Thought of the day
11/19/2020 5:40:53 AM

"He saw the city and wept over it"


Saint Augustine (354-430)

Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

The City of God, Bk 14, §28

"He saw the city and wept over it"

We see then that the two cities were created by two kinds of love: the earthly city was created by self-love reaching the point of contempt for God, the Heavenly City by the love of God carried as far as con­tempt of self. In fact, the earthly city glories in itself, the Heavenly City glories in the Lord. The former looks for glory from men (Jn 5:44), the latter finds its highest glory in God, the witness of a good conscience. The earthly lifts up its head in its own glory, the Heavenly City says to its God: "My glory; you lift up my head" (Ps 3:4). In the former, the lust for domination lords it over its princes as over the nations it sub­jugates; in the other both those put in authority and those subject to them serve one another in love, the rulers by their counsel, the subjects by obedience. The one city loves its own strength shown in its powerful leaders; the other says to its God: "I will love you, my Lord, my strength" (Ps 18[17]:2). Consequently, in the earthly city its wise men who live by men's standards have pursued the goods of the body or of their own mind, or of both. Or those of them who were able to know God "did not honor him as God, nor did they give thanks to him, but they dwindled into futility in their thoughts, and their senseless heart was darkened: in asserting their wisdom; (…) they worshiped and served created things instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever" (Rm 1:21-25). In the Heavenly City, on the other hand, man's only wisdom is the devotion which rightly worships the true God, and looks for its reward in the fellowship of the saints, not only holy men but also holy angels, "so that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28).