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The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm XLVI
9th Sunday after Trinity Home

GRANT to us Lord we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, which cannot be without thee, may by thee be able to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source Leonine [440-461] taken in the Gelasian Sacramentary [492-496]. One is reminded of Paul's Epistle to Philemon vs 1:6 "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." The 1662 Anglican Prayer Book revision read "that we, who cannot do anything that is good, may..." The Collect clearly points to God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in aiding us to do good. This theme was made a canon in the ecumenical councils and is part of the Order's vow.

Psalms 46 47 | 44 45, 1 Corinthians x. 1   &   St. Luke xvi. 1 

Homily of Augustine on Psalm XLVI

"Be still and see that I am God"


Augstine wrote of this 10th verse of Psalm 46:

13. What then followeth? "Be still." To what purpose? "And see that I am God" (ver. 10). That is, Not ye, but I am God. I created, I create anew; I formed, I form anew; I made, I make anew. If thou couldest not make thyself, how canst thou make thyself anew? This seeth not the contentious tumult of man's soul; to which contentious tumult is it said, "Be still." That is, restrain your souls from contradiction. Do not argue, and, as it were, arm against God. Else yet live thy arms, not yet burned up with fire. But if they are burned, "Be still;" because ye have not wherewith to fight. But if ye be still in yourselves, and from Me seek all, who before presumed on yourselves, then shall ye "see that I am God." "I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Just before I said, by the name of earth is signified the nation of the Jews, by the name of sea the other nations. The mountains were carried into the heart of the sea; the nations are troubled, the kingdoms are bowed; the Most High gave His Voice, and the earth was moved. "The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our taker up" (ver. 11). Miracles are done among the heathen, full filled is the faith of the heathen; burned are the arms of human presumption. Still are they, in tranquillity of heart, to acknowledge God the Author of all their gifts. And after this glorifying, doth He yet desert the people of the Jews? of which saith the Apostle, "I say unto you, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."  That is, until the mountains be carried hither, the clouds rain here, the Lord here bows the kingdoms with His thunder, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." And what thereafter? "And so all Israel shall be saved." Therefore, here too observing the same order, "I will be exalted" (saith He) "among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth;" that is, both in the sea, and in the earth, that now might all say what followeth: "the God of Jacob is our taker up." 

Augustine links this verse to the preceding on where he speaks of "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth" 

Sometimes we feel like our "arms" (that is armament, our ability to fight) are indeed burned up. We begin to feel impotent against the onrush of change that breaks down the good we have known. It is at those times that Augustine says, "be still" ; because you have not wherewith to fight". In that stillness know that God is Sovereign; although it may seem that all is going to ruin; we must have faith that our Sovereign will prevail, in the long run, until all are put under his feet. We see also that he points to the prophesy of Paul, that when Jesus has brought in the fullness of the Gentiles, then Israel shall be saved, and then every knee shall bend to the King of Kings, some in abject subjection whose rebellion has been broken; some in victory.  Which side shall you be on? I want to be on the side of victory and sing with my brethren "O when the saints, go marching in...I want to be in that number...".  Compare Romans 11:1-26

There is a battle that you can fight when your arms seem burned up, and that is the righteous battle of conscientious objection and reasoned disobedience to corrupt authority. Beware that you will be hated all the more (if that is possible); you may be penalized, ostracized, sued, or convicted. Know that the battle will be joined by others--you will not be alone. Let the motto, "Fear God and Do What is Right", be your rule.  

An example is the threat of disobedience and the demonstration of righteous force in the Manhattan Declaration. It stands against any rule of Government which would attempt to require folk to act in a manner that is counter to the Gospel. It is a place to stand, and stand firm.

GRANT to us Lord we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, which cannot be without thee, may by thee be able to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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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