Tag Archives: Augustine of Hippo

Day 38 – Holy Thursday


 

March 29

Remember Me

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


Prayer Thought

Lord forgive me!


“Therefore once for all this short command is given to you. ‘Love and do what you will.’ If you keep silent, keep

c. 1480

c. 1480 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

silent by love; if you speak, speak by love; if you correct, correct by love; if you pardon, pardon by love: let love be rooted in you, and from the root nothing but good can grow.”

—Augustine of Hippo

Leave a comment

Filed under Lenten Reflections 2018

Love of God

Abba John the Dwarf said, ‘A house is not built by beginning at the top and working down. You must begin with the foundations in order to reach the top.’ They said to him,’ What does this saying mean?’ He said, ‘The foundation is our neighbor, whom we must trust, and that is the place to begin. For all the commandments of Christ depend on this one.’

—-Abba John the Dwarf

This saying is based on the biblical record of a conversation that occurred between Jesus and a lawyer. He ask Him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself..” The fascinating thing about the wisdom of the monk is that he tells us to begin with something we can see. As much as we would all desire, we can’t see God in the flesh. The key to experiencing God is understanding the depth of His love. God loves us at our worst and we are challenged to love our neighbors at their worst.Love of God KJV

All too often we go for what is easy, and the foundation of our spiritual house is sinking sand. The love of neighbor is the key to understanding of the nature of God. He is a loving and understanding creator, and not a cruel and harsh master. With a heart of compassion and mercy, He welcomes sinners into His kingdom. They don’t not get the “cheap seats,” but receive a regal welcome. The beginning of that journey is to see God in His creation. Trusting His creation is trusting Him.

Prayer

Lord help me to grasp this most difficult teaching of loving my neighbor. All too often our neighbors are those who hurt us the most. Allow your grace and my understanding of your love to rise to a level that allows this love to flow from me. In the act of such love we find an elusive peace that brings us closer to you.

Amen

7 Comments

Filed under Desert Fathers, John the Dwarf

The Imagined Self

All mature religion must and will talk about the death of any notion of a separate, and therefore false, self. (Most of the time when you read the word “sin” in the Bible, if you substitute the word “separate” you will understand the core problem being pointed out.) The True Self can let go of any false autonomy and self-sufficiency because it is radically safe at its core.

The True Self is then like a baby that can crawl away from its mother (God), knowing fully she will grab him back if there is any danger whatsoever. What confidence and security that gives the True Self—to actually do whatever it is it has to do. Only the True Self can understand Augustine’s dangerous line: “Love God and do what you will!” To tell that to the False Self would be disastrous. It would be like telling a seventeen-year-old boy to trust his hormones.

self-centeredThe separate self is the False Self, and this fragile identity will need to over-define itself as unique, special, superior, and adequate. What a trap. So Jesus must say, “Unless the single grain of wheat dies, it remains just a single grain. But if it does die, it will bear much fruit” (John 12:24).

Whenever you are loving someone or something else, you have died on some level—and let go of your separate self. As Stephen Levine, the master teacher on dying, said, our fear of death comes from an imaginary loss of an imaginary self.

These seeming losses are not loss at all but actually expansion. Please think and pray about this. It will allow you to overcome your fear of death. Our False Self is precisely our individual singularity in both its “Aren’t I wonderful!” and “Aren’t I terrible!” forms. Each are their own kind of ego trip, and both take the tiny little self far too seriously.

The true saint is no longer surprised at his littleness or her greatness. A mouse in a mansion does not need to take lessons in humility.

—–Richard Rhor

3 Comments

Filed under Richard Rhor

Day 17– March 9

Mark in Forty Days

This year I am reading through the Gospel of Mark during the forty days of Lent. My suggested plan is that you do these readings in Lectio Divina  format.

Today’s reading

Mark 8:1-13

Prayer Thought

Grant to us, O Lord, purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no passion may hinder us from doing your will, and no weakness from doing it; that in your light we may see light clearly, and in your service find perfect freedom; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible Reading, Lent

A Bright Sadness

There is a gravitas in the second half of life, but it is now held up by a much deeper lightness, or “okayness.” Our mature years are characterized by a kind of bright sadness and a sober happiness, if that makes any sense. There is still darkness in the second half of life—in fact maybe even more. But there is now a changed capacity to hold it creatively and with less anxiety. It is what John of the Cross called “luminous darkness,” and it explains the simultaneous coexistence of deep suffering and intense joy that we see in the saints, which is almost impossible for most of us to imagine.

Life is much more spacious now, the boundaries of the container having been enlarged by the constant addition of new experiences and relationships. You are like an expandable suitcase, and you became so almost without your noticing. Now you are just here, and here holds more than enough. Such “hereness,” however, has its own heft, authority, and influence.

One’s growing sense of infinity and spaciousness is no longer found just “out there” but most especially “in here.” The inner and the outer have become one. You can trust your inner experience now, because even God has allowed it, used it, received it, and refined it. As St. Augustine dramatically put it in his Confessions:

You were within, but I was without. You were with me, but I was not with you. So you called, you shouted, you broke through my deafness, you flared, blazed, and banished my blindness, you lavished your fragrance, and I gasped.

— Richard Rhor

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Journey, Richard Rhor

Augustine on Scripture

augustine-quotes-3

Leave a comment

October 21, 2014 · 4:33 pm

Self Creation

Saint AugustineAugustine of Hippo speaking to those who doubted the God of creation tells us: “Where could such a creature come but from you, O Lord? Is any man clever enough to have fashioned himself? Or is there any other source from which being and life could flow into us…”

Let us examine two questions.

Where did we originate if not from God?

Recently, Scientist Stephen Hawking has concluded that the Big Bang was the result of the inevitable laws of physics and did not need God to spark the creation of the Universe. Augustine set forth a really good contrary argument when he challenges our origin, if not from God where? This whole concept of scientific randomness is very difficult for me to believe. I believe that the whole mystery of life and death points to a creator. That may be an old fashioned concept, but it brings me a sense of place that far exceeds that I am a random act of physics.

Can we create ourselves?

Man has been trying to create himself for a very long time, but we have never become clever enough to succeed. From the earliest days of science we have sought to find the key to life, and it is a noble quest. A man can no more create himself than he suspend himself in the air. There must be help to do such a thing. Creation is God’s providence. Humans are very presumptuous when they claim to have this matter solved. Life and faith are about mystery, not certainty!

May God allow His essence to continue to flow through us.

Leave a comment

Filed under Augustine of Hippo, Creation, Science and Religion

Silent Love

Augustine of Hippo by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1490.

Augustine of Hippo

“Love, and do what you will. If you keep silence, do it out of love. If you cry out, do it out of love. If you refrain from punishing, do it out of love.”

― Augustine of Hippo

Augustine speaks of silence as a form of love. I propose that in our silence , we show the ultimate love to others. Our world is a place of “getting it straight,” but Augustine tells us that is not always the answer. Jesus says, “Turn the other cheek,” and by doing so we have expressed true Christianity. The challenge is to know when to speak and when to refrain from speaking. The twenty-first century world tells us that every doubt must be addressed, every question must be answered, every offense must be rectified, but that is not always so. Might we hear the word of the great Church Father, and know that silence is, at times, pure love. Think about it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Augustine of Hippo, Christian Living, Conflict, Missional Living, Motive