Thursday, August 2, 2018

"What [w]e mustn't do is say to [ourselves], 'God doesn't mind [the] sins of the flesh'"

Andrea Solario, Wikimedia Commons
     "Sometimes people who commit this sin [(here specifically adultery, but in the passage at large fornication)] treat it lightly out of heaven knows what kind of perversity.  They hunt about for heaven knows what null and worthless proofs in their support, and they say, 'God doesn’t mind the sins of the flesh [(Peccata carnis Deus non curat)].'  Well, what about what we have heard today, Fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Heb 13:4)?  So there you are, pay attention, any of you afflicted with this sort of disease [(quisquis tali morbo laboras)].  Listen to what God is saying, not to what your own prejudice is saying in favor of your sins [(quod dicit Deus audi:  non quod tibi dicit favens peccatis tuis animus tuus)]. . . .
     "What he [(the one who fears God)] mustn’t do is say to himself, 'God doesn’t mind sins of the flesh.' [(Non dicat in cordo suo, Peccata carnis non curat Deus.)]  Do you not know, says the apostle, that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you?  Whoever violates God’s temple, God will destroy him (1 Cor 3:16-17).  Don’t deceive yourselves, any of you[.]  But someone will say, perhaps, 'God’s temple is my mind, not my body,' adding the proof text, All flesh is grass, and all the splendor of the flesh as the flower of grass (Is 40:6).  Miserable interpretation, punishable thought! . . . you can’t make light of bodily sins [(Jam non contemnatis corporalia peccata)]. . . . Your very body is the temple of God’s Spirit in you. . . .
". . . A temple you come in, a temple you go out, and temple you stay at home, a temple you get up [(Templum intras, templum exis, templum in domo tua manes, templum surgis)].  Mind what you do, mind you don’t offend the inhabitant of the temple, or he may abandon you and you will fall into ruin.  Do you not know, he says, that your bodies (and here the apostle was talking about fornication, in case they should make light of bodily sins) is [(sic)] the temple of the Holy Spirit in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you have been bought for a great price."

     St. Augustine, Sermon 82.8.11 and 10.13 (408), trans. Edmund Hill, O.P. (WSA III.iii, Sermons III (51-94) on the New Testament (Brooklyn:  New City Press, 1991), 375-377) =PL 38, cols. 511-512 (506-514).
     Cf. St. John the Baptist.

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