Monday, September 27, 2004

Augustine Day by Day - September 23-26

Renewal in Christ

"Old age has its many complaints: coughing, shaking, failing eyesight, anxiety, and weariness. The world is old, and it too is full of pressing tribulations. Do not refuse to regain your youth in Christ who says: The world is passing away. Do not fear. Your youth shall be renewed."

-- Sermon 81, 8

Prayer. You, O Lord, who always are, both before we were and before the world was, have become a refuge for us, within which we turn to you.

-- Commentary on Psalm 89, 3

September 23

Putting a Vocation to the Test

"How will you get to know the ones you want to exclude from the monastery? If you want to find out that they are unfit, you must put them to the test. Many have promised themselves that they will generously respond to the holiness of that life. They have been put in the fire, and they have crumbled."

-- Commentary on Psalm 99, 11

Far from a retreat, the vowed life is actually a white-knuckled romp into the fullness of emptiness, the victory of loss. Perhaps the monastic life alone enables us to plunge into the frightening waters, and scorching fire, of unremitting attention to God and our own hearts.

Prayer. Lord, be my helper, and do not abandon me. See, I am on your path. I have asked for only one thing from you, to live in your house all the days of my life.

-- Commentary on Psalm 26 (2), 17

September 24

The Grace of God

"No one of us does anything good unless aided by Christ's grace. What we do badly comes from ourselves; what we do well, we do with the help of God.

Need I mention Augustine is known as the Doctor of Grace?

Therefore, let us give thanks to God who made it possible. And when we do well, let us not insult anyone who does not act in the same way. Let us not extol ourselves above such a person."

-- Commentary on Psalm 93, 15

"Pride comes not in ackowledging, to God, our gifts from Him, but in denying, to ourselves, the gifts of others, from God. Your own are the only gifts you must celebrate less than anyone else's." -- Elliam Fakespeare

Prayer. Lord, I have seen Christ the Bridegroom. Let no one now lure me away from among the members of your Bride. Be not my Head if I fail to be among her members.

-- Commentary on Psalm 147, 18

"Loving Christ means loving Christians; loving God means loving our neighbor, for whom He died." -- Elliam Fakespeare

September 25

You Owe Love

"Prayer is greatly aided by fasting and watching and every kind of bodily chastisement. In this regard each of you must do what you can. Thus, the weaker will not hold back the stronger, and the stronger will not press the weaker. You owe your conscience to God. But to no one else do you owe anything more except that you love one another. [see Romans 13:8 -- EBB]"

-- Letter 130, 16

Prayer. Let me know you, O you who know me. Let me know you just as I am known to you. Virtue of my soul, come into it and make it over for your own use, that you may possess it without spot.

-- Confessions 10, 1

September 26

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