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Something to think about

You who stand in the Lords house, praise the name of the Lord (Ps 134[135], 2). Be grateful. You used to be outside, now you are inside. Is it some slight thing, that you stand where he is to be praised who raised you when you lay prostrate and made you to stand in his house and to confess him and to praise him? Is it a slight benefit that we stand in the Lords house? Here, in this meanwhile, in this wandering, in this house, which is also called a wanderers tent, that we stand here: is this a minor cause for our thanksgiving? Shouldnt we think about this--that we are standing here? Shouldnt we think about what we had become? Shouldnt we think about where we were lying and to where we have now been gathered? Shouldnt we think about the fact that all the wicked were not seeking the Lord, and he himself sought those not seeking him, that when he found them he awakened them, and when he awakened them he called them, and when he called them he brought them in and made them to stand in his house. Anyone who thinks about these things and is not ungrateful for them will scorn himself out of love for his Lord by whom such great things were given him, and because he has nothing that he can return to the Lord for such great blessings, what can he do except give thanks, not try to repay? It is part of that thanksgiving to take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. For what can a servant return to the Lord for all the things he have given him (Ps 115:12-13)? And so, you who stand in the Lords house, in the courts of our Gods house, praise the Lord (Augustine, In Ps 134, 2; PL 37:1739).

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Gratitude seems to run through all his sermons. How to spread that to all preachers?

Joseph, I don't know if you like Peter Brown or not. (I love him. The Cult of the Saints is one of my all-time faves.)I'm reading his new book now, and it is fabulous. The Contents are on the sample at Amazon, as is most of the Preface. If you search for Augustine, you'll see 66 entries. http://www.amazon.com/dp/069115290X/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

I'm not sure about this text. It's fine to be thankful to have been given some amount of faith, but what about the others - particularly my children? Why has he not "awakened" them? If I give praise for what is given to me, then I must also complain that it is not given to them. Personally I'd rather see my children with faith than myself.

Gerelyn: Yes, I know and like Peter Brown. His is still the best biography of Augustine.Claire: I'm not sure about your logic. Because someone else has not been given a gift that I have received, I can't be grateful that I've received it? A reforming alcoholic, for example? And what about Augustine's comment that God is always in search of people not in search of him?

Because someone else has not been given a gift that I have received, I cant be grateful that Ive received it?That's right. It's harder to enjoy a gift that I cannot share with those closest to me.

Fr. Komonchak,Your post has a message that I really needed to read today and reminds me of the inspiration I received from your Sunday homilies at Chevy Chase. Thank you!Claire is missing the most important lines of the passage: Shouldnt we think about the fact that all the wicked were not seeking the Lord, and he himself sought those not seeking him, that when he found them he awakened them, and when he awakened them he called them, and when he called them he brought them in and made them to stand in his house. Anyone who thinks about these things and is not ungrateful for them will scorn himself out of love for his Lord by whom such great things were given him, and because he has nothing that he can return to the Lord for such great blessings, what can he do except give thanks, not try to repay?" Claire--therein lies the hope and the reason for the gratitude, those outside are still sought by the Lord. He does not give up! So, neither should we... I think of a beloved aunt who married a non-believer, and not the most patient of men. But, she was both a patient witness and faithful lover of both her Lord and her husband. Over time, I believe, due to her faithful witness and prayer for him, he became a very good Catholic husband and father. So, too I have found that a prayer for one's family, if truly free and loving, can bear fruit.

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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.