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The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXIX KOPH
5th Sunday Home

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Source: Sacramentary of Gregory, Bishop of Rome [600 AD]. The "people" in this translation is familia in Latin. 

Isaiah i. 10, Psalm 42, 43 | 119:145–176 , Hebrews ix. 11, St. John viii. 46.

"I have called with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord!
I will search out Thy righteousnesses."


The verse above comes from Augustine's homily, and is worded differently in the English KJV translation as "I will keep thy statutes."  I have before me the  Orthodox Study Bible based on the Septuagint version where it is rendered like that which Augustine had before him in Latin as "I shall search your ordinances."

I am reminded of Paul who spoke of the noble Bereans when he wrote, "These [of Berea] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; [Acts 17:11ff]

In this age of computers, searching the scriptures has become a very easy task. Simply going to Google and entering part of a verse will normally produces many resources.  I am using E-Sword freely given to all  as I compose this letter. Yet, we find that not many  today are able to call on the wealth of wisdom that God has given to us in his greatest icon...the Bible... because they have never truly heard the Word.  Let us hear what Augustine said on this verse in today's homily:

 …He who singeth this Psalm, mentioneth such a prayer of his own: "I have called with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord!". For to what end his cry profiteth, he addeth: "I will search out Thy righteousnesses." For this purpose then he hath called with his whole heart, and hath longed that this might be given him by the Lord listening unto him, that he may search out His righteousnesses… 


Augustine makes an important point in the part of man and the part of God in saying that he longed that this might be given him by the Lord...that he may search out his righteousness.    It is only those whom God has called and convicted which may find God's righteousness.  Oh, many read his words. They may become academic "experts" in the criticism of the text, They may gain a tremendous knowledge of the scriptures, but if God has not gone before them, they shall not be able to "know" him. Their faith will be dead.  Their minds may understand the words, but  their hearts will not embrace the Truth.  For it is God that quickens the heart, strengthens faith, and leads us into all Truth.

This week a fellow centurion shared with me an article by Albert Mohler discussing a new study on atheism in the pulpit. It looks at those book-wise seminary trained clerks who stand before their cure as  ministers, but who do not believe in even the existence of God, much less Christ as Savior. Beware of the leaven of these lost and accursed souls whose end shall be the pit. See Mohler's article here: 


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"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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