Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Christian Heritage - June 29 - The Fisherman

"If Christ had first chosen a man skilled in public speaking, such a man might well have said: 'I have been chosen on account of my eloquence.' If he had chosen a senator, the senator might have said: 'I have been chosen because of my rank.' If his first choice had been an emperor, the emperor surely might have said: 'I have been chosen for the sake of the power I have at my disposal.' Let these worthies keep quiet and defer to others; let them hold their peace for a while. I am not saying they should be passed over or despised; I am simply asking all those who can find any grounds for pride in what they are to give way to others just a little.

"Christ says: Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him; once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him. Although I meant to include senators, orators, and emperors among my recruits, even when I have won over the senator I shall still be surer of the fisherman. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so can the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone."

You have caught me, O Lord. Now, I pray, make me but your fisherman in the sea of your love. May I use no other hook than the Cross, and no other bait than your grace and truth.

Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430), Sermo 43, 5-6

Augustine was a daft admirer of classical literature, received some formal training in classical rhetoric and longed to be a professional orator. But he sacrificed that ambition in order to be a priest and bishop for the people of God.

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