Unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
is my Father’s glory," Christ said, "that you should
bear abundant fruit and become my disciples." But even
when we have glorified the Father by bearing much fruit
and becoming Christ’s disciples, we still have no right
to claim the credit for it as though the work were ours
The grace to carry out the work had first to come
to us from God, and so the glory is his, not ours.
is why Christ is recorded in another place as saying: "Let
your light so shine before others that they may see your
good works"and here, lest they be tempted to attribute
those good works to themselves, he immediately added: "and
may give the glory for them to your heavenly Father."
then, is the Father’s glory, that we should bear abundant
fruit and become Christ’s disciples, since it
is only through God’s mercy in the first place that we
can become the disciples of Christ. "We are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus for the performance of good works."
"As the Father has loved me, Jesus says, so I have
loved you. Abide in my love." There we have the source of
every good work of ours. How do they come to be ours? Only
because faith is active in love. And how could we ever love,
unless we ourselves were loved first?
In his first letter John
the evangelist made this quite clear. "Let us love God, he
wrote, because he first loved us." The Father does indeed
love us, but he does so in his Son; we glorify the Father by
bearing fruit as branches of the vine which is his son and
becoming his disciples.
"Abide in my love," he says to us. How may we do that?
In the words that follow you have your answer. "If you observe
what I command you, then you will truly abide in my love."
is it love that makes us keep the Lord’s commandments, or is
it the keeping of them that makes us love him? There
can be no doubt that love comes first.
Anyone devoid of love
will lack all incentive to keep the commandments. When, therefore,
Christ says to us: "If you keep my commandments, you will
abide in my love," he is telling us that the observance
of the commandments is not the source but rather the gauge
and touchstone of our love.
It is as though he said to us:
Do not suppose you are abiding in my love if you are not keeping
my commandments, for it is by observing them that you will
abide in my love. That is to say, your observance of my commandments
is the proof, the outward manifestation, of the fact that you
abide in my love.
Let no one, then, who neglects to keep the divine commandments deceive himself
by protesting his love for God. It is only to the extent to which we keep the
Lord’s commandments that we abide in his love; insofar as we fail to keep them
we fail to love.
Yet even when we do keep God’s commandments, it is not something
we do in order to make God love us, for unless he loved us first we should not
be able to keep them. It is the gift of his grace, a grace which is accessible
to the humble of heart, but beyond the reach of the proud.
on the Gospel of John 82, 1-4: CCL 36, 532-534)
Augustine (354-430) was
born at Thagaste in Africa and received a Christian education,
although he was not baptized until 387. In 391 he was ordained
priest and in 395 he became coadjutor bishop to Valerius
of Hippo, whom he succeeded in 396. Augustine’s theology
was formulated in the course of his struggle with three heresies:
Manicheism, Donatism, and Pelagianism. His writings are voluminous
and his influence on subsequent theology immense. He molded
the thought of the Middle Ages down to the thirteenth century.
Yet he was above all a pastor and a great spiritual writer.