Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More St. Augustine: Thoughts for Lent

St. Augustine and the Fire of Wisdom
Here's a quote from St. Augustine's Confessions that's particularly apt for this season of Lent:
"I struggle each day against concupiscence in eating and drinking.  It is not something I can resolve to cut off and touch no more, as I would with concubinage.  The bridle put on the throat must be held with moderate looseness and moderate firmness. Is there anyone, Lord, who is not carried a little beyond personal need?" St. Augustine,  as quoted in Augustine Day by Day for 24th Feb..
Lord, give me strength to be both moderate and firm.

Added 26th February:
"Your fast would be rejected if you were immoderately severe toward your servant.  Will it be approved if you fail to recognize your brother or sister?I am not asking what food you abstain from, but what you love.   Do you love Justice?   Well, let your love be seen!  ibid, for 26th Feb.. 
Added 28th February:

All these endeavors for fasting are concerned not about the rejection of certain foods as unclean, but about the subjugation of inordinate desire and the maintenance of neighborly love.Charity especially is guarded:  food is subservient to charity, speech to charity, and facial expressions to charity.   Everything works together for Charity alone."  ibid, for 27th February.
The last sentence in the last quote is difficult to understand.   I think it means that our Lenten vows as to what we speak and how we look at others are altogether subservient to what we do in love (charity) for our neighbors.

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About Me

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Retired, cranky, old physicist.   Convert to Catholicism in 1995.   Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith.   Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see   and

Extraordinary Minister of Communion volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC.
Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

And, finally, my motivation:
“It is also necessary—may God grant it!—that in providing others with books to read I myself should make progress, and that in trying to answer their questions I myself should find what I am seeking.
Therefore at the command of God our Lord and with his help, I have undertaken not so much to discourse with authority on matters known to me as to know them better by discoursing devoutly of them.”
St. Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity I,8.