Saturday, February 09, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 2/9/08

The modern writers who have suggested, in a more or less open manner, that the family is a bad institution, have generally confined themselves to suggesting, with much sharpness, bitterness, or pathos, that perhaps the family not always very congenial. Of course the family is a good institution because it is uncongenial. It is wholesome precisely because it contains so many divergencies and varieties. It is, as the sentimentalists say, like a little kingdom, and, like most other little kingdoms, is generally in a state of something resembling anarchy. It is exactly because our brother George is not interested in our religious difficulties, but is interested in the Trocadero restaurant, that the family has some of the bracing qualities of the commonwealth. It is precisely because our uncle Henry does not approve of the theatrical ambitions of our sister that that the family is like humanity. The men and women who, for good reasons and bad, revolt against the family are, for good reasons and bad, simply revolting against mankind. Aunt Elizabeth is unreasonable, like mankind. Papa is excitable, like mankind. Our younger brother is mischievous, like mankind. Grandpapa is stupid, like the world; he is old, like the world.
-- G. K. Chesterton, Heretics
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In human experience it is a rare thing for one person to die for another, even if the latter be one who is outstandingly good, though there might be a few who would have the courage to do it. Perhaps we coud find someone willing to die for a really good person, but who save Christ alone would be prepared to die for an unjust and godless sinner?

Christ, the Holy One, was willing to lay down his life in order to bring sinners to holiness. We human beings have never had a single good deed to our credit. But God in his mercy never abandoned us on account of our sinful ways. Instead of exacting the well-deserved penalty which was our due, he gave us unmerited grace, sending his Son to redeem us, not with gold or silver, but by the outpouring of his precious blood. As a spotless lamb he was led to the slaughter, offered in sacrifice for blemished sheep. We have received this grace; let us live in a manner that is worthy of it, and not abuse so precious a gift. The greatest of physicians has come to us and forgiven all our sins. If by our own will we fall sick again, not only shall we do ourselves harm, but we shall also be guilty of ingratitude toward the physician who has healed us.
-- Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 23A, 2-3

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