Thursday, September 23, 2004

Augustine Day by Day - September 17-22

One Goal

“We know we are traveling together. If our pace is slow, go on ahead of us. We won't envy you but rather will seek to catch up with you. However, if you consider us capable of a quicker pace, run along with us. There is only one goal, and we are all anxious to reach it--some at a slow pace and others at a fast pace.”

-- Sermon on a New Canticle 4, 4

Prayer. Let everyone's sighs be uttered in longing for Christ. He should be the object of our desire since he, he all-beautiful One, loves repulsive people so that he might make them beautiful. Let us run to him and cry out for him.

-- Sermon on John 10, 13

September 18

Removal of Social Evils by Education

“Clearly, it is not by harshness or by severity, or by overbearing methods, that social evils are removed. It is by education rather than by formal commands, by persuasion rather than by threats. This is the way to deal with people in general. Severity, however, should be employed only against the sins of the few.”

-- Letter 22, 5

Prayer. Lord, you are the light of my heart and the bread in the mouth of my soul. You are the virtue dwelling in my mind and the hiding place of my thoughts.

-- Confessions 1, 13

September 19

True Superiors

“Superiors are designated for the purpose of looking out for the good of their subjects. Hence, in the fulfillment of their office they should seek not their own advantage but that of their subjects. There are superiors who delight in being placed over others, seek their own honor, and look out only for their own convenience. These are fattening themselves, not their flocks!”

-- Sermon 46, 1

Prayer. Lord, my own wrongdoing befouls me, and the offenses of others afflict me. Free me from theirs, and pardon me for mine. Take evil thoughts away from my heart, and keep me away from advisers of malice.

-- Commentary on Psalm 18 (2), 13

September 20

Love for Sinners

“Essentially, the distinguishing mark of those who strive after Christian perfection is that they love the sinner and detest only sins. When they must avenge wrongdoing, they do so, not with the cruelty of hatred, but with justice administered with moderation, lest forgiveness without satisfaction do more harm to the sinner than punishment.”

-- Against Adimantus 17

Prayer. Lord, if the persecution of this world rises up against me, let me fix my hope on the prayer in my heart.

-- Commentary on Psalm 16, 3

September 21

The Fast and the Slow

“Let those who are quicker than others in understanding reflect that they are walking along the road together with those who are slower. When one is faster than a companion, it is in the power of the faster to allow the slower to catch up, not vice versa. If the faster walks with all possible speed, the slower will not succeed in following. The faster must slow the pace so as not to abandon the slower companion.”

-- Commentary on Psalm 90 (2), 1

Prayer. I want to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. In it lies something wonderful to see, the delight of the Lord himself awaiting our contemplation.

-- Commentary on Psalm 26 (2), 8

September 21

We All Have One Teacher

“Remembering and bearing in mind the obligations of my servantship – such is my attitude as I teach you. Hence, I speak not as a master but as a minister, not to pupils but to fellow pupils since I speak not to servants but to fellow servants. We all have one Master, whose school is on earth and whose seat is in heaven.

-- Sermon 242, 1

Prayer. To those who love you, O Lord, according to your command, you show yourself and it is enough for them. Thus they do not fall away from you nor back into themselves. This is the house of God, made not of the earth, nor of any physical heavenly body, but it is a spiritual sharing in your eternity.

-- Confessions 12, 15

September 22

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