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Profiles in Catholicism

An Interview with Mike Aquilina

Gordon Nary


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Your exceptional website provides considerable information about the more than forty books you have written, your speaking service including many of the schools ate which you have lectured, and your great blog. What initially interested you in early Christianity and our Church Fathers?





When I was very young, I wanted to be an archeologist. I was fascinated by ancient civilizations. I dreamed of finding lost cities and long-buried pyramids. Then I found out that archeologists have to do patient, painstaking work, poking at indeterminate objects with toothpicks. THAT sounded boring. Fast-forward a couple decades, and I found myself reading an article about the recent discovery of a cache of long-lost homilies of St. Augustine. That, to me, was exciting -- like discovering a forgotten city in the desert. It caught my interest, and then it didnít let go. 

I think most of us have some interest in learning about our distant origins. Genealogy is certainly among the most popular hobbies among my age peers. And the Dead Sea Scrolls have become a cottage industry since their discovery seventy years ago. 

Iím not unusual in my interest in the Christian past. I suspect my work speaks to the many folks who share my interest.

Gordon:   Which of the Church Fathers has had the most influence on contemporary church teachings and why?
Mike:   Augustine. Heís the saint (outside the authors of Sacred Scripture) most quoted in the Catechism, and the saint most quoted by Thomas Aquinas. He invented literary genres. He laid the cultural foundations of the middle ages. Why has he had the most influence? Because he was singularly brilliant and productive.

Please provide our readers with an overview of your work with  St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology     

Mike:   Most of my work has been advisory. The guiding vision is Scott Hahnís, and heís an old and dear friend. Iíve sat on the board of trustees since the Centerís founding in 2001. I speak at the conferences and help lead the pilgrimages. Iíve published books with the Centerís imprint, Emmaus Road.
Gordon:   We often revert to faith as a gift.  What in your experience are the factors the contribute to and enhance faith, and what are the greatest challenges to maintaining faith
  Iím a meat-and-potatoes Catholic. I think our Christian life is best enhanced by faithfulness in prayer -- sustained and disciplined prayer. We benefit most from frequent recourse to the sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist. For the last thirty years or so, Iíve aimed at daily Mass and weekly Confession. These are my mainstays. After that, I have to say Iíve benefited much from devotion to the guardian angels, especially those of my wife and children.
Gordon:   What impact has social media had on the faith of teens and young adults?
Mike:   I canít say. Itís certainly useful for spreading the word about events and books. Iím grateful for those benefits. Like all technology, social media has its advantages and disadvantages. If we live prayerful lives, weíll use it wisely, and God will use our use of it to advance his holy will.
Gordon:   Thank you for a inspirational interview and all of your books and blog which have helped many of us learn more about the history of and practice of our faith.