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Sundays with Augustine

November 26, 2006

“If, therefore, Christ came chiefly for this reason that man might learn how much God loves him, and might learn this to the end that he might begin to glow with love of Him by whom he was first loved, and so might love his neighbor at the bidding and after the example of Him who made Himself man’s neighbor by loving him, when instead of being His neighbor he was wandering far from Him; if, moreover, all divine Scripture that was written before was written to foretell the coming of the Lord, and if whatever has since been committed to writing and established by divine authority tells of Christ and counsels love, then it is evident that on these two commandments of the love of God and the love of our neighbor depend not merely the whole law and the Prophets (which at the time when the Lord uttered these precepts were as yet the only Holy Scripture), but also all the inspired books that have been written at a later period for our welfare and handed down to us. Therefore, in the Old Testament the New is concealed, and in the New the Old is revealed. In keeping with that concealment, carnal men, understanding only carnally, both then were, and now are, made subject to fear of punishment. But in keeping with this revelation spiritual men, understanding spiritually (both of former times to whom, when they devoutly knocked, hidden things were revealed, and those of the present time, who do not seek in pride, lest even what is manifest should be hidden from them), are made free by the bestowal of love. Since therefore nothing is more opposed to love than envy, and the mother of envy is pride, the same Lord Jesus Christ, God-Man, is at once a token of divine love towards us and an example among us of man’s lowliness, to the end that our swollen conceit, great as it is, may be healed by an even greater antidote. For the misery of man’s pride is great, but the commiseration of God’s humility is greater.

With this love, then, set before you as an end to which you may refer all that you say, so give all your instructions that he to whom you speak by hearing may believe, and by believing may hope, and by hoping may love.”

De Catechizandis Rudibus, 4.8

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