Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Hearts Find No Rest : Reflection from Fr.Tom on St.Agustines Words

St. Augustine, whose feast we celebrate today (Aug.28), said in his immortal autobiography: The Confessions of St. Augustine: “Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts find no rest until they rest in you!”

The Lord made us like himself (Gen 1.26: …we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.”). God is immense. Our adjectives that describe God and his attributes are negative in nature because we do not know what we are talking about. So we take available vocabulary and make a negative of if like: infinite, immense, immortal or we have other additions to the word like: almighty, all perfect, all holy, all powerful to give ever so imperfect an idea of God’s qualities. We do not have a direct knowledge of God’s holiness or his qualities. So we fumble around pretending to know who He is. But we do not. We have been made to his image and likeness so we share in His qualities. So limited things, finite things, created things do not satisfy us. Rather, they satisfy us for a time and we soon get tired of it and want something else, more satisfying. Soon we discover the emptiness of it all. Solomon was immensely rich, as rich as we could think of anyone being rich. He had as many women as he wanted. He had the best and abundance of everything the world could give. But at the end of it all he sadly confessed:

Ecclesiastes 1.1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 8.All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 14. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

There is a hunger and thirst in our hearts that created things cannot in any way satisfy. Only God alone can fill. Only the best will do for us. The best is yet to be. Only God is big enough for our hearts. So if we soon tire of power, glory, position, pleasure, human praise, human attainments, we should know, as the genius of Augustine discovered, that only God alone can satisfy us.

One person we all know did have this satisfaction, Mary of Nazareth, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She did not have any of the things to which we generally attach undue importance. But she had God: Lk 1.28The angel[ Gabriel] went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."….. 30. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God…… 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. ….. 42 In a loud voice she [Elizabeth] exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear…… 46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

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