Saturday, July 24, 2010

Readings from…

ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO: Forgive and give
There are two works of mercy which will set us free. … Forgive and you will be forgiven, and Give and you will receive. The former concerns pardon, the latter generosity. As regards pardon [the Lord] says: "Just as you want to be forgiven, so someone is in need of your forgiveness." Again, as regards generosity, consider when a beggar asks you for something that you are a beggar too in relation to God. When we pray we are all beggars before God. We are standing at the door of a great householder, or rather, lying prostrate, and begging with tears. We are longing to receive a gift — the gift of God himself. What does a beggar ask of you? Bread. And you, what do you ask of God, if not Christ who said: I am the living bread that has come down from heaven? Do you want to be pardoned? Then pardon others. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Do you want to receive? Give and you will receive.
(Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 83, 2.4.)

Our prayer is "Make known to me, O Lord, my end." The end is where we are going to stay. When we left our houses, our end was to come to church. Again, from here each of us has the end of going home. We end in the place we are going to. So now here we all are, engaged in life's pilgrimage, and we have an end we are going toward. Toward what are we going? Toward our home country. What is our home country? Jerusalem, mother of the faithful, mother of the living!
-- Sermon 16A, 9
[Quo vades?]

Prayer. You, the Omnipotent and the Good, care for each of us as if each was your sole care, and for all as for one alone!
-- Confessions 3, 11

[1] From this [viz., "Therefore, that which is before all things, namely, God, must be free of all composition." Cf. SCG I, xviii] Aristotle concludes that in God there can be nothing violent or unnatural.

[2] Everything in which there is found something violent and outside nature has something added to itself, for what belongs to the substance of a thing can be neither violent nor outside nature. Now, nothing simple has anything added to itself, since this would render it composite. Since, then, God is simple, as we have shown, nothing in Him can be violent or outside nature.

[3] Furthermore, the necessity of coaction is a necessity from another. But in God there is no necessity from another; He is necessary through Himself and the cause of necessity for other things. Therefore, nothing in God is due to coaction.

[4] Again, wherever there is something violent, there can be something beyond what befits a thing through itself; for the violent is opposed to what is according to nature. But in God there cannot be anything beyond what befits Him according to Himself; for God, as we have shown, is of Himself the necessary being. There can, therefore, be nothing violent in God.

[5] Then, too, everything in which there can be something violent or unnatural is by nature able to be moved by another. For the violent is “that whose source is from the outside, the receiver being completely passive.” Now, as we have shown, God is absolutely immobile [Cf. SCG I, xvi?]. There can, therefore, be nothing violent or unnatural in Him.

Today I want to wish you one of the blessings accorded to Saint Mary Magdalene; not her ecstasies or extraordinary gifts, but imitating her by sitting at the feet of Jesus all the days of our life. Above all, I hope you have the courage to overcome the difficulties that impede you from God. Therefore, continually seek the Lord and do not give up until you have found Him. Seek Him out during this mortal life, not risen and glorious, but crucified and dead. Prepare your shoulders to carry the cross of the Crucified with love, and if the burden is heavy, console yourself, because courage and love will give you the strength.
(Sermons 48; O. X, p. 96)

IT is a sufficient proof that we are not an essentially democratic state that we are always wondering what we shall do with the poor. If we were democrats, we should be wondering what the poor will do with us. With us the governing class is always saying to itself, 'What laws shall we make?' In a purely democratic state it would be always saying, 'What laws can we obey?'

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