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FOOD FOR THOUGHT




 

 

ST. AUGUSTINE. . .

 

 

 

 

CHASTE FEAR

 

What is chaste fear?  The fear lest thou lose really good things themselves.  Mark!  It is  one thing to fear God lest He punish thee, and another thing to fear God lest He forsake thee.  The first kind of fear is not chaste; for it comes,  not from the love of God but, from the dread of punishment; but when thou fearest God lest His presence forsake thee, thou embracest Him and longest to enjoy God Himself. 

 

 

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DAILY BREAD

 

Daily we live, and daily rise, and daily hunger, and are daily fed, and so ask for our daily bread from God.  It would be shamelessness to ask for wealth from Him; it is necessity to ask for bread.  The great Father giveth this to all His children.  The Eucharist is our daily bread; but let us in such wise receive it that we be not refreshed in our bodies only but in our souls also.  Then indeed shall we eat bread from heaven. 

 

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CONDEMNATION

 

Every sinner is inexcusable: whether he is a sinner through original guilt or by an additional guilt; whether he knows it is a sin or knows it not; whether he had judged his act as sin or not.  For ignorance itself in those who do not want to know is, without doubt, a sin.  In neither case, then, is there a just excuse.  In both cases, there is just condemnation.

 

St. Augustine

 

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A DREADED FRIEND

 

Such was the Psalmist according to his own declaration; and who is so much to be dreaded as a friend of whom good was hoped but in whom many evil practices prevailed?  What a man!  How he has fallen!  A good conscience, however, maketh answer -- "I am not such."  Amid these offenses, there is one remedy -- that thou think not badly of thy brother.  What thou wouldest have him to be, think him to be.  Be thou in humility; and, if thou art a dreaded friend, it shall not be for long.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

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BLESSING AND CURSES

 

Good things can be harmful  and evil things can be beneficial, according as the persons may be to whom the are given.  Christ handed bread to Judas from the table of Christ, and immediately Satan entered into the disciple.  A thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, was given to Paul to buffet him but this was what made him perfect in Christ. Thus, to Judas, what was good was harmful; and to Paul, what was harmful was the occasion for perfection.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

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FAILING IN PRAYER

 

If love grows cold, the heart is silent; if love is burning, the heart cries aloud. Many grow faint in prayer who in the newness of their conversion pray fervently, afterward, faintly, afterward, coldly, afterward, carelessly, as though they are become presumptuous. 

 

The enemy watches and thou art sleeping. Let us not fail in prayer; God takes not away, though He may defer that which He will grant.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

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WONDERS

 

A dead man was raised back to life and people were amazed; and yet, daily, men are raised to life from nothing through birth and this excites no one. Many marveled when water was turned into wine but no one marvels when water is turned into wine in grape vines every year.

 

St. Augustine

 

* * * 

 

LATE HAVE I LOVED YOU

Late have I loved You, beauty so old and so new; late have I loved You. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought You there, and, in my unlovely state, I plunged into those lovely created things which You made. You were with me, and I was not with You.

The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness.

You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours. 

St. Augustine

 

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ANGELS

Both angels and  man belong to the grace of God. What is an angel before he was made? Like man, nothing. What is an angel if he forsakes his master? Like man, nothing.

St. Augustine

 

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COUNTLESSNESS OF OUR SINS

 

Who among you can count the hair on his head? Much more so the number of your sins that exceed the hair on your head. They are countless as they are minute. We may be cautious with regard to great sins, like plundering other's properties, blasphemy, bearing false witness or committing murder. But the smaller sins are countless as the sands of the ocean, the stars of the sky and the grass of the mountains.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

* * *

 

 

ATONEMENT FOR SINS

 

Our first parents sinned in hearing when they lent ear to the serpent; they sinned in seeing, for they saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasant to the eyes and, seeing, they lusted after it; they sinned in touch for they plucked the fruit; they sinned in taste, for they ate of it and they sinned in smelling for they smelled the fragrance of the fruit.

 

In atonement for these sins the Second Adam suffered in hearing by reproach and blasphemies and false witnesses. In sight, He suffered by beholding Himself encompassed with enemies, and by the tears He constantly shed. In touch, He suffered for all His nerves were wrung. . .and when he was brought to this mound of corruption, Golgotha. 

 

St. Augustine

 

 

* * *

 

 

You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones. You desire to erect a very high building? Think first of the foundation of humility. The higher one intends it, the deeper must the foundations be laid.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

* * *

 

 

The mind of man can never know God; for what is in the mind of man are knowledge of what God is not, but not what God is. The wisdom of who God is, is a free revelation from God given to those who share the humility of Christ.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

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GOD IN MY HEART

 

How can the  infinite God of earth and heaven come into my small heart? And how can I invite to enter one who is already there, because he is present in all things?

 

Yet even heaven and earth cannot contain you, any more than my heart can. It is not possible to limit one who fills everything. But to say you are everywhere, Lord, is not to say that everywhere has all of you.

 

Though you fill all things, you do not of necessity give them all of yourself. So I will pray that my heart, where you already have a foothold, may receive more and more of you, until one day the whole of me will be filled with the whole of you.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

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ANGELS

 

Angels are spirits; but it is not because they are spirits that they are angels. It is when they are sent, that they become angels. For angel is the name of an office, not of a nature. . .By reason of what they are, they are spirits. By reason of what they do, they are angels.

 

St. Augustine

 

 

* * *

 

ALL CREATURES ARE GOOD

Every creature of God is good and every man, in so far as he is a man, is a creature -- but not by virtue of the fact that he is a sinner. So God is the Creator of both human body and soul. Neither of these is evil, nor does God hate either of them; for He hates none of the things He has made. But the conscious soul is better than the body; while God, the Maker and Founder of both, is still more excellent and He hates nothing in man except sin. Sin for man is a disorder and perversion, that is, a turning away from the most worthy Creator and a turning toward the inferior things that He has created. 

St. Augustine

 

* * *

 

THE RACE TOWARDS DEATH

Our whole life is nothing but a race towards death, in which no one is allowed to stand still for a little space, or to go somewhat more slowly; but all are driven forward with an impartial movement, and with equal rapidity.

Death begins at birth. As soon as man is born, he begins to sicken; he only terminates his sickness by his death. 

St. Augustine

 

* * *

 

The devil rules over lovers of temporal goods belonging to this visible world not because he is lord of this world but because he is ruler of those covetous desires by which we long for all that passes away. 

St. Augustine

 

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“BE STILL.”

Thus God commands us. To what purpose? That you may know that God is God; that we are not God but God is God. He created us. Be still, that is, restrain your souls from contradicting Him. Do not argue nor arm yourselves against God. Be still, because you have nothing wherewith to fight God. And if you keep still and seek all from God then you shall know that God is God.

St. Augustine

 

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FREE WILL, NOT FATE

Our actions are directed by free will and subject to the compulsion of inescapable fate.

God promised us the reward of His kingdom and threatened us with eternal punishment. He would not have done this if we are bound by necessity.

The advantage of advancing years lies in discovering that traditions are true, practical and, therefore, alive. Tradition is tradition, precisely because it is alive. It is great fun to find out that the world has not repeated the sayings of the Fathers and the Saints not because they are proverbial but because they are practical.

St. Augustine

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(10-10-10)

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