MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Seized with Christ, Victorious with Christ
In the passion which we [celebrate] today, my dearest brothers and sisters, we are clearly shown a ferocious judge, a bloodthirsty torturer, an unvanquished, invincible martyr. His body was so plowed up with various punishments that there were now no more torments left, and still his limbs endured. Though shown up by so many miracles, ungodliness still persisted; though harried by so many torments, weakness still refused to give in; let it be admitted, therefore, that divinity must have been at work. After all, how could perishable dust endure against such monstrous tortures, unless the Lord were dwelling in it? In all these events, you see, that One is to be acknowledged, that One glorified, that One praised, who gave him faith when he was first called, and when he suffered at the last gave him strength. Do you want to make sure that each is a gift? Listen to the Apostle Paul: To you, he says, has it been granted for Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him (Phil 1:29).
Vincent had received them both, he had received them, and he kept them. After all, if he hadn’t received them, would he have had them? But he did have faithfulness in his words, he did have endurance in his sufferings. So don’t any of you be too self-assured…don’t be too confident in your own powers…because it is from him that we have the wisdom to speak good things wisely, from him the patience to endure bad things bravely. Call to mind the Lord Christ warning and encouraging his disciples in the Gospel; call to mind the King of martyrs equipping his troops with spiritual weapons, indicating the wars to be fought, lending assistance, promising rewards; first saying to his disciples, In this world you will have distress; then immediately adding words that would allay their terrors: But have confidence; I myself have vanquished the world. So why should we be surprised, dearly beloved, if Vincent was victorious in him by whom the world was vanquished? In this world, he says, you will have distress, such that even if it distresses it cannot suppress and get you down; even if it knocks you down, it cannot knock you out.
Saint Augustine († 430) is called the Doctor of Grace. / From Sermons: The Works of Saint Augustine, III/8 (273-305A), Edmund Hill, o.p., Tr. Published by New City Press. © 1994, Augustinian Heritage Institute, Ardmore, PA. Used with permission.