he was on the mountain with Christ the Lord in company with
the two other disciples James and John, the blessed apostle
Peter heard a voice from heaven saying: “This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
remembered this and made it known in his letter. “We heard
a voice coming from heaven, he said, when we were with him
on the holy mountain; and he added: so we have confirmation
of what was prophesied. A voice came from heaven, and prophecy
How great was Christ’s courtesy! This Peter who spoke these words was once a
fisherman, and in our day a public speaker deserves high praise if he is able
to converse with a fisherman!
Addressing the first Christians the apostle Paul
Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something. (1 Cor 1:26-28)
Christ had first chosen a man skilled in public speaking,
such a man might well
have said: “I have been chosen on
account of my eloquence.” If
he had chosen a senator, the senator might have said: “I have been chosen
because of my rank.” If his first choice had been an emperor, the emperor
surely might have said: “I have been chosen for the sake of the power
I have at my disposal.”
Let these worthies keep quiet and defer to others;
let them hold their peace for a while. I am not saying they should be passed
over or despised; I am simply asking all those who can find any grounds for
pride in what they are to give way to others just a little.
Christ says: Give me this fisherman, this man without education
or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign
to speak, not even if he were buying
fish. Yes, give me him; once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious
that it is I who am at work in him. Although I mean to include senators,
orators, and emperors among my recruits, even when I have won
over the senator I shall
still be surer of the fisherman.
The senator can always take pride in what
he is; so can the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman
can glory in nothing
except Christ alone.
Any of these other men may come and take lessons from
me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let
the fisherman come first.
He is the best person to win over an emperor.
Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled
fisherman. In his nets cast throughout the world he has the
task of catching this nation
as well as all the others. So remember that claim of his: “We have confirmation
of what was prophesied. ”
(Sermon 43, 5-7: CCL 41, 510-511)
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.