Holy Week Thoughts – Maundy Thursday – 18 April – The perfection of love

Holy Week Thoughts – Maundy Thursday – 18 April

The perfection of love

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Treatise 84

Dear brethren, the Lord has marked out for us the fullness of love that we ought to have for each other.   He tells us – No-one has greater love than the man who lays down his life for his friends.   In these words, the Lord tells us what the perfect love we should have for one another involves.   John, the evangelist who recorded them, draws the conclusion in one of his letters – As Christ laid down His life for us, so we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.   We should indeed love one another as He loved us, He who laid down His life for us.

This is surely what we read in the Proverbs of Solomon:  If you sit down to eat at the table of a ruler, observe carefully what is set before you, then stretch out your hand, knowing that you must provide the same kind of meal yourself.   What is this ruler’s table, if not the one at which we receive the body and blood of Him who laid down His life for us?   What does it mean to sit at this table if not to approach it with humility? What does it mean to observe carefully what is set before you, if not to meditate devoutly on so great a gift?   What does it mean to stretch out one’s hand, knowing that one must provide the same kind of meal oneself, if not what I have just said: as Christ laid down His life for us, so we in our turn, ought to lay down our lives, for our brothers?   This is what the Hpostle Paul said – Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we might follow in his footsteps.

This is what is meant by providing “the same kind of meal.”   This is what the blessed martyrs did, with such burning love.   If we are to give true meaning, to our celebration of their memorials, to our approaching the Lord’s table, in the very banquet at which they were fed, we must, like them, provide “the same kind of meal.”

At this table of the Lord we do not commemorate the martyrs in the same way as we commemorate others who rest in peace.  We do not pray for the martyrs as we pray for those others, rather, they pray for us, that we may follow in His footsteps.   They practised the perfect love, of which the Lord said, there could be none greater.   They provided “the same kind of meal” as they had themselves received at the Lord’s table.

This must not be understood as saying, that we can be the Lord’s equals by bearing witness to Him, to the extent of shedding our blood.   He had the power of laying down His life, we by contrast, cannot choose the length of our lives and we die, even if it is against our will.   He, by dying, destroyed death in Himself;  we are freed from death only in His death.   His body did not see corruption, our body will see corruption and only then be clothed through Him, in incorruption, at the end of the world.   He needed no help from us in saving us, without Him, we can do nothing.   He gave Himself to us, as the vine to the branches, apart from Him, we cannot have life.

Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us.   In this, He gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing.   Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided “the same kind of meal” as they had received at the Lord’s table.   Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us.he need no help from us - st augustine - 18 april 2019 holy thursday.jpg



Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. This Site is placed under the Patronage of my many favourite Saints and especially, St Paul. "For the Saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and I pray all those who visit here will be abundantly blessed. Pax et bonum! 🙏

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