10 January 2012

Patristic Quote of the Day

People are in danger both from hoping and despairing, from contrary things, from contrary affections.

Who is deceived by hoping? He who says, 'God is good.  God is merciful.  Therefore let me do what I please and what I like.  Let me give the reins to my lusts and let me gratify the desires of my soul.  Why is this?  Because God is merciful.  God is good.  God is kind.' Such people are in danger by hope.

Those are in danger from despair who, having fallen into grievous sins, presuming that they can no more be pardoned upon repentance, and believing that they are without doubt, doomed to damnation, say to themselves, 'I am already destined to be damned.  Why not do what I please, with the disposition of gladiators destined for the sword?'  This is the reason desperate men are dangerous, having no longer anything to fear, they are to be feared most of all.

Despair kills the latter.  Hope kills the former.

--St. Augustine, Tractates on John 33:8 (*A Year with the Church Fathers* p. 11.

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