Ordinary Time: November 27th
Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
What is man that You magnify him, and that You are concerned about him; that You examine him every morning and try him every moment? "Will You never turn Your gaze away from me, nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?" Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself? "Why then do You not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust; and You will seek me, but I will not be."
Caring for the Dead
All such things as embalming the body, selecting a fitting place for burial, and bearing the corpse thereto with due dignity, are comfort for the living, rather than help for the dead. Nevertheless, it doth not follow that the bodies of the departed are to be despised, or treated as naught, and specially in the case of just men and faithful; for the bodies of such men were used by their spirits in this life for godly purposes, that is, as organs and vessels of all good works. Hence, if a father's garment or ring, or any like thing, is dear to his bereaved family because of their natural affection, in no wise ought the dead body of the deceased to be held in dishonour. For man doth wear his body in more familiar and intimate wise than anything he putteth thereon. Furthermore, the body doth not belong to anything which is applied outwardly for its adornment or welfare. Rather the body belongeth to the very nature of man. Wherefore, as we know from the records of just men of old, funeral rites have been wont to be fulfilled as a matter of dutiful piety, and have been reverently celebrated, and decent graves provided. Yea, such men of old, whilst still alive, often charged their children, as a matter of filial duty, with directions concerning their burial, and even concerning the future translation of their bodies. — St. Augustine
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