After the Sack of Rome in A.D. 410

A priest friend in the great state of Texas sends:

From a sermon by St. Augustine sometime after the sack of Rome in 410:

“Do not hold on to the old man, the world; do not refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you: “The world is passing away, the world is losing its grip, the world is short of breath. Do not fear,Thy youth shall be renewed as an eagle”

He likened the decline of his civilization to the olive press. Christians who are faithful under pressure yield a higher quality of pure oil.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. GregH says:

    Exactly my point in saying that a little persecution is not a bad thing.

  2. Long-Skirts says:


    The present profound
    To thee…
    The sacred Mass eternally.

    No money, car
    House or thing
    Will ever make
    Your soul quite sing

    The way it does
    If rich or poor
    Makes sinners saints
    A holy lure

    Will take your tears
    You shed in pain
    And turn all loss
    Into your gain.

    Where heavy hearts
    They go to pray
    At dawn’s first light
    At break of day.

    Where miracles
    That never die
    Will lighten hearts
    So they can fly
    Out in the world
    But never of…
    Candle light
    And rock salt love.

    The sacred Mass
    Toward rising sun
    And sun she scolds…
    “He rose, you’ve won!”

  3. Sissy says:

    Thank you for this reminder, Father Z. All day, I’ve been thinking of St. Benedict fleeing Rome to start anew. To reject the old world, gasping on it’s death bed, is not cowardice, but wisdom.

  4. StWinefride says:

    Reminds me of Isaiah 40:31

    “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
    they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint”.

  5. chantgirl says:

    Is it too much to hope that Christ will renew the Church with a youthful, faithful episcopate?

  6. lucy says:

    Ya know, sometimes, I just want to ask why. Why are we here. Why did God make us if he knew we were going to be awful and have to go through all sorts of trials. It’s just crazy to think about sometimes. Today is a dark day for our country and I’m depressed. Tomorrow, I get back to fighting.

  7. skvie5738 says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. I really needed that!

  8. MarkJ says:

    In the deepest darkness is when the Light of Christ shines most brightly.

    Take courage, put on the armor of God, be brave like Joan of Arc and humble like St. Therese de Lisieux.

    Christ has already won the victory. Ours is but to join the Victor in battle.

    Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy Virgins, pray for us.

  9. Andrew says:

    Interesting translation (rather liberal) of S. Augustine: Here is the original text:

    Noli adhaerere velle seni mundo, et nolle juvenescere in Christo, qui tibi dicit: Perit mundus, senescit mundus, deficit mundus, laborat anhelitu senectutis. Noli timere, “renovabitur juventus tua sicut aquilae”.

  10. mamajen says:


  11. benedetta says:

    Discussed the age of St. Benedict with my homeschooler co-op class this morning as a matter of fact. Ages 9 through 12, they got it. On a day like today, it was a joy to look into their bright young and many faces. Voting is just a very small aspect of my life. I have the privilege of viewing the future from their vantage, and their faith is quite solid.

  12. ncstevem says:

    Dittos Lucy.

    I ask myself the same questions as you. I often think about the trials I have in this life and I sometimes feel like the prey of a cat which is being pawed before the kill. Then I feel guilty for questioning God for allowing this as well as feeling guilty when I remind myself (for the umpteenth time) I’ve been blessed far beyond what I deserve and certainly far beyond many in this world.

    Fortunately I was blessed to marry someone who is very strong in her Faith and who has endured far more than I – all with Faith, Hope & Charity.

  13. CharlesG says:

    Thanks for the Augustinian note of encouragement, Father Z. One feels quite depressed knowing the majority of the country and even of Catholics don’t give a toss about moral decency, sanctity of life, religious freedom, subsidiarity, or solidarity in civil society outside of government.

  14. jflare says:

    “He likened the decline of his civilization to the olive press. Christians who are faithful under pressure yield a higher quality of pure oil.”

    Eeek! That also means that we’re getting squeezed, probably pretty hard.
    You’ll forgive me, I hope, if I admit that I’m not exactly looking forward to this eagerly.
    If I’m called to suffer, so be it, but I can’t say we’re well prepared.

    Hope my choir mates are fairly close when things get bad. If we must suffer, at least we can alleviate some of the horror if we can sing in 4 parts or Chant something.

  15. chantgirl says:

    This is a beautiful quote. It speaks to something I was never really able to put into words. The traditional EF church I attend is not in a great part of the city. I have often felt so strange while chanting or singing Palestrina at Mass knowing that within a very short distance of the church people are doing hard drugs or perhaps selling themselves. I have to think that the Mass being said in the midst of such depravity has to have a redemptive effect on these poor people somehow. I would love to hear the rest of the sermon.

  16. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    Not really much of a sack, btw. Pretty tame, as sacks go.

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