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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

St. Augustine on Superfluities

"God does not demand much of you. He asks back what he gave you, and from him you take what is enough for you. The superfluities of the rich are the necessities of the poor. When you possess superfluities, you possess what belongs to others." (Exposition on Psalm 147, 12).

"Go on making use of your special, expensive foods, because you have got into the habit of them, because if you change your habits you get sick. Go on making use of your superfluities, but give the poor their necessities. He looks to you, you look to God. He looks to a hand that was made as he was, you look to a hand that made you. But it didn't only make you, it also made the poor man with you. He gave you both this life as a single road to travel along. You have found yourselves companions, walking along the same road; he's carrying nothing, you have an excessive load. He’s carrying nothing with him, you are carrying more than you need. You are overloaded; give him some of what you’ve got. At a stroke, you feed him and lessen your load. So give to the poor; I’m begging you, I’m warning you, I’m commanding you, I’m ordering you. Give to the poor whatever you like." (Sermon 389,5-6)
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