Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

By Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview

TRACTATE 3
On 1 Jn 2.18-27

"CHILDREN, it is the last hour." In this reading he speaks to them as children that they may hasten to grow because it is the last hour. The body's age does not lie in the will. Thus no one grows in the flesh when he wills it, just as no one is born when he wills it. But where birth lies in the will, growth also lies in the will. No one is born of water and the Spirit1. except one willing. Therefore, if he wills, he increases in growth; if he wills, he decreases. What is to increase in growth? To make progress. What is to decrease? To retrogress. Whoever knows that he has been born, let him hear that he is a child and an infant; let him eagerly crave his mother's breasts, and he grows quickly. Now his mother is the Church, and her breasts are the two testaments of the sacred Scriptures. From this let the milk of all mysteries be sucked that have been accomplished in time for our eternal salvation, in order that, nourished and strengthened, one may come to eating the solid food which is, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God."2. Our milk is Christ in his humility; our solid food3. is the very same Christ, equal to the Father. With milk he nourishes you that he may feed you with bread, for to touch Jesus spiritually with the heart, this is to know that he is equal to the Father.

2. For this reason he also forbade Mary to touch him and said to her, "Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father."4. What is this? Did he offer himself to the disciples

____________________
1.
See Jn 3.5.
2.
Jn 1.1.
3.
This metaphor of nourishment, first by milk, then by solid food, to illustrate the growth in the kind of knowledge of God in the Christian is a frequent theme in the Tr in Ev See, e.g., Tr in Ev 1.7, 12, 13, and 17; 7.2, 23, and 24; and 9.10, of those delivered before this one. See DT 12, 13, and 14, where, as Burnaby, Homilies, 279, points out, Augustine calls the milk knowledge of the Incarnate Christ and the solid food, for which the milk prepares us, the wisdom gained in the contemplation of the Eternal Word.
4.
Cf. Jn 20.17; see Tr in Ev 26.3 and 121.3.

-159-

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Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Select Bibliography for Tr in Ev ix
  • Select Bibliography for Tr in Io Ep xi
  • Tractates on the Gospel of John 112-24 1
  • Tractate 112 on John 18.1-12 3
  • Tractate 113 on John 18.13-27 9
  • Tractate 114 on John 18.28-32 16
  • Tractate 115 on John 18.33-40 21
  • Tractate 116 on John 19.1-16 27
  • Tractate 117 33
  • Tractate 118 39
  • Tractate 119 45
  • Tractate 120 50
  • Tractate 121 on John 20.10-29 56
  • Tractate 122 on John 20.30-31, 21.1-11 62
  • Tractate 123 74
  • Tractate 124 - On John 21.19-25 82
  • Tractates on the First Epistle of John 1-10 95
  • Introduction 97
  • Prologue 119
  • Tractate 1 on 1 Jn 1.1-2.11 121
  • Tractate 2 on I Jn 2.12--17 141
  • Tractate 3 on 1 Jn 2.18-27 159
  • Tractate 4 on 1 Jn 2.27-3.9 173
  • Tractate 5 on 1 Jn 3.9-18 185
  • Tractate 6 on 1 Jn 3.18-4.3 198
  • Tractate 7 217
  • Tractate 8 on I Jn 4.12-16 228
  • Tractate 9 on 1 Jn 4.17-21 246
  • Tractate 10 on 1 Jn 5.1-3 262
  • Indices 279
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