The first post that will be part of a series of posts during this Advent season taking a look at St. Augustine Sermo LI
My Dear Charity in Christ, (How Augustine addressed the faithful)
The Advent season is upon us and as St. Augustine noted, “Christ has aroused our seasonal expectations, he’ll soon fulfill them.” In St. Augustine’s sermon, we are reminded of the Word of God, where it is located, and the mission that God has given each of us to share the Word with the world.
St. Augustine reminds us of the teachings of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 RSV:
6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.
St. Augustine, of course, makes it understood to the faithful that they are the earthly vessels that St. Paul speaks about to them. He explains to them that as the Charity in Christ, the faithful must allow the jars of clay to be open so that the Word shall pour forth from the vessels and into the world.
How can we Christians make sure that lids are open, and the world shall pour from us?
St. Augustine provides the answer in his sermon—Stay Awake!
St. Augustine states that the “Last thing I want to do is speak to deaf hearts and dull souls.” How can the Charity in Christ prevent being both deaf and dull? We, the faithful, must be fully active in our faith! When going to mass, or other church services, we must be alert to the Liturgy and the Homily (Sermon) from the priest. Catholics believe that during the celebration of Mass, Christ’s real presence occurs in the Eucharist through Transubstantiation—we must act like it! The Eucharist is always present in the tabernacle when entering church—let your minds be alert—would you only half genuflect, or even not genuflect, to Christ, King of the Universe, the Incarnation who brought us salvation if he manifested as such? During this Advent season be mindful of such actions, because they are not worthless, as such actions will be imitated by others.
The Charity in Christ once again prepares for the Advent season. The modern world is in chaos; every soul who have “given themselves to the games of the flesh” calls for the faithful to do the same or be labeled a heretic to the world. The preparation for the festival of Incarnation must be done by prayer for those souls who wish to call us heretics. St. Augustine asks the Charity in Christ to pray to God “without distraction of any kind.”
However, prayer must not lead to missing walls of belief and the instruction of Christ. The Charity in Christ must still have their principles and convictions, and be prepared for those convictions to be challenged by the world as St. Augustine explains:
“Any questions from the Heretical Hecklers?”
“If I have found a lie, just one lie, a misstatement, a misnomer,” responds Heckle. “I’d have to disbelieve the whole thing right?”
“Give me an example.”
“Well,” responded Jeckle, “I just have to number the generations.” (referring to the differences in Matthew and Luke)
How are those within the Charity in Christ to respond?
St. Augustine acknowledges the difficulty of Hecklers and how they treat the faithful, “They begin by asking a question sweetly, then lead us down the flowering path of the Garden of Evil.”
St. Augustine warns the faithful to be patient and to learn the truth of Christ. By doing this, the Hecklers of the world will lead us closer to Christ. The faithful must understand that God has a purpose for such people. St. Augustine explains, “We Christians can’t live with the Heretical Hecklers… we also can’t live without them.”
The explanation by St. Augustine reminds me of Christ’s parable of the weeds among the wheat.
Mt. 13: 24-30 RSV:
24 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[a] of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants[b] said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
As the faithful, the Charity in Christ, makes its way through this Advent season in preparation for the birth of Christ. The Charity in Christ must reflect on the differences between pulling the weeds, which also destroys the faithful—the Wheat of God and acknowledging Christ before humanity of the post-modern world.
Lk 12: 8-10 RSV:
8 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
If the faithful continues to acknowledge Christ fully before humanity, as the City of Man passes away, we will be acknowledged by the Incarnation of God, Christ, as citizens of the City of God.