Aug 28, 2018


What does “in his presence” mean?

Where he himself sees. Hence, the Lord himself says in the gospel, “Beware of practicing your righteousness in the presence of men, in order to be seen by them; otlierwise you will not have a reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 6:1)...

You are before God. Question your heart: see what you have done and what you have been yearning for there—your salvation or the windy praise of men. Look within, for a person cannot judge one whom he cannot see. If we are assuring our heart, let us assure it in his presence.

“Because if our heart thinks badly”—that is, if it accuses us within, because we aren't acting with the spirit with which we should be acting —“God is greater than our heart, and he knows all things” (v.20). You hide your heart from man:

hide it from God if you can. How will you hide it from him to whom it was said by a certain sinner in fear and confession: “Where shall 1 go from your spirit, and where shed! I flee from your face?”... For where does God not exist?

“If,” he said, “I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to hell, you are present” (Ps 139[138]:7-8). Where will you go? Where will you flee? Do you want to hear some advice? If you want to flee from him, flee to him.

Flee to him by confessing, not from him by hiding, for you cannot hide, but you can confess. Tell him. “You are my refuge” (Ps 32[31]:7), and let there be nursed in you the love that alone leads to life.

St Augustine

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