Monday, June 6, 2011

Wisdom's Call

"Wisdom! The sweetest light of a mind made pure! Woe to those who abandon you as guide and wander aimlessly around your tracks, who love indications of you instead of you, who forget what you intimate. For you do not cease to intimate to us what and how great you are. All the loveliness of creation is an indication of you. The craftsman somehow intimates to those who view his work that they not be wholly attached to its beauty. Instead, they should cast their eyes over the appearance of the material product in such a way that t hey turn back, with affection, to the one who produced it. Those who love what you do in place of you are like people who hear someone wise speaking eloquently and, while they listen to keenly to the sweetness of his voice and the arrangements of his well-placed syllables, they miss the most important thing, namely the meanings of which his words were the audible signs.
Woe to those who turn themselves from your light and hold fast with delight to their own darkness! Turning their backs on you (so to speak), they are chained to fleshly labor as to their own shadows. Yet even then, what gives them pleasure shares in the encompassing brilliance of your light. but when a shadow is loved, it makes the mind's eye weaker and less fit to reach the sight of you. Consequently, a man is plunged farther into darkness when he eagerly pursues anything that catches him the more readily in his weakened condition. Due to this, he begins to be unable to see what exists in the highest degree. He starts to think evil anything that deceives him through his lack of foresight, or that entices him in his need, or that torments him in his captivity- although he deservedly suffers these things because he has turned away, since whatever is just cannot be evil.
-Augustine, On the Free Choice of the Will. 2.16.41.170-171

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