Friday, August 28, 2009


“St Augustine”
by Pieter Pauwel Rubens, 1639


Biographical Information about St. Augustine [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Augustine

Readings and Commentary:

1 John 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.
Commentary on
1 Jn 4:7-16

Love as we share in it testifies to the nature of God and to his presence in our lives. One who loves shows that one is a child of God and knows God, for God's very being is love; one without love is without God. The revelation of the nature of God's love is found in the free gift of his Son to us, so that we may share life with God and be delivered from our sins. The love we have for one another must be of the same sort: authentic, merciful; this unique Christian love is our proof that we know God and can "see" the invisible God.
CCC: 1 Jn 4:8 214, 221, 733, 1604; 1 Jn 4:9 458, 516; 1 Jn 4:10 457, 604, 614, 620, 1428; 1 Jn 4:11-12 735; 1 Jn 4:14 457; 1 Jn 4:16 221, 733, 1604
Psalm 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
R. (12) Lord, teach me your statutes.

How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Commentary on
Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

An acrostic poem; each of the eight verses of the first strophe (aleph) begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; each verse of the second strophe (beth) begins with the second letter; and so on for all 22 letters of the alphabet.

The entire work is in praise of the Law, and the joys to be found in keeping it. It is not "legalism" but a love and desire for the word of God in Israel's Law, which is the expression of the Lord's revelation of himself and his will for man.

Matthew 23:8-12

Jesus spoke to his disciples:
"Do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Commentary on Mt 23:8-12

Jesus has launched an attack on the Jewish Leadership for their authoritarian style; placing burdens on the people and seeking places of honor and titles for themselves. In this selection he describes his example of spiritual leadership. He speaks of the humility he exemplifies, placing God the Father in the place of the one true master with all who follow him as servants. See also
Luke 14:11.

CCC: Mt 23:9 2367; Mt 23:12 526

What can be said of the great St. Augustine that has not already been said by so many of the faithful throughout the centuries? He is one with whom all of us who struggle with the faith and are tempted can identify. His fall into sin and his conversion and ultimate elevation to the high councils of the Church are well documented by historians and perhaps most importantly by himself in his Confessions.

That he rose from the ashes of sin and debauchery to be held as one of great holiness gives hope to those of use who fall prey to the lures of secular society. We do not praise him because he fell but rather that he rose from that fall in humility and faith. Always in life he pointed to a higher standard than the one he felt he had attained himself. His great intellect, guided by that faith is a treasure of the Church.

As we celebrate his memorial today we are reminded, as was great St. Augustine that while we may be called to places of greatness, our true measure will be that our efforts are on behalf of God and for his glory and not our own. We recall the words of St. Matthew who in chronicling the Lord recalls his words; “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." May we always place the Glory of the Lord before any other motive that our reward may be received in heaven.


[1] The picture is “St Augustine” by Pieter Pauwel Rubens, 1639
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] NAB footnote on 1 John 4:7-16

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