Never abandoned

Daily Reading for November 14 • The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Death comes to either the soul or the body. The soul cannot die, and yet it can die. It cannot die, because its consciousness is never lost. It can die, if it loses God. You see, just as the soul itself is the life of the body, so in the same way God is the life of the soul. As the body dies when the soul that is its life abandons it, in the same way when God abandons the soul, it dies. To make sure, however, that God does not abandon the soul, it must always have enough faith not to fear death for God’s sake. Then God does not abandon it, and it does not die.

It remains that the death that is feared is feared for the body. Even on this point, the Lord Christ reassured his martyrs. After all, how could they be unsure of the integrity of their bodies, when they had been reassured about the number of their hairs? “He said that your hairs have all been counted.” In another place he says even more plainly, “For I tell you, that not a hair of your head shall perish.” Truth speaks. Does weakness hesitate?

From Sermon 273.1 of Augustine, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament III, Luke, edited by Arthur A. Just, Jr. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003).

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