Church Fathers, Day One Hundred Thirty-Seven: St. Augustine reminds us that God’s mercy works through us

Church Fathers, Day One Hundred Thirty-Seven: St. Augustine reminds us that God’s mercy works through us December 5, 2014

st_augustine_1God’s mercy works through us

Babies are born into the world helpless, completely dependent on the people who take care of them. St. Augustine, beginning the story of his own life, points out how God has ordered everything so that meeting the infant’s needs also meets the needs of the caretakers.

What can I say, Lord my God, except that I don’t know how I came into this—well, should I call it a dying life, or a living death? But I have heard from my parents, from whose material you formed me—for I cannot remember it myself— that your merciful comforts sustained me.

By your mercy the comforts of a woman’s milk kept me happy. Neither my mother nor my nurses filled their own breasts, but you, through them, gave me the nourishment of infancy the way you have ordained it, by your bounty that underlies everything.

You caused me not to want more than you gave, and those who nourished me willingly gave me what you gave them. For they, by instinctive affection, were anxious to give me what you had abundantly supplied.

And in fact it was good for them that my good should come from them— though of course it was not from them, but through them, since all good things come from you, God, and all my safety is from you. This is what I’ve learned since then, as you have shown yourself to me by the blessings you have bestowed on me, both inside me and outside me. At that time, I knew how to suck, to be satisfied when I was comfortable, and to cry when I was in pain—nothing more.

St. Augustine, Confessions, 1.6


Do I recognize the work of God in every good thing that comes to me?

Do I remember to thank God for all the people who have taken care of me when I needed it?


Lord God, who created me and brought me into life, who have shown me the way to your salvation, grant that I may become a servant of your New Covenant, according to the greatness of your mercy.


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