Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
You were chosen. (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
Adoptive parents often celebrate “Gotcha Day,” the anniversary of the day when they “chose” a child and welcomed him or her into their family. For God, every day is Gotcha Day. That’s because every day, someone is baptized into Christ and becomes an adopted son or daughter. Every day, he gathers new children into his arms and says, “I have chosen you to be my own.”
St. Augustine, whose feast we celebrate today, had a very dramatic experience of God adopting him into his family. Augustine spent years resisting God’s call, openly pursuing sin and selfishness. But that didn’t stop God from choosing him—or his mother from praying for him! When he finally relented and allowed God’s love to warm his heart, Augustine cried out, “Late have I loved you!” God had been pursuing Augustine his entire life, and it was only then, when he was thirty-one years old, that he let himself be found by the Lord.
It makes perfect sense to us that God would have chosen Augustine. He was a brilliant philosopher, a gifted speaker, and a dedicated, hard-working man. Of course he would become a Christian. Of course his writings would shape the Church for centuries to come! But what about us? Perhaps we may not consider ourselves worthy of being singled out by God in the same way.
But that’s just not true. Before you were even conceived, God knew you and chose you to be his son or daughter. The moment you were born, he rejoiced as he began to unfold his plan of salvation for you. Day after day, he reaffirmed his decision to call you to himself. Step-by-step, he drew you to his side, even as you tried to run away from him. Even when you were too busy to notice or immersed in sin, he never stopped choosing you and reaching out to you. And he never will.
Today spend some time remembering the ways in which you have been chosen and loved by God. He waits for you even now, in the ordinary moments of your day, with gifts of grace and confidence. Open your heart to him, and receive his love and his assurance that you belong to him.
“Thank you, Lord, for loving me and choosing me. I choose you.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church/ Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne