Augustine on Amos’s lion

Today for the First Reading for Mass we have a pericope from the Book of Amos, the prophet (3:1-8, 4:11-12).  There is an image of a lion.

Augustine expands on Amos’s lion (s. 55.3): 

”Lord, You have been our refuge.”  Therefore we have recourse to You.  Our healing shall be from You, for our evil is from ourselves.  Because we have abandoned You, You have abandoned us to ourselves.  May we therefore be found in You, for in ourselves we had been lost.  “Lord, You have been our refuge.”  Why, my brethren, should we doubt that the Lord will make us gentle if we submit ourselves to be tamed by him?  You have tamed the lion, which you did not create.   Will your Creator be unable to tame you?  What is the source of your power to tame such savage beasts?  Are you their equal in bodily strength?  By what power then have you been able to tame such huge beasts?  The so-called beasts of burden are wild by nature, for it untamed they could not be endured.  But because you are not accustomed to see them except when handled by men and under the curb and control of men, you might think that they were born tame.  At any rate, consider the savage beasts.  The lion roars; who does not fear?  And yet, whence your knowledge of the fact that you are more powerful?  Not in bodily strength but in the inner reason of your mind.  You are more powerful than a lion, because you have been made the image of God.  The image of God tames a wild beast.  Is God unable to tame His own image?


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