Monday, March 12, 2007

Saint Augustine, On the Beatitudes

"Surely, we can find no one who does not wish to be blessed. Would that men were as willing to fulfill the condition as they are eager to obtain the reward! Is there anyone who would not run with alacrity when it is said to him: 'You shall be blessed'? Then, let everyone lend a willing ear when the condition is announced: 'If you do this.' If one loves the reward, let reward enkindle the mind to alacrity in the labor. What we wish for, what we desire, what we are seeking--all that is here and now. So begin to reflect on the divine sayings--both the precepts and the rewards of the Gospel: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Be poor in spirit now, and the kingdom of heaven will be yours afterwards. Do you wish the kingdom of heaven to be yours hereafter? See to what kingdom you belong now. But, you may ask me: 'What does it mean to be poor in spirit?' Whoever is puffed up is not poor in spirit. Therefore, the poor in spirit is the humble man. The kingdom of heaven is on high, but 'he that humbles himself shall be exalted.'"

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