St. Augustine, on Maintaining Unity in Spite of Scancals

One of the most serious issues in the Church is a lack of unity.

I saw this gem on Twitter and I wanted to bring it over to the blog.

This was originally posted by Joshua Charles on Twitter. Here’s his original tweet. Check him out and give him a follow. His posts are always thought provoking. He’s one of my favorite follows on Twitter..

My Take: One of the most serious issues in the Church is a lack of unity. It isn’t just “Bishop against Bishop”, but camp vs. camp in the laity. I see the Church not as the Boy/Girl Scouts, I see it as the military. And what I see in the faithful is a most undisciplined military, because we are so divided. We have to remember that we are brethren. We have to stick together. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s St. Augustine.

There are those who, though called believers, are not so. There are believers in whom the sacraments of Christ are subjected to abuse; persons who live in such a way that they themselves perish, and they ruin others. They themselves perish by evil living; they destroy others, however, by giving the example of evil living. Do not wish, my dearly beloved, to be associated with such as these. Seek the good; cleave to the good; be good.

Do not be surprised at the large number of bad Christians who fill the church, who communicate at the altar…They can exist along with us in the Church of this time, but they will not be able to remain in that assembly of saints which will be after the resurrection. For the Church of this time, since it has good mixed with bad, is compared to a threshing floor where grain is mixed with chaff; but, after the judgment, it will have all good members without the evil. This threshing floor contains the harvest sown by the Apostles, watered by subsequent good teachers down to the present times, somewhat bruised by the persecution of enemies, but with the remnant not yet purged by the final sifting. Nevertheless, He will come concerning whom you recited in the Creed: ‘Then He will come to judge the living and the dead,’ and, as the Gosel says: ‘His winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor, and will gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.’

Let the old faithful members hear what I say; let him who is the grain rejoice in the tossing; let him remain; let him not depart from the threshing floor. Let him not, following his own judgment, try to free himself from the chaff, since he will not be able to remain on the threshing floor if he wishes to separate himself now from the chaff. Furthermore, when He comes who distinguishes without error, He will not raise to the granary what He has not found on the threshing floor. Whatever grains have now withdrawn from the threshing floor will then boast in vain about their stock. The barn will be filled and closed. Fire will consume whatever has remained outside. Therefore, my dear brethren, let him who is good put up with the evil; let him who is bad imitate the good. On this threshing floor, in truth, grain can degenerate into chaff; and, on the other hand, grain can be restored from chaff. These changes take place daily, my brethren. This life is full of punishments and consolations. Daily those who seemed good do wrong and perish; and again, those who seemed evil are converted and live. For, ‘God does not will the death of the sinner, but only that he be converted from his ways and live.’

Hear me, O grains of wheat; hear me, you who conform to my desires; hear me, O grain. Do not be saddened by the intermixture of chaff; the evil will not be with you forever. To how great an extent does the chaff press upon you? Thank God that it is not heavy. Only let us remain the wheat; then, how abundant soever the chaff may be, it will not oppress us.”

St. Augustine, Sermon 223: On the Vigil of Easter

Thanks again to Joshua Charles for finding and sharing this. Credit goes to him. Follow him on Twitter

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