Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ask A Father

Q: St. Augustine, which one of Our Lord's miracles do you think is the greatest to be preached?
A: "Among all the miracles wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Lazarus holds a foremost place in preaching. But if we consider attentively who did it, our duty is to rejoice rather than to wonder. A man was raised up by Him who made man: for He is the only One of the Father, by whom, as you know, all things were made. And if all things were made by Him, what wonder is it that one was raised by Him, when so many are daily brought into the world by His power?...

Thou hast just heard that the Lord Jesus raised a dead man to life; and that is sufficient to let thee know that, were He so pleased, He might raise all the dead to life. And, indeed this very work has He reserved in His own hands till the end of the world. For while you have heard that by a great miracle He raised one from the tomb who had been dead four days, "the hour is coming," as He Himself saith, "in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth." He raised one who was putrid, and yet in that putrid carcase there was still the form of limbs; but at the last day He will by a word reconstitute ashes into human flesh. But it was needful then to do only some such deeds, that we, receiving them as tokens of His power, may put our trust in Him, and be preparing for that resurrection which shall be to life and not to judgment. So, indeed, He saith, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."...

If we turn our thoughts to the still more wonderful works of Christ, every one that believeth riseth again: if we all consider, and understand that more horrifying kind of death, every one who sinneth dies. But every man is afraid of the death of the flesh; few, of the death of the soul. In regard to the death of the flesh, which must certainly come some time, all are on their guard against its approach: this is the source of all their labor. Man, destined to die, labors to avert his dying; and yet man, destined to live for ever, labors not to cease from sinning. And when he labors to avoid dying, he labors to no purpose, for its only result will be to put off death for a while, not to escape it; but if he refrain from sinning, his toil will cease, and he shall live for ever. Oh that we could arouse men, and be ourselves aroused along with them, to be as great lovers of the life that abideth, as men are of that which passeth away!"

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