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

April 2, 2012

For his sake

Filed under: Lent 2012 — komonchak @ 3:56 pm

Who will seek his mercy and truth for his sake?” (Ps 60(61):8) It says in another place: “All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth for those who are seeking his covenant and his testimonies” (Ps 24[25]10). A long sermon could be given on truth and mercy, but I promised to be brief. So, briefly, here is what truth and mercy are, because it is no small thing that was said: “All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth.” It is called mercy because God does not consider our merits, but his own goodness, when he forgives all our sins and promises eternal life. It is called truth because he does not fail to give what he promised. We must acknowledge them here, and let us do them ourselves, so that as God showed us his mercy and truth–his mercy by forgiving our sins, his truth by fulfilling his promise–so also we show mercy and truth here–mercy towards the weak, towards the needy, even towards our enemies, truth by not heaping sin upon sin. Those who often promise themselves God’s mercy have a thought creep in that makes God unjust. They think that if the sinner continues and does not want to cease his wicked deeds, God will come and will put him in the same place as those who obey him. Would it be just that he place you who continue to sin where he will place people who have stopped sinning? Are you so unjust that you want to make God unjust, too? Why do you want to turn God to your will? You should turn to God’s will. And who is it that does this except one of those few of whom it is said: “The one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mt 24:13). Rightly is it said, then, “Who will seek his mercy and truth for his sake?

Why does it say, “for his sake”? Wouldn’t it be enough to say, “Who will seek”? It adds “for his sake” because there are many who seek God’s mercy and truth in his books, and when they have learned them, live for themselves and not for him. “They pursue their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Ph 2:21). They preach mercy and truth and don’t do them…. But those who love God and Christ, when they preach his mercy and truth, will themselves be seeking them for his sake and not for their own–not so that they can receive temporal benefits but so that it will benefit Christ’s members, that is, believers in him. They minister what they know “so that those who live may not now live for themselves but for him who died for them” (2 Cor 5:18). “Who will seek his mercy and truth for his sake?” (Augustine, EnPs 60[61]:8; PL 36, 728)

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