Somehow it didn’t seem so long, but we’ve been away from the blog for a while, so the feast of St. Augustine seems as good a time as any to dust the cobwebs from our digital parlor.
Though he’s been bumped today because his feast falls on a Sunday, it’s not difficult to tie this great Father of the Church into today’s Gospels, since he had so much to say about so many things. It seems as though half of the patristic readings in the Office of Readings come from him, so we spend a good part of our lives listening to his sermons. And while we didn’t find a specific homily on today’s reading from Luke (Lk 14:1,7-14), where Jesus encourages us to take the lowest place at the table because every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted, he did have a lot to say on humility. In fact, he said it was central to the Christian faith and the first rung on the ladder to perfection.
It is significant that Augustine saw his moment of moral conversion in the garden at Milan as being prompted by a little child (he professed unawareness of the gender of the child, or even of the ditty the child was singing). (Confessions 8, 12, 29) It was not a conversion moment that happened in a dialogue with the Bishop [Ambrose], but through the unintended singing of an unseen child who was unaware of the impact being made. This was a perfect vehicle of conversion for one sorely tempted by pride. (From augnet.org)
Here is what St. Augustine himself said to us this morning in the Office:
Let us then follow Christ’s paths which he has revealed to us, above all the path of humility, which he himself became for us. He showed us that path by his precepts, and he himself followed it by his suffering on our behalf. In order to die for us—because as God he could not die— the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The immortal One took on mortality that he might die for us, and by dying put to death our death.
This is what the Lord did, this the gift he granted to us. The mighty one was brought low, the lowly one was slain, and after he was slain, he rose again and was exalted. For he did not intend to leave us dead in hell, but to exalt in himself at the resurrection of the dead those whom he had already exalted and made just by the faith and praise they gave him. Yes, he gave us the path of humility. If we keep to it we shall confess our belief in the Lord and have good reason to sing: We shall praise you, God, we shall praise you and call upon your name.
St. Augustine, bishop and doctor, pray for us!