaged from his boyhood, and the composition and organization of his letters. Letters, he thought, are less susceptible to retrospective fictionalizing: they are confirmed artifacts which don’t lie, or which lie less, perhaps, than the stories we tell about ourselves. Letters, conversely, “are facts” (AW 23). And Newman was an archivist of his own facts, “a confirmed hoarder” of “every kind of article that had a personal bearing . . . he treasured these possessions, just because they formed, as it were, an extension of his personality” (AW 143).

One especially charming piece of such ephemera Newman kept is what has since been called his “Autobiography in Miniature,” written by Newman in a mix of pencil and ink on the back cover of one of his old school exercise notebooks over the long course of seventy-two years (1812–1884), spanning from age eleven to age eighty-three. Almost an autobiographical prose poem, the document briefly logs significant moments in his life—from a bout of homesickness before his Greek lesson as a young schoolboy to his monumental conversion to Catholicism to his being made an Oratorian priest and a cardinal—with the repetition of the simple phrase: “and now.”

The preservation of this scrap of ephemera, which survived his many bouts of purging his private journals, powerfully elucidates in one material object themes of the quiet drama of Newman’s conversion to holiness and ultimately to the Roman Catholic Church. “And now,” he writes, “in my rooms at Oriel College, a Tutor, a Parish Priest and Fellow, having suffered much, slowly advancing to what is good and holy, and led on by God’s hand blindly, not knowing whither He is taking me” (AW 5). In this one artifact there is both a sense of the passage of time as well as a sense of a continuous present.

Each new entry is extended across time and bridges many years, open to whatever future God would have in store for him as he ages from schoolboy to young adult to midlife to old age, but it is also punctuated by the immediacy of the present with the continuous repetition of the phrase “and now.” It, along with Newman’s journals and letters, represents an artifact not only of momentous events in his personal and spiritual life but even more it is an artifact that witnesses to the loving providence of God. As in the mode of Augustine’s Confessions, where the most fundamental confession of the text is not of sin but rather confession in praise of God, Newman suggests that his personal papers provide “the record of God’s great mercies to me, of the wonderful things He has done for my soul” (AW 149).

I have certainly not been as scrupulous with my record keeping as St John Henry Newman was, but I did uncover a thick leather journal from this particularly formative period of life—over a thousand bound pages—begun on May 24, 2000 when I was twenty, Protestant, single, and living in the southern United States, and ended eight years later in June of 2008, when I was Catholic, married, a mother, and working on a PhD in Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Less impressive than Newman’s seventy-two-year record, I know, but at least it was something. Facts and not conclusions from facts!

And the indisputable facts were there: some testament to my interior life at the time but far more importantly, a testament to the slow work of God’s providence. There is something about the deliberate act of retrospection that can illuminate the patterns of a life, where it comes to be seen that what might have looked at the time only like contingent events of personal history were in fact gifts of grace meted out by a watchful hand. I was surprised at how many details I had forgotten along the way. Without their preservation in writing the providence of God would have been perhaps to me only a theological theorem and not itself an insistent fact. And so comes the title, “The Sacrament of the Possible,” which is in part a little nod to Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s spiritual classic The Sacrament of the Present Moment written in the mid-1700s, a book which is customarily sub-titled Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence.

One unanticipated revelation that met me in these pages was that before I revisited them I would have said as a reliable shorthand that my joining the Catholic Church was a species of the classic intellectual conversion. And in a way I did read my way into Catholicism, with books theological, poetic, literary, historical, and hagiographical. I read all the usual suspects: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Gerard Manley Hopkins; I read theology with no awareness of or interest in intra-theological Catholic squabbles: I read Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson, William Lynch, Edward Schillebeeckx, Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar. I recall that Robert Louis Wilken’s little book The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God was especially formative for making the concerns and figures of early Christianity come alive for me when even the concept of tradition itself was an unfamiliar one.

