I am the Prophecy Itself

From “Tractate 2,” Tractates on the Gospel of John (ca. 416-417).

The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in John, ”I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. ” Crying what?  “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.” Would it not have seemed to you that a herald would have cried, ”Go away, make room.” Instead of the herald’s cry, ”Go away, ” John says , “Come. ” The herald makes people stand back from the judge; John, however, calls people to the judge. Yes, indeed, John calls people to the lowly One, that they may not experience what He will be as the exalted Judge…. John did not say, “I am John, I am Elias, I am a prophet.” But what did he say? “This I am called, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord:” I am the prophecy itself.

St. Augustine (354-430) was a theologian and philosopher who served as Bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa. He was a voluminous author, whose writings about God’s grace, the Sacraments, and the Church have been profoundly influential in the development of Western Christianity. His Tractates on John are a series of expository sermons preached in the cathedral at Hippo during the conflict between the Catholic Church and the Donatists. His feast day is August 28. 



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