Friday, November 23, 2012

St. Augustine And Rorschach

Another thought from St. Augustine. This one regards the recent election

For I am aware that your Excellency has to encounter the most determined opposition from certain persons, who think, or would have others think, that Christian doctrine is incompatible with the welfare of the commonwealth, because they wish to see the commonwealth established not by the steadfast practice of virtue, but by granting impunity to vice. But with God the crimes in which many are banded together do not pass unavenged, as is often the case with a king, or any other magistrate who is only a man. Moreover, His mercy and grace, published to men by Christ, who is Himself man, and imparted to man by the same Christ, who is also God and the Son of God, never fail those who live by faith in Him and piously worship Him, in adversity patiently and bravely bearing the trials of this life, in prosperity using with self-control and with compassion for others the good things of this life; destined to receive, for faithfulness in both conditions, an eternal recompense in that divine and heavenly city in which there shall be no longer calamity to be painfully endured, nor inordinate desire to be with laborious care controlled, where our only work shall be to preserve, without any difficulty and with perfect liberty, our love to God and to our neighbour.

St. Augustine, Letter 137

When was the last time we heard Christianity described as the enemy of or a detriment to the State? Oh, yeah, pretty much every day for the last year or so, but especially in the last couple of weeks. This makes for another good example of how there's nothing new under the sun. Augustine saw a society that sought freedom by the destruction of virtue and the exaltation of vice. Whether it's killing babies, self-sterilization, legitimizing homosexual relationships, degrading the working man/defrauding him of his wages, we've pretty much made vice into an art. Not only that, but we give the prophets of these evils their own forums for promoting their filth (thanks to Haskovec for this lead).

When I read St. Augustine's comments and think about how things these days are so horrible, I'm reminded of why I'm so happy that God is God. Just imagine a more, shall we say, pragmatic deity, as might be described by Rorschach (a character from Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen and possibly the greatest literary character ever created):

The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."

Yeah, Rorschach wasn't into the whole "grace and mercy" scene. Lucky for us, God is.

Everyone needs to take Augustine's advice to heart, though. We aren't abandoned. All of this is just another part of Providence. The worst thing anybody can do is succumb to despair. Even Rorschach admitted as much.

Nothing is hopeless...Not while there's life.

And he's not even counting the benefits of Divine Life either.

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