In retrospect, however, and with the sure testament of my own private record, it turned out that I was not in fact fundamentally convinced by scholarly argument, persuasive apologetics, or anyone’s dazzling theological acumen, least of all my own. Without denying the inherent attraction of the Catholic intellectual heritage, it was all much more affective, aesthetic, intuitive, and embodied than I remembered: it was, to reference Paul Claudel’s guardian angel from The Satin Slipper, the experience of the “fish hook of beauty,” that interior sensation in the “depth” of the self, that space “between the heart and the liver, that dull thud, that sharp pull-up, that urgent touch.” It was a love story.

There are entries as early as 2001, four years before my eventual conversion in 2005, which witnessed to a strange, visceral, inexplicable pull of and to the beauty of the liturgy (April 15, 2001 marks, without much context, a longing for “a Catholic Mass”). And once I began attending Mass regularly as a catechumen four years later, I wrote that it is the “liturgy which draws me in, welcomes me, echoes in my head at all hours: ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’; it’s so old, ancient, beautiful, tender, and magnificently unsentimental.”

Rereading entries during the years leading up to my entering into full communion with the Catholic Church was like following a long and golden chain of providential giftedness, being pulled up “further up and further in” by the beauty of God. To put an even finer point on it, I found stuck within the journal’s pages a yellowing index card with some scribbled lines from Plotinus’s Ennead “On Beauty,” a text that describes those who see “true beauties” as “truly enamored,” who see the Beauty and feel “astonishment, and a sweet shock, and longing, and erotic thrill, and a feeling of being overwhelmed with pleasure” (Ennead I, VI, 59). Here again the fundamentally aesthetic character of divine providence emerged: just as the perceiver of beauty in nature or in art must have the eyes to discern patterns or witness with appreciation the delicate interplay of artistic freedom and necessity, so too the perceiver or reader of a life must do the same. It is, as one commentator on Augustine has suggested, to see behind the “seemingly banal experiences” of any given human life and discern the soul as,

A journeying thing, like Israel in the desert, a stranger in a strange land. We all begin as wanderers, estranged from the God of our bliss; but if, through growing docility to the welter of ‘admonitions’ Providence scatters along our way, we come first to believe, then to understand the truth of our situation, we may convert our wandering into pilgrimage, into a return to the heavenly Jerusalem from which we have strayed.[2]

This realization of the aesthetic character of providence prompted yet another level of appreciation for its mysterious workings, as both my published scholarship and pedagogical interests have to do with forms of theological aesthetics from Plato to von Balthasar, the latter of which prioritizes the aesthetic categories of beauty within the discipline of theology, including perception, rapture, encounter, and glory, beauty’s theological analogue. My scholarly work is animated at least in part by themes of beauty and desire, and in structures of Christian revelation—God’s personal self-disclosure to human beings—which are fundamentally aesthetic insofar as infinite content is communicated in legible, visible, finite forms, in theophany and transfiguration and word and sacrament. Most of my publications in the last decade or so have focused upon the work of Balthasar and certain of his direct theological and literary interlocutors, people like Dante, whose Paradiso is one of the clearest expressions of the primordial call of the divine beauty of God, of Russian Orthodox Vladimir Solovyov, who was the real-life model for Dostoevsky’s Alyosha in his The Brothers Karamazov, as well as the French Catholic poets Paul Claudel and Charles Péguy, who in some ways helped to shape the sensibilities of ressourcement theology in interwar Catholic France and beyond.

I have already noted a debt to de Caussade’s “abandonment to divine providence;” the other primary category at play in this recollection is that of the possible. Indeed, my conversion had the character not quite of the dramatic introduction of something new or imputed from without but rather something like a gradual attunement (Einstimmung) to possibility (Wahrscheinlichkeit). I experienced becoming a Roman Catholic in a mode of confirmation, recognition, kinship, even something like nostalgia, with a strong sense of coming home to something strangely remembered. The story witnesses to discrete occasions of God’s grace that made an imagined, hoped-for possibility concrete and actual.

