Why not today? Why not now?
Joseph A. Komonchak February 6, 2008 - 1:50pm
When preaching, St. Augustine often composed imaginary dialogues between himself and a member of his congregation. Here is one that I came across recently, which fits todays second reading very well: "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!"Augustine has been urging his people not to put off their conversion.>> On every side Gods providence mercifully surrounds you. Whats that you say?"God promised me forgiveness; hell give it when I turn back to him."Of course hell give it when you turn back to him, but why are you not turning back to him?"Because whenever I turn back, he will give it."Yes, indeed, when you turn back, he will give it, but when is that "when" of yours? Why is it not today? Why not as you listen to me? Why not when you cry out? Why not when you praise? Let my shouting be a helper on your behalf; let your cry be a witness against you. Why not today? Why not now? (Sermon 20, 4; PL 38, 140-41) <<Perhaps Augustine was remembering how long it took him to decide to be baptized, and his dishonest prayer: "Lord, make me chaste, but not yet."Heres the Latin:Undique te circumdedit providentia Dei misericorditer. Quid dicis? Promisit mihi Deus indulgentiam; quando me convertero dabit eam. Plane dabit, quando te converteris; sed quare te non convertis? Quoniam quando me convertero, dabit. Prorsus quando te converteris, dabit; sed ipsum quando quando est? Quare non hodie est, quare non cum tu me audis? quare non cum[Col.0141] clamas? quare non cum laudas? Clamor meus sit adjutor pro te: clamor tuus sit testis contra te. Quare non hodie? quare non modo? (Sermo 20, 4; PL 38, 140-41)
About the Author
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.