"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

March 22, 2012

The inner commander

Filed under: Lent 2012 — komonchak @ 10:17 am

Love is a lovely word, but deeds are lovelier. We can’t always be talking about love–we’ve got other things to do, and different actions draw us in different directions, so that our tongues don’t have the leisure always to be talking about love, as much as it is true that our tongues could have nothing better to do. But although we may not always talk about love, we may always keep it. That “Alleluia” we are singing now: can we always do it? We don’t sing “Alleluia” for a whole hour or even for a small portion of an hour, and then we give ourselves to something else. As you know, “Alleluia” means “Praise God.” One cannot always be praising God with one’s tongue, but one can always be praising God by one’s behavior. Works of mercy, charitable affection, holy piety, uncorrupted chastity, sober modesty–all these are to be practiced whether we’re in public or at home, whether we’re with others or in our room, whether we’re speaking or silent, whether doing something or at leisure–they’re always to be practiced.

All the virtues I’ve mentioned are within. Who could name them all? They are like the army of a commander, the one who resides within, in your mind. As a commander does what he pleases by means of his army, so the Lord Jesus Christ, when he begins to dwell in our inner self, that is, in our mind by faith (Eph 3:17), uses those virtues like his ministers. These virtues cannot be seen by the eyes, but are praised as soon as they are mentioned, and they wouldn’t be praised if they were not loved and wouldn’t be loved unless they were seen, but they’re seen only with another eye. Our members are visibly moved by these invisible virtues. We have feet for walking, but where? Wherever a good will, the emperor’s soldier, moves them. We have hands for working; but what? What that charity commands that is inspired within by the Holy Spirit. The members are seen when they are moved, but the one within, who commands, is not seen. And who it is within who commands is known almost alone by the one who commands within and by the one commanded within. (Augustine on I John, Hom 8, 1; PL 35, 2036)

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