Of all the spiritual paths that lay before me, entering into full communion with the Catholic Church was perhaps the least likely one. In a sense it seemed to be utterly impossible—until it didn’t. But the constraints of my upbringing in a large extended family of extremely independent, constitutively temperamental Protestants who were at least unfamiliar with if not somewhat suspicious of the tenets of the Catholic faith contributed to the sense of impossibility of ever becoming a Catholic. This was an outcome that, had someone predicted what was to be, would have been to me utterly beyond belief.

I often say in jest—though it’s not really a joke—that I grew up inside a Flannery O’Connor short story. My earliest childhood memories are set in a tidy little log house in rural North Carolina that my great-grandfather had built in the mid 1800s: originally there was one upstairs room and one downstairs room with a fireplace, with additional rooms built around that heart of that structure up through the 1930s. We eventually moved into a larger house that my father built from the ground up about a quarter of a mile from the historic cabin and lived there on a 40-acre farm nestled within tobacco and soybean fields in what was then an economically fragile town off of Highway 158.

We lived very, very far out in the country, in a community populated not by strangers but by our sprawling extended family of grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles and cousins. It was not only that we happened to know everyone who lived in our community like might be the case in any other small Southern town; rather, we were related to them all. And we shared a name not only with one another but with the road itself: alongside all the other Newsomes whose homes and farms were dotted along it, we lived at the very end of one John Newsome Road, just gravel for many years but eventually paved by the state of North Carolina. Here enacted—before I had the words for it or knew how much of a fragile gift it really was—was a lived theology of local community, a fidelity to place worthy of Wendell Berry’s or Peter Maurin’s call to holy rootedness.

If anyone had wanted to visit, they would have had to drive from the one stoplight in the one-stoplight town marked with abandoned houses and storefronts, turn left just past Enterprise Baptist Church onto John Newsome Road, then once that ran out, turn right on a dirt road through the woods, past the old tobacco barns and groves of overgrown persimmon trees, past some half-heartedly built treehouses and deer stands, past the wooden outhouse (a relic from the older generations of Newsomes who had come before), past the simple graves of twin great-aunts who had died in the 1930s as infants and were buried there on the property, and finally open out upon a vista with a massive vegetable garden, horse pastures, old barns with chickens and guinea fowl and goats wandering about, a two-story house with a big front porch and a wooden porch swing, and pig pens worthy of Mrs. Turpin’s most searing revelatory visions. It was a microcosm of all the lushness and wildness of nature—Wendell Berry’s “peace of wild things / who do not tax their lives with forethought/of grief,” of thorns, weeds, forests, snakes, unkempt azaleas, a whole undisciplined, verdant tangle of flora and fauna that my family coaxed into compliance enough to cultivate food from the elements of seed, soil, sunshine, water, and time.

This farm and all its unexplored territory—know that 40 acres, to a child, was a universe—was the site of a particularly Southern brand of rural childhood: the rose-colored glasses with which I am very likely re-envisioning the setting recall a peculiar quality of afternoon light, slanting over landscapes of fields peppered with hay bales or corn, ordinary and heartbreakingly beautiful. To a child, at least to me as a child, who possessed a rather galling spiritual precociousness and bookishness which included lugging a giant Bible around to read outdoors—it was not just beautiful; it was enchanted. The world, I thought, even then, was full of signs. My siblings and I basically lived outdoors, especially in the summers: traipsing through the cold water of the creeks to find crawfish under heavy boulders, skipping highly coveted thin, flat rocks at the pond, picking four-leaf clovers by the rabbit pens, standing in the garden with a saltshaker in our pockets eating warm sun-ripened tomatoes straight from the vine.

