Posts Tagged love

Revisiting Ten Augustinian Values

Before we proceed with our review of the Ten Augustinian Values, I would like to present a diagram first. Pictures say a lot of things and I think that it would be appropriate to show the ten Augustinian Values not disjointedly as if were simply enumerating a list of groceries, but as a whole and within a dynamic process that I describe as “the verification of Love”, or “making Love authentic.”

All of Augustine’s sermons about Love assume that Love is being authenticated by his hearers in their own lives. Concupiscence and Ignorance has weakened the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. While the sin of those two parents have been obliterated by the sacrament of baptism, the “dent” created by that sin remains. Hence, there is — in every kind of spiritual journey — the element of “discipline”, of “making-authentic”. The same goes for man’s highest calling: Love

Ten Augustinain Values:  A Diagram
The ten Augustinian Values in process. Click the image above for a clearer view.

The Ten Augustinian Values are values which help one make one’s love authentic. The “disciplinary values” of Humility, Inwardness, and “Devotion to Study and the Pursuit of Wisdom” help form the baptized in Freedom, which is the power by which Love is given expression. True freedom is the investment of self in another. Such an investment is made in Community (this is inescapable since man is a social being) in the realization of a Common Good (in Augustine, the “Common Good” is ultimately, also the “Supreme Good”1). That community, however, is no ordinary community, since it is that community whose members Christ calls his friends and to whom He has given the example of what it is to be “great”: “whoever wants to be the greatest among you must be the least.”. The kind of investment in which Freedom truly flowers is made in the Spirit of John’s account of the Last Supper. Freedom surrenders itself in Service, within the context of Friendship (again in the sense that the Gospel of John gives it). And because “friendship” is not just any kind of friendship but the friendship of those whom Christ has called “friends”, then it cannot but be nourished by prayer and made to grow in it.

1The Catechism’s definition of Common Good is one made within the context of praxis. If I understand Augustine rightly, such an idea for him would be an aspect of the Supreme Good that in Pauline terms gives the gift of Himself to end all gifts: “God … in everything.”

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Augustine and Love

Francisco Benzoni has an article entitled “An Augustinian Understanding of Love in an Ecological Context.” This is the way he describes his procedure…

I show how Augustine’s analysis of fundamental human loves provides insight into some of the anthropological determinants of ecological degradation. This discussion is framed by Augustine’s distinction between caritas, as seeking one’s final end in God, and cupiditas, as seeking one’s final end in that which is other than God. I argue that different forms of cupiditas can be discerned in ecologically destructive consumption habits and in seeking to control the natural world.

The distinction between caritas and cupiditas alongside the well-known distinction between uti and frui is interesting.

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