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

April 17, 2019

Weeds everywhere

Augustine often spoke of the Church of this age as a corpus permixtum, a mixed body, and he made full use of parables and images from the Scriptures to illustrate and prove that it will only be in the next age that the Church will be “without stain or wrinkle.” The Church now is the harvesting floor where wheat and chaff lie together before the threshing begins; it is the net that is being hauled toward shore, in which good fish and bad swim alongside one another until they can be distinguished on land; and it is the field in which both wheat and weeds are growing until the harvesters will separate them (see Mt 13:24-30, 36-43). And there is no group in the Church that is without this mixture, something we have learned all too well in recent years.

Where has the enemy not sown weeds? Where has he not found wheat and not strewn it with weeds? Has he sown only among lay people and not among the clergy or among bishops? Has he sown only among married men and not among the chaste professed? Has he sown only among married women and not among nuns? Has he sown only in the homes of lay people, and not in congregations of monks? The enemy has strewn seed everywhere, sowed everywhere–where has he left seed not mixed with weeds?

But, thank God, the one who has deigned to separate cannot err–your charity is not hidden from him. Weeds are found in the loftiest, most exalted harvest, even in the professed life weeds are found, and you say, “Even there wicked people are found, even in that congregation there are wicked people!” But the wicked will not reign forever with the good. Why are you surprised that you have found bad people in a holy place? Don’t you know that in paradise the first sin was disobedience, and an angel fell because of it? Did that stain heaven? Adam fell, and did that stain paradise? One of the sons of Noah fell, and did that stain the home of the just one? Judas fell, and did that stain the choir of Apostles?

Sometimes by human judgment some are thought to be wheat who in fact are weeds, and some are thought weeds who in fact are wheat. And because these things are hidden, the Apostle says: “Do not judge before the time, until the Lord comes and casts light on things hidden in darkness, and he will reveal the thoughts of the heart, and then there will be praise for each one from God” (1 Cor 4:5). Human praise passes: sometimes a person praises a bad man and doesn’t know it; sometimes he accuses a holy man, and doesn’t know it. May God forgive those who do not know, and come to the aid of those who are toiling. (Ser 73A, 1.5,3)

1 Comment »

  1. Very prescient is Augustine’s perception for here..and now.. in the Church’s clerical crisis.

    Are not clergy or bishops infested with “weeds” ? asks Augustine plainly.

    Not only! do weeds thrive among the laity..Augustine notes.. but then asks pointedly.. where is “the good seed” Not! mixed with the weeds…among the faithful.. and even worse , among the clergy?

    If only we had more Bishops with the prescience of Augustine.. instead of only reactive responses which lag ..often far behind the reality… often woefully inadequate to confront the evil …

    ( as in the present clergy abuse which went on..for years in the rural parish 5 miles away from where I live..

    ( If only the present Church had more Bishops like Augustine ..grounded in prescient governance ..


    Comment by Elizabeth Graykowski — April 17, 2019 @ 11:22 am

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