Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Augustine Day by Day - August 21-24

Absence of Friends

One day, you yourself will begin to have to surrender some of the very dearest of those you have reared, to the needs of the church situated far from you. It is then that you will understand the pangs of longing that stab me on losing the physical presence of friends united to me in the most close and sweet intimacy.

-- Letter 84, 1

Prayer. As long as we are here, let us ask God not to deprive us of our prayer and his mercy, so that we may pray with perseverance and he may have mercy with his perseverance.

-- Commentary on Psalm 65, 24


August 21

Sing with Human Reason

Dear friends, sing the Psalm with human reason, not like birds. Thrushes, parrots, ravens, magpies, and the like are often taught to say what they do not understand. However, to know what we are saying was granted by God's will to human nature. Hence, we who have learned in the Church to sing God's words should be eager to do so. We should know and see with a clear mind what we have all sung together with one voice.

-- Commentary on Psalm 18, 2

"All men by nature desire to know." -- Aristotle, *Metaphysics* 1,1,1. That darned pagan was on to something.

Prayer. Give me strength to seek you, Lord, for you have already enabled me to find you and have given me hope of finding you ever more fully.

-- The Trinity 15, 51

August 22

Talents Are for Others

Jesus said: "To the person who has, it shall be given." God will give more to those who use for others that which they have received. He will fill up and pile to the brim what he first gave.

Our reflections will be multiplied at his prompting. Thus, in our service of him we will suffer no shortage but will rather rejoice in a miraculous abundance of ideas.

-- Christian Doctrine 1, 1

Prayer. Lord, my knowledge and my ignorance lie before you. Where you have opened to me, let me enter. Where you have closed to me, open when I knock.

-- The Trinity 15, 51

August 23

Praying for Others

Let me be helped by your prayers, so that the Lord may see fit to help me bear his burden. When you pray in this way, it is really for yourselves that you are praying. For what is the burden of which I am speaking but you? Pray for me, then, as I myself pray that you may not be burdensome. Support me so that we may bear one another's burdens, thus fulfilling the law of Christ.

-- Sermon 340, 1

Prayer. Lord, those who are bowed down with burdens you lift up, and they do not fall because you are their support.

-- Confessions 11, 31

August 24

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