Monday, August 06, 2007

Augustine on the Transfiguration

Come down, Peter: you were desiring to rest on the mount; come down, "preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Endure, labour hard, bear your measure of torture; that you may possess what is meant by the white raiment of the Lord, through the brightness and the beauty of an upright labouring in charity. For when the Apostle was being read we heard in praise of charity, "She seeks not her own. She seeks not her own;" since she gives what she possesses. In another place there is more danger in the expression, if you do not understand it right. For the Apostle, charging the faithful members of Christ after this rule of charity, says, "Let no man seek his own, but another's." For on hearing this, covetousness is ready with its deceits, that in a matter of business under pretence of seeking another's, it may defraud a man, and so, "seek not his own, but another's." But let covetousness restrain itself, let justice come forth; so let us hear and understand. It is to charity that it is said, "Let no man seek his own, but another's." Now, O you covetous one, if you will still resist, and twist the precept rather to this point, that you should covet what is another's; then lose what is your own. But as I know you well, you wish to have both your own and another's. You will commit fraud that you may have what is another's; submit then to robbery that you may lose your own. Thou dost not wish to seek your own, but then you take away what is another's. Now if you do this, you do not well. Hear and listen, you covetous one: the Apostle explains to you in another place more clearly this that he said, "Let no man seek his own, but another's." He says of himself, "Not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." This Peter understood not yet when he desired to live on the mount with Christ. He was reserving this for you, Peter, after death. But now He says Himself, "Come down, to labour in the earth; in the earth to serve, to be despised, and crucified in the earth. The Life came down, that He might be slain; the Bread came down, that He might hunger; the Way came down, that life might be wearied in the way; the Fountain came down, that He might thirst; and do you refuse to labour? 'Seek not your own.' Have charity, preach the truth; so shall you come to eternity, where you shall find security."

Augustine, Sermon 28.6. So always must we bring down glory from the mountain through our service in the world.

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