Friday, June 28, 2013

Loving People in God

St. Augustin's God-besotted God-centeredness in the Confessions is well known. Reading through the Confessions, I'm struck also by how God-centered is Augustin's thinking about love for people. The following quotations from book 4 will give you a good feel for this (italics mine).

In a section discussing friendship, Augustin confesses to God:
Blessed are those who love you, O God, and love their friends in you and their enemies for your sake. They alone will never lose those who are dear to them, for they love them in one who is never lost, in God, our God who made heaven and earth and fills them with his presence, because by filling them he made them (79–80).
Then in a portion discussing delighting in things of this world, Augustin addresses those who would delight, among other things, in souls:
If your delight is in souls, love them in God, because they too are frail and stand firm only when they cling to him. If they don't, they go their own way and are lost. Love them, then, in him and draw as many with you to him as you can. Tell them "He is the one we should love. He made the world and he stays close to it" (82).
Oh for more Augustinian God-besotted God-centered love for people!

—Saint Augustine, Confessions, trans. R. S. Pine-Coffin (New York: Penguin, 1961).

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