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The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm LXIX

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LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source Bishop Gelasians Sacrmentary [494] where appointed for the Sunday before Ember Days in the Autumn. Ember days were for penitence, fasting, and the Saturday for ordinations in Rome. The 1662 added temptations of the world, the fleshOne is reminded of the Lord's prayer and of 2 Peter 2:9

Psalm 69, Ephesians iv. 1   &   St. Luke xiv. 1 
Homily - Psalm LXIX by Augustine

Human life upon earth is trial," and that no one is at all secure, nor ought to be secure, until he be come to that country, whence no one that is a friend goeth forth, into which no one that is an enemy is admitted


Augustine opens his discussion of the text of Psalm 69 with this introduction, which touches on the appointed ancient collect of  the Gelasian Sacramentary, and our need for constant protection from the wiles of Satan.

We have been born into this world, and added to the people of God, at that period wherein already the herb from a grain of mustard seed hath spread out its branches; wherein already the leaven, which at first was contemptible, hath leavened three measures, that is, the whole round world repeopled by the three sons of Noe: for from East and West and North and South shall come they that shall sit down with the Patriarchs, while those shall have been driven without, that have been born of their flesh and have not imitated their faith. Unto his glory then of Christ's Church our eyes we have opened; and that barren one, for whom joy was proclaimed and foretold, because she was to have more sons than she that had the husband, her we have found to be such an one as hath forgotten the reproaches and infamy of her widowhood: and so we may perhaps wonder when we chance to read in any prophecy the words of Christ's humiliation, or our own. And it may be, that we are less affected by them; because we have not come at that time when these things were read with zest, in that tribulation abounded. But again if we think of the abundance of tribulations, and observe the way wherein we are walking (if indeed we do walk in it), how narrow it is, and how through straits and tribulations it leadeth unto rest everlasting, and how that very thing which in human affairs is called felicity, is more to be feared than misery; since indeed misery ofttimes doth bring out of tribulation a good fruit, but felicity doth corrupt the soul with a perverse security, and giveth place for the Devil the Tempter--when, I say, we shall have judged prudently and rightly, as the salted victim did, that "human life upon earth is trial," and that no one is at all secure, nor ought to be secure, until he be come to that country, whence no one that is a friend goeth forth, into which no one that is an enemy is admitted, even now in the very glory of the Church we acknowledge the voices of our tribulation: and being members of Christ, subject to our Head in the bond of love, and mutually supporting one another, we will say from the Psalms, that which here we have found the Martyrs said, who were before us; that tribulation is common to all men from the beginning even unto the end.... 

One of our dear brothers and a senior tribune wrote to me this week on the occasion of  Michael the Militant Archangel with earnest prayers for our Order and her members, for the blessings of God and for Protection.  That is the very subject of our collect this day, and Augustine surly did emphasize this to his listeners as he approached this psalm.  How many have seen a new convert become secure in his faith, only to suffer a terrible fall to the wiles of Satan or the cares of this world?  It often happens to the most sincere, who will become bedeviled with riches, comfort, false security, and a lack of vigilance, and then comes their fall-and a great fall it is.  It happened very recently to a minister who had engaged in the false and misleading "prosperity gospel" that celebrates greed and material gain and leads the flock astray. It has happened to our presidents and also to the very meanest of our society. No one is exempt. It can happen to you too friend. The devil is not impressed with claims of once saved always saved, or election; indeed, he tested Peter, and it took our Lord's protection and prayers to lead him back.  

I give thanks for the prayer an intention of our brother centurion, and bid you to join him. This is the Sunday next after Michaelmas, and the founding of the Order. Let us all join with our brother centurions this day as we pray for our brethren, indeed the entire church, that he might "grant us grace to withstand the devil, and ...pure hearts to follow him" .

I always give thanks for the following prayer that you can always find on our web site and in a link our our newsleterss that was composed by one of our senior tribunes in the beginning. I invite you to say it this day with the intentions introduced by Gelasius and Augustine, and as underlined below:

O Christ, our Leader in life's battle; We pray you; love all fellow officers of the Order of Centurions and teach them to love you with all their hearts and minds that they may think and speak and do only such things as are well-pleasing to you. Give them ready grace always to be strong and good, faithful and brave soldiers. Give them the courage to boldly witness their faith in you by their thoughts, words and actions. Graciously assist them with your heavenly help that they may ever diligently serve you and by no temptation be separated from you; who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen

I am thankful too for our brothers who have been vigilant in exposing the pundits of prosperity  and their false teachings, and have thereby acted as Christ's own soldiers to defended the church against the wiles of Satan and the temptations of the world.


File:Papa Gelasio I.jpg
 Bishop of Rome
Saint of the Church out of Africa

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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