When my mother wanted us home in the evening she would ring a big, heavy cast iron dinner bell. I remember my father killing the pigs in winter and making fresh sausage at the wooden kitchen table with an old-fashioned grinder clamped to the table. Our water came from a deep well on the property and it was always clear and cold. I belabor all these details not just from an over-active sense of nostalgia (to which I will readily admit), but to note how thoroughly connected we were to the land and to the agricultural rhythms of planting, picking, and preserving: an embodied foretaste, perhaps, of the rhythms of the liturgical seasons, to the constitutive futurity that animates a Christian practice oriented to the eschatological, and to the sacramental sense in which human work and material creation itself—grapes, wine, wheat, bread, oil, water, wood—can indeed be revelatory of God. Moreover, it was a piece of land with a built-in community, with stories, with a history and a tradition, something literally passed down (“traditio”) from one hand and generation to the next like the holy water at Mass from Charles Péguy’s long poem The Portal of the Mystery of Hope:

As at the entrance of the church on Sunday and on the feast days,

When we go to Mass,

Or at the funerals,

We give each other, we pass each other the holy water from hand to hand,

From neighbor to neighbor, one after the other…

So from hand to hand, from finger to finger/From fingertip to fingertip, the eternal generations,

Who are eternally going to Mass,

In the same breasts, in the same hearts up to the death of the world,

Like a relay,

In the same hope, the word of God is passed on (60).

I came to realize belatedly that this manner of growing up—with the aspirational vision and primal childhood hope that the world and everything in it was teeming with mystery, life, beauty, meaning, and possibility—made my later encounter with the notion of a sacramental worldview more a recognition of something that I already knew, at least at non-verbal, bodily level. What if the world really were, as Hopkins said, “charged with the grandeur of God”? This vision of the created world—wherein I could say with St. Basil of Caesarea that “a single plant, a blade of grass is sufficient to occupy all your intelligence in the contemplation of the skill which produced it”—turned out to be possible and indeed made actual only with the Catholic commitments I would later adopt.

Living in this predominantly Protestant slice of the rural South, however, I never met a Catholic. My childhood was steeped in old time Southern religion, in those kinds of sparse, simple roadside churches, the ones with old-fashioned piano music, nothing on the walls but a wooden rack to display the page numbers for the hymns, King James Bibles, a handful of good country people in the pews. Both my paternal grandfather and my father were ministers in the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, relatively common in the South and in certain pockets of the Midwest. These congregations are situated in what is sometimes broadly called the “Restoration Movement” or the “Stone Campbell Movement,” which emerged in revivalist efforts in the United States during the nineteenth century to return to the unity of the first century Church as described in the Book of Acts.

The emphasis is placed more on the aural than the visual, upon that which was sung, spoken, heard, preached and proclaimed. That said, there was not any active anti-intellectualist nor fundamentalist strain that I can recall. Our house, at least, was overflowing with books: biblical concordances and commentaries with pull-out colored maps of ancient Jerusalem and Palestine, boxed sets of C.S. Lewis, a complete set of dark green Harvard Classics which lent a dignified, solid air to the living room, though I don’t think I ever got past reading their impressive-sounding spines: Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius; Letters and Treatises of Cicero and Pliny; Pilgrim’s Progress, English Poetry I: Chaucer to Gray.

The perduring gift of growing up in this movement, though it is no longer one with which I identify myself, is a love for and deep familiarity with the Scriptures. My students sometimes think I’m some sort of wizard when I can rattle off long passages of the Scriptural text by heart, but these are the poetic, musical rhythms of biblical speech that I internalized at my parents’ knees and which are permanently imprinted in the most visceral sense of my embodied memory. Claudel’s magnificent little book simply titled J’aime la Bible (I Love the Bible) speaks of the associations of the Scriptures with “the first stirrings of my heart and imagination” (1) and understands the Bible itself as a “vast poem” (14), and “architectural drama” (4), and a “living city” (4). He writes that the,

Holy Scriptures are more than a vehicle, that they alone form a sublime edifice suited not only to worship but to residence, and that the whole world was made for the sole purpose of serving them as support and embellishment…What house can compare with the Scriptures which are the temple of divine thought? And not only in beauty, but in what I call ultimate beauty, the substance of beauty which is meaning (3-4).

