God our Father, and the Church our Mother

benozzo_gozzoli_584_battesimo_di_sant_agostino_scena_61Wednesday in the IV Week of AugustFrom a Sermon by St Augustine, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, has taught us a Prayer; and though he be the Lord Himself, as you have heard and repeated in the Creed, “the Only Son of God”, yet he would not be alone.  He is the Only Son, and yet would not be alone; he has vouchsafed to have brethren.  For to whom does he say, “Say, Our Father, which art in heaven?”  Whom did he wish us to call our Father, save his own Father?  Did he grudge us this?  Parents sometimes when they have gotten one, or two, or three children, fear to give birth to any more, lest they reduce the rest to beggary.  But because the inheritance which he promises us is such as many may possess, and no one be straitened; therefore has he called into his brotherhood the peoples of the nations; and the Only Son has numberless brethren; who say, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”  So said they who have been before us; and so shall say those who will come after us.

See how many brethren the Only Son has in his grace, sharing his inheritance with those for whom he suffered death.  We had a father and mother on earth, that we might be born to labours and to death: but we have found other parents, God our Father, and the Church our Mother, by whom we are born unto life eternal.  Let us then consider, beloved, whose children we have begun to be; and let us live so as becomes those who have such a Father.  See, how that our Creator has condescended to be our Father!

We have heard whom we ought to call upon, and with what hope of an eternal inheritance we have begun to have a Father in heaven; let us now hear what we must ask of him.  Of such a Father what shall we ask?  Do we not ask rain of him, today, and yesterday, and the day before?  This is no great thing to have asked of such a Father, and yet you see with what sighings, and with what great desire we ask for rain, when death is feared, when that is feared which none can escape.  For sooner or later every man must die, and we groan, and pray, and travail in pain, and cry to God, that we may die a little later.  How much more ought we to cry to him, that we may come to that place where we shall never die!

Responsory.  To us || there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; * And there is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  V. Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? * There is one Lord … Glory be … There is one Lord …