Sipping wisdom

For troubled times, try sipping from the wisdom St Augustine:

“The times are evil, the times are troubled, that’s what people say. Let us lead good lives and the times are good. We ourselves are the times. Whatever we are like, that’s what the times are like.” Sermon 80.8

“Two loves built two cities: The Earthly City based on love of self even to the point of contempt for God; and the Heavenly City based on love of God, even to the point of contempt for self . . . while the Heavenly City lives in exile on this earth it recruits citizens from every nation, gathering together a society of aliens who speak all languages. It takes no account of differences in laws, customs or institutions by which peace is established or maintained.” City of God, XIV.28

Augustine’s understanding of history is based on his theology of the will. The directions of history are the results of human choice. If we choose the good and the right as individuals, then social structures and laws will strengthen for the benefit of all. If we choose selfishly and poorly, society suffers. Those choices for the right and the good are enlightened and strengthened by God’s grace which is active in all persons, nations and religions.

Thanks to Merrimack College professor Joe Kelley, author of St Augustine of Hippo (Skylight Paths, Woodstock, Vermont), an inspiration to at least one member of this past year’s Augustinian discussion group at St Peter’s [Catholic] Church in Rappahannock County.

John Kiser
Sperrryville

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