Growing up within this “house” or “city” of the Scriptures made it such that when I began attending Catholic Masses as I was going through RCIA in 2004-2005, I found in an uncanny, bodily, remembered way that I was already at home in the language of the liturgical rites.

What this movement failed to provide, however, was any awareness that there was a long, complex tradition between the first century and my own. St. John Henry Newman once famously remarked that “to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.” For my own case at least, this maxim proved itself true. I very distinctly remember, for example, reading St. Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Smyrnaeans, which is dated around 110 AD, just a few short years after the last books of the New Testament were composed. I was staggered by the lines that read, “Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop . . . Wherever the bishop shall appear, there, let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” But that was all to come much later.

Without knowing anything of the ancient tradition of praying with the Psalms, I had began praying them, inscribing them in the pages of the journal I mentioned above. “Thou tellest my wanderings,” I copied out from Psalm 56:8, “put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” This and other Psalms were a great consolation to me, giving voice within the pages of sacred Scripture to the full range of human emotion: not just praise and thanksgiving but also lament, fear, anxiety, anger, and sadness.

Around the same time—as a junior in college—I departed for a summer mission to Kiramu, Ethiopia via Amtrak, from rural North Carolina by way of the big city of Indianapolis where our team training was to be held. Incredulously, the training for this decidedly Protestant mission was set not in a conference room of some ubiquitous chain hotel in the Midwest as might be expected but—again providentially—in a Benedictine monastery called Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN. I remember marveling at the austere little rooms with their white walls hung with crucifixes and Irish prayers and at the rich statuary populating the Madonna chapel. To me at the time it was all like something out of a movie set, wondrous and foreign but nonetheless compelling in its own way. Could there really be, I remember thinking, such a thing as nuns?

There were. That night we had evening prayer with the Benedictine sisters, and I fell in love with the beauty and formality of it, with both the structure and the dynamism, the dialogical give-and-take of the antiphons, the sound of our voices praying together in common. And here too was the familiar language of the Psalms which had become a veritable spiritual life-raft for me. I was still four years away from finding the idea of becoming a Catholic even a genuinely plausible one, but witnessing this new way of praying by these nuns reawakened my own prayer life at a time when I felt very much in the proverbial dark night of the soul. I am reminded of that line from Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness, where the then bohemian atheist Day recounts the shock and surprise of seeing her Catholic roommates praying. “I saw them pray,” Day wrote, “and the public prayer of the church and Blanche’s kneeling down by the table on which was spread out her hats and trimmings did something to me which I could not forget” (The Long Loneliness 107). This witness of the nuns likewise did something to me which I could not forget. It was nothing less than the expansion of my imagination regarding what in fact was and was not possible in terms of spiritual practices and forms of life.

Journal entries for the next few years witness to this enlargement of spiritual imagination. The pages are peppered with quotes from the likes of Julian of Norwich, Basil of Caesarea, Origen, St. Catherine of Siena, Hildegard von Bingen, Georges Bernanos, St. Augustine, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, the prayers of St. Francis, lines from the Glory Be and the Te Deum and the prayers of the desert fathers. I went to an Ash Wednesday service to receive ashes and was appropriately moved and devastated by the priest’s words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All of this was a revelation, though at the time I thought I loved these works only intellectually, as a curious outsider looking in, as when Dorothy Day read the novels of Huysmans and wrote that “it was these books which made me feel that I too could be at home in the Catholic Church, without becoming a Catholic” (The Long Loneliness, 107).

