Like the Israelites, we are wandering in the desert as a training for the Promised Land. To keep us from dying of thirst, says St. Augustine, God has given us the fountain of love to drink from.
To all the faithful who are seeking their own country, this world is as the desert was to the people of Israel. They were certainly wandering and seeking their own country, but with God as their guide they could not wander astray. Their way was God’s bidding.
As for where they went during those forty years, the journey is made up of just a few stops, and everyone knows it. They were slowed down because they were in training, not because they were abandoned.
What God promises us is indescribable sweetness and good, as Scripture says—and as you’ve often heard me repeat—“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (1 Corinthians 2:9). But we are exercised by worldly labors, and trained by temptations of this present life.
However, if you do not wish to die of thirst in this wilderness, drink charity. It is the fountain that God has been pleased to put here, so that we will not faint along the way—and we shall drink of it more abundantly when we have come to our own land.
–St. Augustine, Homily 7 on the First Epistle of John, 1
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
What am I doing to drink from the fountain of love that God has put here to refresh me?
Father of love, give me the courage to open my heart to a life of service to all your people, and to work for peace, so that I may be called your child.
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