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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Meditation for the Feast of St Augustine of Hippo


What the Scribes and Pharisees Needed


Let us lead good lives, and while we lead good lives let us on no account take it for granted that we are without sin. Living a life that is praiseworthy includes begging pardon for things that are blameworthy. But people who are beyond hope pay all the less attention to their own sins, they are more interested in those of others. They are looking for a chance to tear others to bits, not to put them right. Unable to excuse themselves, they are only too ready to accuse others.
Sin cannot possibly go unpunished.  The forces of nature become imbalanced, unstable and unsustainable. If a sin remains unpunished it is naturally unjust, and so undoubtedly it must be punished. This is what your God says to you: “Your sin is punished, either by man repenting or by God judging”. So either it, without you, it is punished by you or else it together with you is punished by God. What is repentance after all, but being angry with oneself? What’s the idea of beating your breast if you aren’t just pretending? Why beat it if you aren’t angry with it? So when you beat your breast you are being angry with your heart in order to make amends to your Lord. This is also how we can understand the text ‘Be angry and do not sin’. Be angry because you have sinned, and by punishing yourself stop sinning. Give your heart a shaking by repentance, and this will be a sacrifice to God.

Saint Augustine of Hippo – Doctor of Grace
Extract from "Magnificat" - August 2012. Vol 2 No11

“He cannot have God for his Father who will not have the Church for his mother.” - St. Augustine

“This is the sum of religion, to imitate whom you worship” - St. Augustine

 

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