A few months later I drove out alone to the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA, which was founded in 1944 by twenty monks from the Abbey of Gethsemeni near Bardstown, Kentucky, where Merton had lived and prayed. Ancestors of Flannery O’Connor’s peacocks roamed the grounds of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. It’s a stunning place, made more stunning perhaps by the hazy light of my recollections, but I do remember quite clearly how the grounds hummed with a quiet, insistent life: not just the peacocks fanning out their glorious trains full of eyes like so many apocalyptic angels, but also bees nuzzling clover and bright peonies, birds perched along the steeple of the abbey church, the thrum of cicadas and geese. In my retrospections, coming to understand the ethos of Catholicism and to come to place myself within it was—very much mirroring the formative experiences of my childhood—intimately tied with the sensuality and the beauty of place. As Dostoevsky puts it,

Every blade of grass, every insect, ant, and golden bee . . . bear witness to the mystery of God and continually accomplish it themselves . . . All creation and all creatures, every leaf is striving to the Word, singing glory to God, weeping to Christ, unconsciously accomplishing this by the mystery of their sinless life” (The Brothers Karamazov, 254-5).

During this initial visit to the monastery, I recall looking at the stained glass rose window in the abbey church and feeling, however tentatively, as if I could be at home within the Catholic tradition (“My heart,” I wrote, “ever since I drove onto the monastery property, has not ceased to beat at almost twice the normal speed . . . There is no part of life that is not holy”). But this realization was something of a slow burn: somehow it took over a year for me to return to the monastery, but when I went back in September of 2004 for a three-day retreat on contemplative prayer, at last my restlessness began to fade.

The abbot, Dom Francis Michael, led the retreat, but the most unforgettable conversation I had was in a session of spiritual counsel with a delightfully spirited monk called Fr. Tom Francis whose eyes, despite his age, glowed with the fire of a kind of eternal youth. We talked at length about Catholic theology and history, the saints, even about Hans Urs von Balthasar’s book on prayer. He confided in me somewhat mirthfully his own contemplative prayer practice of imagining himself riding joyfully and laughing riotously like a young child on the back of Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

When I got home I called the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in downtown Atlanta, the first Roman Catholic basilica in Georgia (established in 1880), and began RCIA alongside my husband and his brother. Again, the felt experience of that entire process again was more like a homecoming than not. One journal entry from the time read that it “finally feels like I am putting on my own skin after a long hiatus without being in my proper element.” In March of 2005, three weeks before I was finally to be confirmed as a Catholic, I got the good news that I had been accepted into the Master of Theological Studies at the University of Notre Dame, a place I have called home for nearly twenty years, first as a graduate student, and now (“and now”!) as a faculty member in the Program of Liberal Studies and the Department of Theology.

As I said at the outset, most of my work in academic theology is centered around the thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose project is animated by the coincidence of the beautiful with the good and the true. I became a Catholic, very simply, because I believed Catholicism to be beautiful and good and true.

Balthasar’s metaphysics stipulates furthermore that being itself is full of future, full of possibility; it is “essentially open-ended; even more, it is essentially a beginning, a promise, a hope, an upspringing” (Theo-Logic I, 196). His ecclesiology likewise stipulates that the Catholic Church “in her being has a future . . . The more it is thought about and lived (especially by those whom one calls ‘saints’), the more inexhaustible—and hence the more belonging to the future—does it rise before the eyes of the faithful” (The Glory of the Lord VII, 102). To be a Catholic, then, is to be increasingly intimate to the ever-expanding borders of the possible. The lived practice of the Catholic faith—“from hand to hand, from finger to finger / From fingertip to fingertip, the eternal generations, / Who are eternally going to Mass”—bodies the tradition forward and gathers up with it those who glimpse themselves already in it. I became a Catholic because I could no longer see my own future as something that was not placed within this community and this horizon of possibility from glory to glory, because I could no longer envision a future that was anything but inexhaustible.

[1] This essay is an edited, shortened form of the 2022 St John Henry Newman Lecture originally delivered for the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola Chicago.

[2] Robert O’Connell, S.J., Art and the Christian Intelligence in St. Augustine (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), 96.