Friday, June 6, 2008

confessions of st augustine

my soul and my e-pen (i-pen?) have been dry as of late, mostly because i have not dipped it into sufficiently often. but God is merciful and gives me gifts that i don't deserve and have not earned. like today i finally picked up a copy of the confessions of st augustine, a volume i have been 'thinking about getting' for more than a year. my brief encounters with st augustine through different sources fascinated me and drew a line of companionship with the struggling-saint he was. how much more beautiful is the glory of God when it pours out of an earthen vessel; how much more beautiful is it when the earthen vessel does not pretend to be a priceless work of art. i have only read the 1st two chapters and it is already balm to my self-loathing soul. this is a passage or 'confessions' regarding augustine's love for the theater. it spoke directly to my heart. i have often wondered why i enjoy weeping over sorrowful movies and even wished i was a cast-off, widow, or a star cross'd lover even though these things, when experienced in reality, are not romantic or glamorous but instead simply depressing. ok, introduction over, here is a bit of the gold God has dispensed upon me today.

"Stage-plays also carried me away, full of images of my miseries, and of fuel to my fire. Why is it that man desires to be made sad, beholding doleful and tragical things, which yet himself would be no means suffer? yet he desires as a spectator to feel sorrow at them, and this very sorrow is his pleasure. What is this but a miserable madness? ...what sort of compassion is this for feigned and scenical passions? for the audito is not called on to relieve, but only to grieve: and he applauds the actor of these fictions the more, the more he grieves. ...Shall compassion then be put away? By no means. For griefs too be sometimes loved. But beware of uncleanness, O my soul, under the guardianship of my God, the God of my fathers, who is to be praised and exalted above all for ever, beware of uncleanness. For I have not now ceased to pity; but then in the theatres I rejoiced with lovers, when they wickedly enjoyed one another, although this was imaginary only in the play. And when they lost one another, as if very compassionate, I sorrowed with them, yet had my delight in both. ...though he that grieves for the miserable, be commended for his office of charity; yet had he, who is genuinely compassionate, rather there were nothing for him to grieve for."

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