Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Feast of St. Augustine

TOO late have I loved Thee, Beauty so ancient, and so new ! Too late have I loved Thee! And behold, Thou wert within, and I without, and without I sought Thee; and I, deformed, ran after those forms of beauty which Thou hast made. Thou wast with me, and I was not with Thee. Those things held me back from Thee, which could have no being but in Thee. Thou calledst, Thou criedst, and Thou breakest through my deafness. Thou flashedst, thou shinedst, and Thou chasedst away my blindness. Thou didst become fragrant, and I drew in my breath, and panted after Thee. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. Thou touchedst me, and I burned for Thy embrace.WHEN I shall cleave to Thee with my whole being, I shall have no more sorrow and labour; and my life shall be a living life, all full of Thee. But now, seeing that all whom Thou fillest, Thou liftest up; I being not full of Thee, am a burden to myself. Sorrowful joys contend with joyous sorrows; and which will conquer, I know not. Ah me! Lord, have mercy upon me! My evil sorrows contend with my good joys ; and which will conquer, I know not. Ah me! Lord, have mercy upon me! Alas ! Look, I do not hide my wounds; Thou art the Physician, I the sick man; Thou art merciful, I am miserable.
-Selection from The Confessions for the second reading at Vigils

I know that often we, in theology and philosophy, reflect on how "there is nothing new under the sun". From time to time there is a new insight in the particulars, but when it comes to the basics I think it holds true. Nothing shows this more beautifully than the above quote from St. Augustine.

Unfortunately, in many ways, it is an insight that each individual must come to in the recesses of their hearts. It can't be taught. It can't be forced. It can't be reasoned. It can only be surrendered to.

Yes, I know. We can help by setting up the circumstances. We can give good example. We can even try to point out the logic of it in contrast to the incredible pain and evil. But, in the end, we must go about it in the same manner as St. Monica - prayer, prayer, and more prayer.

We propose, but God disposes in His own good time and for His own good purpose. Who is it in your life that stands in need of prayer? Who, in your life, is just a change of heart away from doing great things for the Lord?

Let us pray for ourselves, that we may have the humility and the courage to continue in our life of surrender, allowing the Lord to work His wonders through us - great or small as they may seem to us. And let us pray too for those who have such great potential and yet stand in need of surrender - that their potential may become actualized and contribute to the building up of the City of God. Pray well!
(Thanks to Br. Stephen @ "Sub Tuum" blog for picture and quote)

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful reflection on a wonderful quote from a wonderful saint. Yes, pray, pray, and pray some more!


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