Sunday, August 29, 2010

More from "Confessions"

How great was your love for us, good father, for you did not even spare your own son, but gave him up to save us sinners! How great was your love for us, when it was for us the Christ, who did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on the cross! He who alone was free among the dead for he was free to lay down his life and free to take it up again, was for us both Victor and Victim in your sight, and it was because he was the Victim that he was also the Victor. In your sight he was for us both Priest and Sacrifice, and it was because he was the Sacrifice that he was also the Priest. By being your Son, yet serving you, he freed us from servitude and made us your sons. Rightly do I place in him my firm hope that you will cure all my ills through him who sits at your right hand and pleads for us; other wise I should despair. For my ills are many and great, many and great indeed; but your medicine is greater still. We might have thought that your Word was far distant from union with man, and so we might have despaired of ourselves, if he had not been made flesh and come to dwell among us. Terrified by my sins and the dead weight of my misery, I had turned my problems over in my mind and was half determined to seek refuge in the desert. But you forbade me to do this and gave me strength by saying : Christ died for us all, so that being alive should no longer mean living with our own life, but with his life who died for us. Lord, I cast all my troubles on you and from now on I shall contemplate the wonders of your law. You know how weak I am and how inadequate is my knowledge: teach me and heal my frailty. Your only Son, in whom the whole treasury of wisdom and knowledge is stored up, has redeemed me with his blood. Save me from the scorn of my enemies, for the price of my redemption is always in my thoughts, I eat is and drink it and minister it to others; and as one of the poor I long to be filled with it, to be one of those who eat and have their fill. And those who look for the Lord will cry out in praise of him.

St Augustine Confessions Book X Chapter 43 (pp 251-251)
R.S. Pine-Coffin (1961) Middlesex, England; Penguin Classics.

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