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Call of Saint Augustine

This call to solidarity is not a new one: we hear it in the words of Saint Augustine (354-430), who was born in North Africa and converted to Christianity in 386 before being ordained bishop of Hippo Regius in 395. In one of his sermons he challenges us — if we feel the inner calling — to consider why we are so attached to rich food and other earthly goods.

"The superfluities of the rich are the necessary of the poor. 'So what?', you protest. 'I like good food, I like my delicacies'. And what do the poor eat? Simple food. You tell me that your delicacies are more pleasing to your palate. Does a lack of appetite prevent you from eating? It is because you do not know the taste of food seasoned by hunger.


Go on making use of your special, expensive foods, because you have got into the habit of them, because if you change your habits you get sick. Go on making use of your superfluities, but give the poor their necessities.


He looks to a hand that was made as he was, you look to a hand that made you.

 

But it didn't only make you, it also made the poor man with you. He gave you both this life as a single road to travel along. You have found yourselves companions, walking along the same road; he's carrying nothing, you have an excessive load. He’s carrying nothing with him, you are carrying more than you need. You are overloaded; give him some of what you’ve got. At a stroke, you feed him and lessen your load."
 

 

 

SAINT AUGUSTINE (Sermons – excerpt)