“Let us celebrate the festive day”

Awake, Mankind!  For your sake God has become man.  Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you.  I tell you again, God became man.
You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time.  Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh.  You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy.  You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death.  You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid.  You would have perished, had he not come.
Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption.  Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

~St. Augustine, Sermon 185

Christ asleep in us

Last Saturday’s gospel was the very familiar passage about Jesus sleeping in the boat.  St. Augustine has a fine commentary on it:

When you are insulted, that is the wind.  When you are angry, that is the waves.  So when the winds blow and the waves surge, the boat is in danger, your heart is in jeopardy, your heart is tossed to and fro.  On being insulted, you long to retaliate.  But revenge brings another kind of misfortune–shipwreck.  Why?  Because Christ is asleep in you.  What do I mean?  I mean you have forgotten Christ.  Rouse him, then; remember Christ, let Christ awake within you, give heed to him . . . . “Who is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”

Your hope

On Saturday evenings, we take turns preparing and sharing something about the Sunday readings.  It was Sr. Sarah’s turn this past Saturday, and she shared this little nugget from St. Augustine.  I said, “I need that for my blog!  This would transform our lives if we lived it.

Let the Lord be your hope; do not hope to get anything else from the Lord God, but let the Lord God Himself be your hope.  Many people hope to get money from God, many hope to get from Him honors that are transitory and perishable, or they want some other things from God, something other than God Himself.  But you, you must simply ask for your God.  (Augustine on Ps 40)

Let the Lord God Himself be your hope . . .

Awake, Mankind!

Awake, Mankind!  For your sake God has become man.  Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you.  I tell you again, God became man.
     You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time.  Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh.  You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy.  You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death.  You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid.  You would have perished, had he not come.
     Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption.  Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time. 

~St. Augustine, Sermon 185

It is no small reason

There is one thing we can put our hope in, and that is no small reason for rejoicing.

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As they say in the traffic report, this post is thanks to “tipster” Lupe.  Lupe grabbed me after Mass yesterday and asked me if I had read the Office of Readings for the day–which I hadn’t yet.  (The Office of Readings is part of the Liturgy of the Hours.)  So, of course, I did as soon as I got home.  The readings this time of year, as we close the liturgical year, are mostly about the Lord coming again or about our going to meet Him in death.  The second reading for yesterday, Wednesday of the thirty-third week of Ordinary Time, is from a sermon by St. Augustine.  He preaches about the sure promise we have of seeing the Lord, but now we walk by faith, not by sight. 

We walk by faith, and not by sight.  When will it be by sight? Beloved, says John, we are now the sons of God; what we shall be has not yet been revealed, but we know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  When this prophecy is fulfilled, then it will be by sight.

Then Augustine goes on to point out that we have great reason for rejoicing–and the reason for our rejoicing is that this promise will be fulfilled:

Nevertheless, even now, before that vision comes to us, or before we come to that vision, let us rejoice in the Lord; for it is no small reason for rejoicing to have a hope that will some day be fulfilled.

This got me thinking about the many things we put our hope in, and how often we are then disappointed when they are not fulfilled.  That can lead us to discouragement and to an attitude of “Why hope?”  It is true that we will face many disappointments in life–but this one thing we can–and must–put our hope in: that we shall see Him as He is.  This is a hope that will one day be fullfilled.  We–you–will see Him as He is.  And that is no small reason for rejoicing.

Trusting His mercy

Humility is the gateway to the mercy of God.

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Pondering today how hard we try so often to live lives without sin, but usually because we just don’t want to humble ourselves before others and especially before God. We don’t want to take the risk.  We don’t want to admit that we are imperfect human beings.  But humility is the gateway, the door to His mercy. We don’t really trust His love and mercy.  We should be running to Him with our faults, our sins, asking Him to “punish us with a kiss.”

Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon.  (St. Augustine)

[Let] the greatest sinners [place] their trust in My mercy.  They have the right before others to trust in My bottomless mercy.  My daughter, write about My mercy toward tormented souls.  Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me.  To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask.  I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if He makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy.  Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy.  He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My Justice . . . .   (St. Faustina, Diary 1146)