Church Fathers, Day Three: St. Augustine – When God speaks, hear

When God speaks, hear

God speaks to us through Scripture and the Church. But God also speaks to us through our reason, says St. Augustine. The truth is God speaking to us, not through our ears, but through our minds.

It is a great thing for a man, and a very rare one, after contemplating the whole creation, corporeal and incorporeal, and seeing how changeable it is, to pass beyond it, to reach to the unchangeable being of God, and—in that peak of contemplation—to learn from God himself that no one but God has made everything outside God.

God speaks with us, not by means of some some audible creature making a sound, so that vibrations of the air connect the one who speaks with the one who hears. Nor does he even speak by means of a spiritual being with the appearance of a body, such as we see in dreams or similar states—for even in that case, God is speaking as if to our bodily ears, because he is speaking by means of the ap­pearance of a body, and with the appearance of a real space between him and us, visions being exact representations of real things.

No, God does not speak by these things, but by the truth itself—if anyone is prepared to hear with the mind rather than with the body. For he speaks to that part of us that is better than everything else in us. Only God, in fact, is better than that part of us.

–St. Augustine, City of God, 11.2

IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .

Do I use my reason the way God intended—listening carefully for his truth?

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, your voice is my joy; your voice surpasses every pleasure. Let me hear your voice when you speak, and let me reflect on the wonderful things you have made.

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