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The Third Sunday in Advent

The Third Sunday in Advent
Augustine on Psalm LIII
Advent Three Home

LORD, we beseech thee, give ear to our prayers, and by thy gracious visitation lighten the darkness of our heart, by our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Source: Middle Ages.

Psalms 52, 53 | 93, 94 , 1 Corinthians iv. 1   &  St. Matthew xi. 2

Homily of Augustine on Psalm LIII

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.


Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be expected as elements of a full human existence. Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. "Blessed be the name of the Lord!"[5]

Archbishop of Canterbury and the new North American Anglican Province.. he does not make or unmake Anglicans.. Amen
Cardinal Avery Dulles passes away at age of 90.

The news article on Rowan Williams, who met with Anglican primates from the Southern Cone is telling. The new North America Anglican Province under Bishop Duncan (formally under the Episcopal Church) formed last week to provide an orthodox Anglican church in America that is in communion with the majority of other Anglicans worldwide. In reading of his response that he would neither block or bless the church, I was reminded of Gamaliel, who warned the Sanhedrin to leave the disciples be, for they might be fighting against God (Acts v. 3)
The featured psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 53. It opens with the line:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
There was a time in my life when this verse pertained to me. It took my little girl, a humble chapel with a Centurion as its main window and two faithful chaplains, and the power of the Holy Ghost to move my heart from its foolish assertion into submission and obedience to God and his Son Jesus Christ.  Well, I am not proud of those foolish days, but I know that it matters not what we were, but what we have become through Christ. I take some comfort in knowing that Cardinal Avery Dulles, who was raised a Presbyterian,  and was agnostic by the time he entered Harvard, found God too, and his place of service a Jesuit,  a leading Roman theologian of our times and the only Roman cleric to be elevated to Cardinal (see link above). Lieutenant Dulles was a centurion - a US Naval Officer! He served as liasion with the French Navy in WWII and was awared the Croix de Guere. I hope to add his name and a commemoration page to our calendar of saints in the days to come.
Augustine writes of this verse in his homily:
"The unwise man hath said in his heart, There is no God" (ver. 1). Such sort is it of men amid whom is pained and groaneth the Body of Christ. If such is this sort of men, of not many do we travail; as far as seemeth to occur to our thoughts, very few there are; and a difficult thing it is to meet with a man that saith in his heart, "There is no God;" nevertheless, so few there are, that, fearing amid the many to say this, in their heart they say it, for that with mouth to say it they dare not. Not much then is that which we are bid to endure, hardly is it found: uncommon is that sort of men that say in their heart, "There is no God." But, if it be examined in another sense, is not that found to be in more men, which we supposed to be in men few and uncommon, and almost in none? Let them come forth into the midst that live evil lives, let us look into the doings of profligate, daring, and wicked men, of whom there is a great multitude; who foster day by day their sins, who, their acts having been changed into habit, have even lost sense of shame: this is so great a multitude of men, that the Body of Christ, set amid them, scarce dareth to censure that which it is not constrained to commit, and deemeth it a great matter for itself that the integrity of innocence be preserved in not doing that which now, by habit, either it doth not dare to blame, or if it shall have dared, there breaketh out the censure and recrimination of them that live evil lives, more readily than the free voice of them that live good lives. And those men are such as say in their heart, "There is no God." Such men I am confuting. Whence confuting? That their doings please God, they judge. He doth not therefore affirm, "some say," but "The unwise man hath said in his heart, There is no God." Which men do so far believe there is a God, that the same God they judge with what they do to be pleased. But if thou being wise dost perceive, how "the unwise man hath said in his heart, There is no God," if thou give heed, if thou understand, if thou examine; he that thinketh that evil doings please God, Him he doth not think to be God. For if God is, He is just; if He is just, injustice displeaseth Him, iniquity displeaseth. But thou, when thou thinkest that iniquity pleaseth Him, dost deny God. For if God is one Whom iniquity displeaseth, but God seemeth not to thee to be one whom iniquity displeaseth, and there is no God but one whom iniquity displeaseth, then when thou sayest in thy heart, God doth countenance my iniquities, thou sayest nothing else than, "There is no God."
For a man who does not recognize a law outside of himself, a higher authority of just and unjust, right and wrong, there is only might to make right. I am afraid that is more and more the case these days as this secular humanist society goes its way foolishly denying the eternal laws. These fools follow in the footsteps of the German philosopher Nietzsche who said "Gott is tot" (God is dead, and there is no moral divine law)
Our featured homeliest Augustine of Hippo, however, is famous as a Doctor of the Church for his work in explaining the Natural Law that applies to all men, regardless of creed. Where do you stand, with Augustine or Nietzsche?
pax Christi


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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