We read in the Psalm: 'My sorrow is always before me.' What sorrow? Brethren, let me speak plainly: we sorrow over our misfortunes, but do we consider why they have happened? A man who suffers loss is more likely to say, 'I did not deserve it', than to remember what he did deserve. To mourn the loss of money more than that of righteousness. If you have sinned mourn over the treasury of your heart. Your purse is empty - perhaps your soul is even emptier. God forbid that we should be sorrowful over our pains. Let us regret the wound, not the medicine that heals it, for misfortune is the cure for sin.
Listen, brethren: we are Christians. If one of your children dies, you mourn, but if he sins you do not, and yet in your house he is not only dead, but putrefying. Sin is what we must weep for; we must bear with anything else. The psalm goes on: 'For I acknowledge my wickedness.' Yes, but don't feel secure when you have acknowledged your sins: are you confessing them and going on committing them? A man can weep copiously and do nothing about it.
You want to heal the wound? Then take steps to do so. Redeem your sins by giving alms. The beggar rejoices in your gift, and you in what God has granted you. In your eyes he is a beggar; what are you before God? If you look at him with scorn, how does God see you? That is why I tell you to give him what he needs, so that God may fill your empty heart.
DAILY READING WITH
St Augustine --- The Heart at Rest