Tuesday, December 11, 2012

St. Augustine and Perseverance: By: C.C.

"Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things."
(St. Augustine)

   This sharing from St. Augustine is not written with any "fluff" at all. Augustine succeeds in relating a very important and hard hitting truth about the spiritual journey, and more so, about the effect of conversion and the on going effort that is required to persevere in the daily battle against sin. For those of you familiar with the life of St. Augustine and his Confessions you are aware that the emotions with which these hard hitting words are written were very familiar to this beloved Saint. Through the life of St. Augustine one comes to witness the tremendous transforming power of our Lord and the multitude of mercy that He has upon His children no matter how "lost" they may seem to be.
   "To be dissatisfied with yourself" is a statement that the secular world may look upon with a large amount of criticism. Today we seek to praise ourselves falsely, often setting our worth upon the external realities of our society and pleasures of the world. The idea of a soul and of sin is something very far from the minds of many individuals. Quite frankly, this reality was also something far from my mind at one point in my life. 
    The greatest blessing that God ever bestowed upon me was gifting me with complete dissatisfaction with myself and my life. This lead me to recognize the reality of sin that plagued me. It helped me to seek something greater. It helped me to find God in a way that I had never known. It was then that the stories of the Saints and statements like that which I share with you tonight became ever so real to me and relative. I began to understand that these works were more than just words and human testimonies of personal experiences- these words were the very real revelation of a present, loving, merciful, and powerful God. Revelations that though written so long ago their truth remains so relevant today because our Lord is constant and unchanging. Consistent with this unchanging and all loving Heavenly Father is the difficulty of the Spiritual life. 
   Recognition of sin and the yearning to "transform yourself into something better" is the beginning of a journey that St. Augustine reminds us is followed by "trials" and "temptations". Yes, these moments can be terribly difficult and the temptation to leave the path flirts with us along the way. Greater than all of this is the love of our Lord and the strength that He can provide when we cry out to Him as David did many times in the Psalms. We will come to see the "fruits" of our journey and our devotion in striving to become holy and better than what we are. The intense pain of purification is truly the birth of indescribable joy.
  Whatever it is that each of us battle within our lives, wherever we seek healing and God's mercy..PERSEVERE do not relent in your walk with the Lord. May we fully turn to Him who is able to satisfy our deepest desires and our restless hearts. In the midst of all trial and temptation may we cling to hope, love, and trust in our Lord. May all the Glory be to God. Amen (C.C.)

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12)

(Musical Inspiration to tonight's writing- David Braid- El Castillo Interior)


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