Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Love, Give , and Live …

“Yamanakabushi” performed by Jean-Pierre Rampal & Yuzuko Horigome, from the album “Yamanakabushi: Japanese Melodies”, Vol. 3, (1982)

St. Augustan by Botticelli“The measure of love is to love without measure.” St. Augustine.  The saint who also famously prayed, “Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure) – but not yet!”

Augustine was a radical convert to Christianity! He was born in Tagaste (modern Souk Ahras, Algeria) in 354 and died in Hippo Regius (modern Annaba) in 431.

The Son of so Many Tears!  Augustine’s confessions make interesting reading!  I have cover to covered Confessions 3 times now, each time getting more and more out of it. For me now I strongly feel that Augustine wrote this “letter” to me personally, across the centuries.

Augustine became a great intellectual, a professor of Rhetoric in the city of Milan. He lived in relative luxury and enjoyed a life of sin.  His mother, Monica, was a committed Christian and prayed earnestly for his conversion calling him ‘the son of so many tears’.

One afternoon as he was sitting in his garden he overheard some children singing ‘Take up and read!  Take up and read!’  He became inwardly convinced by the Spirit that he should read the New Testament. He began reading Paul’s letter to the Romans, received powerful revelation of God’s grace in the gospel and was converted.

He then became the most zealous exponent of grace of his era, finally settling in Hippo where he became bishop.

“..Love without measure…” that is without counting the cost and without strings or any expectation of payback or return. In Luke 6:27-38 we read:

“But I say this to you who are listening:Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

If you love those who love you what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. and if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the most high, for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; a full measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.”

Desert Walkempty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”.