Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Mornings with Augustine

Hosea 10:12

Prayer and Effort

Reject those who say we need only our own free will and not prayer to help us keep from sin. Even the Pharisee wasn’t blinded by such darkness. For, although he mistakenly thought he only needed his own righteousness (and believed he was saturated with it), nevertheless, he thanked God that he wasn’t “like other men, unjust, extortioners, adulterers, or even as the publican; for he fasted twice in the week, he gave tithes of all that he possessed.”

Even so, God didn’t approve him because he didn’t ask for additional righteousness, as though he was full of it already. He also arrogantly preferred himself to the tax gatherer who hungered and thirsted for righteousness. So then, what about those who acknowledge they don’t have righteousness, but believe they can find it within themselves instead of seeking their Creator, the source of all righteousness?

Yet it isn’t a question of prayers alone, as if we don’t need to include our willful efforts. For although God is “our Helper,” we cannot be helped if we don’t make some effort of our own. God doesn’t work out our salvation in us as if we are dull stones or creatures without reason or will.

Readings taken from Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers


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