76 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 or in their desired symbiosis. Augustine absolutely rejected the neo Platonian and stoic ideals of human self-sufficiency in the process of reaching wisdom, as well as contemplative experience of God. He develops this change of attitude in the battle with Pelagian movement, which emphasized the self-sufficient role of the human spirit in the field of salvation (Lichner 2012, 31–32). The grace of Jesus Christ is not only needed but also indispensable for salvation, and every gift, including looking at God in contemplation and during a mystical experience, every external activity, is thus an undeserved gift of God that is not granted based on previous human merit but based on God’s love (Augustinus 1911, 406). Augustine compares the desire for contemplation graven into human soul to the image of a thirsty deer longing for streams of water from the second verse of Psalm 41 (Augustinus 1954b, 460). This is why in one homily he affirms that he as a preacher is only a basket in which the faithful can find the bread of God, emphasizing that God is the one who puts the bread into the basket (Augustinus 1959, 187). An active temporal life of the soul draws its value from being surrounded by the mercy of God’s love, which enables it to keep its principal orientation towards contemplation. The soul realizes that the initial impulse, as well as subsequent accompanying during active life – whether reflected externally in the deeds of mercy or moving internally from knowledge to wisdom – as well as completion of the whole process, is an undeserved gift of God’s grace given to us through love. 8 Conclusion Augustine never thought about the relation between action and contemplation abstractly. He was confronted with this question his whole life, and he constantly kept trying to put his first and stable preference for the contemplative life in harmony with the number of active duties that resulted from his priestly and later also episcopal life. His thinking was based on the previous pagan philosophy of Varro, the conclusions of which he deepened with biblical texts, as he tried to find a solution. Augustine was convinced that human beings need to search for complementary symbiosis between contemplation and action. Only this way can they avoid egoism as a result of fully lived contemplation, where deeds of love are missing. This, of course, does not mean that monks should try to take over pastoral responsibilities. They ought to wait until the Church invites them to do so. However, an active life in the service of a local Church can be egoistical, as well, under certain circumstances, especially when members of the clergy search for happiness in the pursuit of appreciation instead of in serving others. Early experience of the monastic form of life in Cassiacum, where prayer was combined and supplemented with thinking and contemplation of the Word of God, remained in Augustine’s heart as a deeply unfulfilled desire. A growing sense of responsibility for the temporal needs of his ecclesiastical community and the strengthening emphasis put on deeds of mercy as a basis of Christian behavior helped him find a balance between contemplation and action. This way of thinking can be found in his works as well as his life. His action and thinking were marked by a lifelong search for harmony between these two seemingly different but still complementary aspects of Christian life, the symbiosis of which he found in contemplative activity. Thanks to the gift of God’s mercy, a contemplatively active person realizes the reason and sense of his contingent existence substantially aimed at and for God. He spiritually perceives and finds expressions of this free and undeserved grace that surrounds his whole life, thus enabling him to walk spiritually from the created and contingent towards the uncreated in a unique early Christian symbiosis of contemplation in action. The study of primary sources has revealed that Augustine saw the incarnation as a life principle of any Christian who is contemplative in action. The customary division into an active and contemplative life is therefore an artificial division that does not correspond with Christian reality. The results of our research invite us to a reinterpretation of the fundamental movements in the history of spirituality and within the search for new means of expression with the help of the author’s historically forgotten synthesis of contemplation in action for the world of today. Acknowledgement The study is a partial outcome of the research project no. APVV-17-0001.