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For the Fourth Sunday in Advent: Augustine of Hippo on rejoicing in the Lord

December 20, 2015

For the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Faith and Life offers this excerpt from Augustine of Hippo on rejoicing in the Lord:

As no man can serve two masters, so no man can rejoice at once in the world and in the Lord. Greatly do these two joys differ; they are wholly contrary to each other. When we rejoice in the world, we do not rejoice in the Lord; when we rejoice in the Lord, we do not rejoice in the world. Let the joy in the Lord prevail, until the joy in the world come to an end. Let the joy in the Lord be ever growing; let the joy in the world be ever lessening, until it come to an end. This is not said in order to forbid us to rejoice while we live in the world; but that while we are still placed in this world, we may even now rejoice in the Lord. God’s only Son has made many sons of God. He bought Himself brothers with His blood; when they reprobated Him, He approved them ; when they sold Him, He redeemed them; when they outraged Him, He honoured them; when they killed Him, He gave them life. Can you doubt that He will give you His good things, who did not refuse to take on Himself your evil things?  Therefore, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world; that is, rejoice in truth, not in iniquity; rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the flower of vanity. So rejoice; and wherever, and as long as you shall be here, “the Lord is at hand; be anxious about nothing.”

–St. Augustine, Sermon clxxi. (on Phil. iv. 4).

This Advent season, let us indeed “rejoice in the Lord, not in the world.”

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