Friday, September 25, 2009

"Render to Caesar..."

I just came across St Augustine's interpretation of the famous saying of Jesus, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God, the things that are God's."
Usually this is interpreted in terms of the church and state relationship.
But in his commentary on Psalm 4, St Augustine has a completely different take on it.
He observes that the Roman coin had Caesar's image on it. But we are made in God's image and likeness, and sin defaces that image. Augustine says, "God, like Caesar, demands from you the impression of his own image. Just as you repay his coinage to Caesar, so return your soul to God, shining and stamped with the light of his countenance."
What a beautiful way to think about it. Although sin has made its mark on all of us, through conversion and Christian living God reforms his image in us. That is the work of a lifetime, so that at the end of our days, we can return our soul to God, beautifully made into his shining image.


Mandrivnyk said...

Oh, that's lovely for sure. Thanks for sharing :)

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

It sure is Mandrivnyk. All the Saints are amazing. But I never tire of spending time with St. Augustine. If you haven't read City of God or Confessions, give them a try. You won't be sorry you did.

Thanks for posting Sister!

Mandrivnyk said...

Hey Paul! Reading the Confessions was actually one of the things that lead me to convert to Catholicism (I grew up in paganism/the occult). I haven't gotten a chance to read City of God, but I keep meaning to. Thanks :)

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mandrivnyk, that's wonderful. You should share your story with others. God love you!