God’s Gift Become Our Reality

Lenten Reflections 2015: Readings from Augustine

“In God I will praise my words.” If “in God,” how are they “mine”? But both are said: “In God” and “mine.” “In God,” because they are from him; “mine” because I have received them. The one who gave the words wanted them to be mine by loving him whose words they are; because from him they have come to me, they have become mine. We pray: “Give us today our daily bread” (Mt 6:11). How is it ours? Why do we say, “Give”? Asking for it from him, you will not be hungry; calling it yours, you will not be ungrateful. If you don’t say it is yours, you have not received it. If you say it is yours as if what you say is yours comes from you, you lose what you had received, because you are ungrateful. “In God,” therefore, “I will praise my words” because there he himself is the fountain of true words; they are mine because in my thirst I came and drank. (Augustine, EnPs 55, ; PL 36, 651-52)

Another text that shows that Augustine is not off in the clouds somewhere. God’s gift is a genuine gift, something that is not given if it is not received.

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.

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