Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wisdom from… [29 Jan.]

ST AUGUSTINE** (354–430): May your "amen" accord with the truth

Faith seeks understanding; so you may now say to me: "We know from whom our Lord Jesus Christ took his flesh—–it was from the Virgin Mary. As a baby, he was suckled, he was fed, he developed, he came to young man's estate. He was slain on the cross, he was taken down from it, he was buried, he rose again on the third day. On the day of his own choosing, he ascended to heaven, taking his body with him; and it is from heaven that he will come to judge the living and the dead. But now that he is there, seated at the right hand of the Father, how can bread be his body? And the cup, or rather what is in the cup, how can that be his blood?"

These things, my friends, are called sacraments, because our eyes see in them one thing, our understanding another. Our eyes see the material form; our understanding, its spiritual effect. If, then, you want to know what the body of Christ is, you must listen to what the apostle tells the faithful: Now you are the body of Christ, and individually you are members of it.

If that is so, it is the sacrament of yourselves that is placed on the Lord's altar, and it is the sacrament of yourselves that you receive. You reply "amen" to what you are, and thereby agree that such you are. You hear the words "the body of Christ," and you reply "amen." Be, then, a member of Christ's body, so that your "amen" may accord with the truth.
(Sermon 272)

** As bishop of Hippo (Carthage), Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, became the most influential person of the Western Church and left many writings to posterity.

ST AUGUSTINE: Love God's Creation

Suppose a man should make a ring for his betrothed, and she should love the ring more wholeheartedly than the betrothed who made it for her. Certainly, let her love his gift: but if she should say, "The ring is enough. I do not want to see his face again," what would we say of her?

The pledge is given her by the betrothed just that, in his pledge, he himself may be loved. God, then has given you all these things. Love him who made them.
-- Sermon on 1 John 2, 11

Prayer. Lord, let those who understand, praise you, and let those who understand you not, praise you too,
-- Confessions 11, 31


To ensure that the saints pray and intercede for us, we must invoke them and ask their help. The best way to celebrate their feasts is to realize the power they have with God for obtaining the graces of which we stand in need. Our Lord is so pleased when we profit from the intercession of the saints that, wishing to bestow on us some favor, He often inspires us to seek their mediation and invites us to ask them to pray for us. With full confidence we should seek their help and turn to them, especially on their feast days, without doubting for a moment that they will listen to us and will obtain for us what we are asking.
(Sermons 51, O. X, pp. 136-137)


'TIS the very difference between the artistic mind and the mathematical that the former sees things as they are in a picture, some nearer and larger, some smaller and farther away while to the mathematical mind everything, every inch in a million, every fact in a cosmos, must be of equal value. That is why mathematicians go mad, and poets scarcely ever do. A man may have as wide a view of life as he likes, the wider the better: a distant view, a bird's-eye view, but still a view and not a map. The one thing he cannot attempt in his version of the universe is to draw things to scale.
('G. F. Watts')

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