I have written these things to you about those who seduce you so that you may know that you have an anointing and so that the anointing which you have from him may remain in you. There is a sacrament of anointing, whose power is invisible, whose anointing is invisible, the Holy Spirit. The invisible anointing is that charity which in anyone will be like a root that cannot wither however much the sun burns. All that is rooted is nourished, not withered, by the heat of the sun. (Augustine on I John, Hom. 3, 12; PL 35, 2004)Call no one your master on earth; you have only one Master, Christ (Mt 23:8-9). Let him speak inwardly, then, where no human is present, because even if someone is beside you, no one is in your heart. But dont let there be no one in your heart: let Christ be in your heart; let his anointing be in your heart; dont let your heart thirst in a desert without fountains to give it water. It is the inner Master who teaches; Christ teaches; his inspiration teaches. Where his inspiration and his anointing is not, loud noise resounds from outside in vain. So are these words, brothers and sisters, that we are speaking from outside, like that farmer and his tree. He works from the outside: he applies water and feeds it diligently. No matter what he does from outside, does he form the apples? Does he clothe the naked trees with the shade of the leaves? Does he do anything like this from inside? Who does that? Listen to the farmer-apostle, and see what we are, and listen to the inner Master: I have planted; Apollo has watered; but God gives the increase. The one who plants is nothing, and neither is the one who waters, only he who grants the increase, God (1 Cor 3:6-7). We tell you, then: whether by our speaking we are planting or we are watering, we are not anything; it is God, who gives the increase, that is, the anointing of his that teaches you about all things. (Augustine on I John, Hom. 3, 13; PL 35, 2005)
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.