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Greater grace, greater praise

The heavens will confess your wondrous deeds, O Lord” (Ps 88[89]:6). The heavens will not be confessing their own merits: “the heavens will confess your wondrous deeds, O Lord.” In any mercy shown to the lost, in the justifying of the wicked, what do we praise if not the wondrous deeds of God? You give praise because the dead rise again; give even greater praise because the lost have been redeemed. What grace! What mercy of God! You see someone who yesterday was a whirlpool of drunkenness and today is a model of sobriety. You see someone who yesterday was a cesspool of excess and today is a paragon of temperance. You see someone who yesterday was blaspheming God today is praising God. You see someone who yesterday was a slave of creatures today is a worshipper of the Creator. People are being converted from all those desperate conditions. Let them not consider their own merits. Let them become heavens and let those heavens confess the wondrous deeds of the one who made them heavens. (Augustine, EnPs 88[89], 6; PL 37, 1123)

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What grace! What mercy of God! You see someone who yesterday was a whirlpool of drunkenness and today is a model of sobriety.

To someone fully turned toward God, God is all, and God's mercy is a complete answer. For those who still have an eye for the multifariousness, complexity, and seeming randomness of the world we inhabit, questions abide. They will want to look beyond the label and see, if they can, how that mercy actually works, or under what conditions it is sometimes withheld. Explorers, scientists, philosophers, doctors, and other inquirers will ask, with humility, what can be done to assist God's mercy and widen its range. For them perhaps the greatest mercy is our original and enduring interest in the tree of knowledge.

"Temperance" is not a word one hears often nowadays. It's undervalued in contemporary society, I think. Sobriety, temperance, worship, praise of God. How peaceful it all seems.  Enough of the sickening "cesspool of excess". I can't wait!