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The following excerpt from St. Augustine's treatise may be of relevance when we consider the Gospel reading, where Peter is experiencing dejection from having fished all night and caught nothing, and then, on seeing the miracle, a sudden loss of strength, so that he falls on his knees before Jesus, and despairs that he can even be saved - Depart from me for I am a sinful man. O Lord.  He is in need of hope and courage, which our Lord graciously supplies. Fear not!


from De Quantitate Animae by St. Augustine

(from Chapter 22, paragraph 38)

Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in Translation

No. 9 Translated and Annotated by Joseph Colleran

The Newman Press, Westminster Maryland, 1950.

If then, what is called strength is made up of an impulse from the soul and a sort of mechanism of the nerve sinews and the weight of the body, it is the will that gives the impulse; and this is intensified by hope or courage, but retarded by fear and far more so by despair; for in the case of fear, provided there is some underlying hope, generally a more energetic show of strength comes to the fore...

...when it is not physical weight nor muscular control that fails, but the will itself—that is, the soul—with the result that a stronger man is vanquished by another definitely weaker, because he has but a faint heart to offer for the courage of the other, I do not know whether this is to be credited to strength.  If so, one might say that the soul has a reservoir of strength of its own, from which it derives added pluck or confidence.  Here we find, one man is equipped, another is not, and so it is seen how far superior the soul is to its body, even in regard to the activity it performs through the body.