The Divine PhysicianThe Will of GodThe Love of GodLonging for GodDeath
The Divine Physician
Throw yourself at Him; do not be afraid. He will not step back and let you fall. Fearlessly throw yourself at Him, for He will welcome you and heal you.
Though I did not wish to look at myself, You, Lord, turned me back towards myself. You grabbed me from behind my back where I was standing and made me face myself so that I might see how evil I was.
THE HEALING PHYSICIAN
Be assured that all your diseases will be healed. Have no fear. You may say that your diseases are powerful; but this physician is more powerful. There is no disease that the Almighty Physician cannot cure. Just allow yourself to be healed and do not reject His healing hands. He knows what he is doing.
Bring relief to a serious wound with Your great medicine. Mine is serious, but I take refuge in the Almighty. I would despair of such a grave injury unless I had recourse to a great physician.
The Will of God
GOD’S ANSWER, NOT OURS
O Truth, you are present to those who seek your help, and at one and the same time you answer all, though they seek your counsel on different matters. You respond clearly, but not everyone hears clearly. All ask what they wish but do not always hear the answer they wish. Your best servant is he who is intent not so much on hearing his petition answered, as rather on willing whatever he hears from You.
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her–did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father's will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.
Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power, and a woman cried out, "Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb!" But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied, "More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it." Mary heard God's word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God's truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ; he was kept in Mary's mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order that what is carried in the womb.
The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent–the most eminent–member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ.
The Love of God
You had pierced our hearts with the arrow of your love, and we carried your words transfixed on our souls.
Lord, let my whole heart be inflamed with love for you;
let nothing in me belong to me and let me have no thought for myself;
let me burn and be wholly consumed in you; let me love you with my whole being as one set on fire by you.
May the Lord Jesus Christ give you a heart to love Him,
A will to choose Him, an understanding to conceive Him,
A reason which will adhere to him,
and may that God of love and mercy love you eternally.
AUGUSTINE'S GREAT CANTICLE OF LOVE (Confessions 10, 6-8)
My love of you, God, is not some vague feeling;
It is positive and certain.
Your word struck into my heart,
and from that moment I loved you.
Besides this, all about me,
heaven and earth and all that they contain
proclaim that I should love you.
But what do I love when I love you?
Not material beauty of a temporal order;
not the brilliance of earthly light;
not the sweet melody of harmony and song;
not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes, and spices;
not manna or honey;
and not limbs the body delights to embrace.
It is not these that I love when I love my God.
And yet, when I love him,
it is true that I love a light of a certain kind,
a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;
but they are the kind that I love in my inner self,
when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space;
when it listens to sound that never dies away;
when it breathes fragrance that is not borne away on the wind;
when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating;
when it clings to an embrace from which
it is not severed by fulfillment of desire.
This is what I love when I love my God.
Longing for God
I do not desire to be more certain of you, but to be more deeply rooted in you.
How long, how long must I continue to say: Tomorrow and again tomorrow?Why not now?Why not wash away my uncleanness this very hour?
You alone do I love, You alone do I follow, You alone do I seek. I am prepared to serve only you, because you alone govern justly, and I wish to be under your rule. I ask that only in your great mercy you convert me wholly to yourself and allow nothing to prevent me from coming to you. Grant that while I live, I may be temperate, strong, just, and prudent, in love with your wisdom and capable of understanding, worthy of your blessed kingdom, and one day a dweller in that Kingdom.
LATE HAVE I LOVED YOU
I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.
Late have I loved you, O Beauty, ever ancient ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in my breath, and now I pant for you. I have tasted you; now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
COMMENTARY ON PSALMS BY ST. AUGUSTINE.
Our pilgrimage on earth can not be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.
The one who cries from the ends of the earth is in anguish, but is not left on his own. Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are his body in which he has died, risen, and ascended into heaven so that the members of his body may hope to follow where their head has gone before.
He made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan.We have heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil; in Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you.
If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation.
Scripture says, “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His holy ones." We must look upon the mystery of death with the eyes of faith so that we shall believe what we do not see and shall bear with fortitude the evils to which we are unjustly subjected. Admittedly, it is not in our power to determine how our death may come about.However, it does lie in our power to determine how we live, so that we may die without fear."(sermon 306,2)
"O death, when you seized my Lord, you then lost your grip on me."(sermon 233,5)
My brethren, the appointed time is short: from now on let those who have wives live as though they had none; and those who mourn as though they were not mourning; and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing; and those who buy as though they had no goods; and those who deal with this world act as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away. But I wish you to be without anxiety. He who is without anxiety waits without fear until his Lord comes. For what sort of love of Christ is it to fear his coming? Brothers, do we not have to blush for shame? We love him, yet we fear his coming. Are we really certain that we love him? Or do we love our sins more? Therefore let us hate our sins and love him who will exact punishment for them. He will come whether we wish it or not. Do not think that because he is not coming just now, he will not come at all. He will come, you know not when; and provided he finds you prepared, your ignorance of the time that he is coming will not be held against you.
FROM A SERMON BY OUR HOLY FATHER SAINT AUGUSTINE
...If then, even animals, shun death and love life—animals which are created in such a way that each is meant to die when its time comes—how much more should death be shunned by man, who was created that if he had been willing to live without sin he would have lived for ever?
It is inevitable, therefore, that we should be sad when those we love desert us by dying. Although we know that they are not leaving us for ever, but that we who remain will follow them who have gone a little in advance of us, nevertheless, when that death our nature shrinks from seizes one we love, it strikes us in the very love we bear. That is why the Apostle did not tell us that we should not be saddened, but that we should not be saddened in the same way as those who have no hope. In the death of those who are close to us we experience both sadness at the necessity of losing them and hope of getting them back. By the former we are distressed, by the latter consoled; in the one our weakness touches us, in the other faith restores us. In our loss the human condition mourns, but through hope the divine promise heals.
...However, there is no doubt that the dead are helped by the prayers of holy Church, by the saving sacrifice, and by alms dispensed for their souls; these things are done that they may be more mercifully dealt with by the Lord than their sins deserve. The whole Church observes the custom handed down by our fathers: that those who have died within the fellowship of Christ's body and blood should be prayed for when they are commemorated in their own place at the holy sacrifice, and that we should be reminded that this sacrifice is also offered for them. When these acts of mercy are solemnly performed for their sake, who can doubt that we are truly giving them our support? The prayers we offer to God for them are not futile. We must not waver in our belief that they are profitable to the dead, to those of the dead at least who have lived in such a way before death that these things can be useful to them afterward.
Faithful hearts should be allowed, then, to mourn for their loved ones, but with a grief that can be healed; let them shed over our mortal condition tears that can be wiped away, tears that can be quickly checked by the joy of that faith which assures us that when believers die they go but a little distance from us that they may pass to a better estate.