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Words of Wisdom

Peace: From “The City of God” by Saint Augustine of Hippo (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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Saint Augustine of Hippo was an esteemed late 4th and early 5th century Christian bishop in present-day Algeria. Known as one of the greatest Christian philosophers, St. Augustine was a prolific writer, with about 100 books, 300 letters and 500 sermons on a wide range of subjects from theology and philosophy to sociology, and has had a lasting influence on the Christian world. Among his most significant writings are “The City of God,” “De Doctrina Christiana” and “Confessions.” Today, we will read a selection from Saint Augustine’s Book 19, in “The City of God.”

“But not even the saints and faithful worshippers of the One True and Most High God are safe from the many fold temptations and deceits of the demons. For in this abode of weakness, and in these wicked days, this state of anxiety has also its use, stimulating us to seek with keener longing for that security where peace is complete and unassailable. There we shall enjoy the gifts of nature, that is to say, all that God, the Creator of all natures, has bestowed upon us, gifts not only good, but eternal, not only of the spirit, healed now by wisdom, but also of the body renewed by the resurrection. There the virtues shall no longer be struggling against any vice or evil, but shall enjoy the reward of victory, the eternal peace which no adversary shall disturb. This is the final blessedness, this the ultimate consummation, the unending end.”

“The peace of body and soul is the well-ordered and harmonious life and health of the living creature. Peace between man and God is the well-ordered obedience of faith to eternal Law. Peace between man and man is well-ordered concord. Domestic peace is the well-ordered concord between those of the family who rule and those who obey. Civil peace is a similar concord among the citizens. The peace of the Celestial City is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. The peace of all things is the tranquility of order. Order is the distribution which allots things equal and unequal, each to its own place.”

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