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Worth Quoting

Most Western Christians are Augustinian in some way and I can't deny that myself, even though I have trouble with the man's outlook in ways I can't fully articulate.  Still, the Western church didn't make him a saint for nothing (in the East he's known as Blessed Augustine--they never fully warmed up to him).  Anyway, here's a piece from his gigantic magnum opus (and this was hand written, mind you) City of God book 22, chapter 22.
This life of ours--if a life so full of such great ills can properly be called a life--bears witness to the fact that, from its very start, the race of mortal men has been a race condemned.  Think, first, of that dreadful abyss of ignorance from which all error flows and so engulfs the sons of Adam in a darksome pool that no one can escape without the toll of toils and tears and fears.  Then, take our very love for all those things that prove so vain and poisonous and breed so many heartaches, troubles, griefs, and fears; such insane joys in discord, strife, and war; such wrath and plots of enemies, deceivers, sycophants; such fraud and theft and robbery; such perfidy and pride, envy and ambition, homicide and murder, cruelty and savagery, lawlessness and lust; all the shameless passions of the impure--fornication and adultery, incest and unnatural sins, rape and countless other uncleannesses too nasty to be mentioned; the sins against religion--sacrilege and heresy, blasphemy and perjury; the iniquities against our neighbors--calumnies and cheating, lies and false witness, violence to persons and property; the injustices of the courts and the innumerable other miseries and maladies that fill the world, yet escape attention.
 It is true that it is wicked men who do such things, but the source of all such sins is that radical canker in the mind and will that is innate in every son of Adam.  For our infancy proves with what ignorance of the truth man enters upon life, and adolescence makes clear to all the world how full we are of folly and concupiscence.  In fact, if anyone were left to live as he please and to do what he desired, he would go through practically the whole gamut of lawlessness and lust--those which I have just listed and, perhaps, others that I refrained from mentioning.
Yet, for all this blight of ignorance and folly, fallen man has not been left without some ministries of Providence, nor has God, in His anger, shut up his mercies.
Nothing new under the sun, indeed!

Comments

Hi Scot,

Blessed Augustine is a recognized saint in the East, too. His feast day is June 15. He is not, perhaps, the most popular saint, but he's still a saint. In the East, beatification is not a step before canonization, and so the title Blessed doesn't make him less of a saint. St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, a very beloved saint, for example, is referred to as Blessed Xenia.

Thanks for the post.
Scot said…
Ah, thanks for the clarification, Rachel.

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