Have mercy that I may tell you

St. Augustine of Hippo begins his great work “Confessions” with a question: “How shall I call upon my God and my Lord, when by the very act of calling upon him I would be calling himself into myself? Is there any place within me into which my God might come? How can God who made the heaven and earth come into me? Is there any room in me for you, Lord, my God?” (I:2)

As Augustine continues to write, you can sense his feeling of frustration or bafflement grow until he asks the ultimate question to God that we all should ask of ourselves: “What are you to me?” Then wonderfully Augustine continues, “Have mercy on me, so that I may tell you.” (I:5) Augustine then proceeds with the rest of “Confessions” in which he finds God in the telling of his own story – not in the universe or theological books – but in his own story. Continue reading

About just anger…

And well do you know, my excellent brother, how, in the midst of such offenses, we must watch lest hatred of any one gain a hold upon the heart, and so not only hinder us from praying to God with the door of our chamber closed, but also shut the door against God Himself; for hatred of another insidiously creeps upon us, while no one who is angry considers his anger to be unjust. For anger habitually cherished against any one becomes hatred, since the sweetness which is mingled with what appears to be righteous anger makes us detain it longer than we ought in the vessel, until the whole is soured, and the vessel itself is spoiled. Wherefore it is much better for us to forbear from anger, even when one has given us just occasion for it, than, beginning with what seems just anger against any one, to fall, through this occult tendency of passion, into hating him. (St. Augustine’s “Letter to Profuturus” (Letter 38))