He that guides you is walking before you

-1 Thursday of the II Week of August

From the Exposition on Psalm 75 by St Augustine, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

“Vow ye, and pay to the Lord our God.”  Let each man vow what he is able, and pay it.  Do not vow and not pay: but let every man vow, and pay what he can. Be not slow to vow: for you will accomplish the vows by powers not your own.  You will fail, if on yourselves you rely: but if on him to whom you vow ye rely, you will be safe to pay.  “Vow ye, and pay to the Lord our God.”  What ought we all in common to vow?  To believe in him, to hope from him for life eternal, to live godly according to a measure common to all.  For there is a certain measure common to all men.

There are also vows proper for individuals: one vows to God conjugal chastity, that he will know no other woman besides his wife: so also the woman, that she will know no other man besides her husband. Other men also vow, even though they have used such a marriage, that beyond this they will have no such thing, that they will neither desire nor admit the like: and these men have vowed a greater vow than the former.  Others vow even virginity from the beginning of life, that they will even know no such thing as those who having experienced have relinquished: and these men have vowed the greatest vow.  Others vow that their house shall be a place of entertainment for all the Saints that may come: a great vow they vow.  Another vows to relinquish all his goods to be distributed to the poor, and go into a community, into a society of the Saints: a great vow he does vow.

But observe what the Psalm has said to you.  It has not said, “Vow not”; but, “Vow and pay.”  Because you have heard, pay, will you not vow?  Therefore were you willing to vow, and not to pay?  No, do both.  One thing is done by your profession, another thing will be perfected by the aid of God.  Look to him who does guide you, and you will not look back to the place whence he is leading you forth.  He that guides you is walking before you; the place from whence he is guiding you is behind you.  Love him guiding, and he does not condemn you looking back.

Responsory.  Offer to God || the sacrifice of praise: and * Pay thy vows to the most High.  V. Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God: all you that are round about him bring presents. * Pay thy vows … Glory be … Pay thy vows …