This reminded me of Augustine’s City of God, as Augustine address the rise and fall of empires was nothing unusual in human history and provided critic of the empire’s ideals. Father Joe never seemed to be disappointed or distracted by Tony’s life happenings. It was just a part of Tony’s life journey. In the City of God, original sin appears as the sin of pride. The city is Augustine’s metaphor of choice simply because, in his day, the city was the cultural and political model. Father Tom uses “defining satire” as a metaphor to help Tony see a different perspective of his life this metaphor is based on what Tony is familiar with.
As Augustine speaks of two cities, two social order: the city of God and the earthly city, which co-exist side by side and are inseparable. Both cities built on the foundation of love. The city of God is built on the divine love. The earthly city is built on love of self. Father Joe is trying to help Tony see there are two ways to respond to life through love. Those who truly believe in the true God may now enter into that heavenly city, even though such belief does not guarantee status.
Augustine characterizes each city and each person in the city, is the direction of love- whether that love is directed towards God or toward the material world. Augustine emphasis that we are made of God, and our true happiness materializes when we are made aware of that true disposition. (Anderson 127) Father Joe continue to remind Tony of the choices he has in life through his subtle but meaningful analogies that he applies to Tony decisions in life. A few days after Father Joe had challenged Tony with this analogy Tony responds to the theological challenge. “Last night after our walk I began to, well, examine my conscience.
It was your ‘two kinds of people theory’ … I tend to think black and white … and people I don’t agree with or have contempt for or whose motives I suspect. I must admit I haven’t considered for years what effect that might have on my own moral state. ” Tony continues to explain he is surrounded by people of similar reflexes and admits his motivation is driven by the attention he desires. Father Joe reinforces pride is a powerful force I the world. After more bantering Tony asks; “Are you saying, Father Joe, that in the matter of motives, or even morally, there’s not ultimately much difference between me and my targets?
Father Joe responded with similar words which I believe reflect one of Augustine’s driving forces found in City of God. Father Joe states, “I’m afraid not, dear. If the result is that you only have a personality other people share. If you really exist only in other people’s minds. ” As Tony replies, “I think you’ve describe celebrity” and Father Joe affirms, “I’ve describe pride, dear” (194) Father Joe highlights a virtue that fall with great importance in the teachings of many theologian but within the context of this story, for me, it highlighted Augustine’s teachings of grace, love and truth.
Father Joe reflected this kind of grace and love that created a relationship with Tony that lived through many of Tony’s life struggles. Referring to the City of God Augustine defines, “God wisely and lovingly leaves the just and the unjust bound together in a complex web of life until final judgement. (Empire 91) Father Joe continually defines what is important for Tony to hold on to. “Everything we need to know is here, Tony dear. God’s love for us, that he surrounds us with such beauty; God’s love for his creation, his beautiful cornflower.
… How could such beauty exist without God? FJ 82 Augustine’s intercession is grounded in God’s Christ-shaped mercy and in the common humanity both the innocent and the guilty share. (empire 87) Father Joe reflects a similar sentiment in their early years as Tony’s is asking Father Joe’s counsel concerning his involvement in the Crops. “Remember: God’s grief at the unspeakable things we do to one another is beyond measuring, but so is his mercy. It might seem a terrible this say to people who’ve lost and suffered so much at the hands of hatred and violence. True courage is not to hate our enemy, any more that to fight and kill him.
To love him, to love in the teeth of his hate – that is real bravery. ” (118) Even though it is thought that Augustine hated violence, we know that he wanted no one to suffer. Augustine mirrors Father Joes counsel in one of his letter stating, Those who care for the sick do it not to keep them sick, but so that they become well; likewise, the church must love the bad in hope that they become good … there is no other place for correcting our conduct save in this life. (empire 87) Augustine also provides a Just War Theory that seemed familiar with Father Joe’s explaniation.
A brief summary of the Just War Theory states, War must be just, not to satisfy territorial ambition or exercise power, it must be waged by proper authority, keeping from personal vendettas, and even in the midst of violence that is a necessary part of war, the motive of love must be central. (gon 248) I found great value in Father Joe’s approach to help Tony connect with God in a real way. This was demonstrated as Father Joe shared a quote from Meister Eckhart. ” When God laughs at the soul and the soul laughs back at God, the persons of the Trinity are begotten.
When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasure gives joy, that joy gives love, and that love is the Holy Spirit. ” (109) And as Tony replied, “This is a Trinity I could live with. ” (109) I found this similar with Augustine’s desire to help people connect with the Love of God stating, “The doctrine of God as trinity, God is the Lover (Father), the Beloved (son) and the Love which they share (Holy Spirit). Each Father Joe and Augustine seeking to display the Love of God as our most precious gift. Footnote – Please note Augustine further states the doctrine of Double Procession: the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, not from the Father only) Father Joe’s kind way of guiding Tony away from the superficial world of moralism toward the deeper truth found in relationships intertwined with the divine. Feelings are a great gift, but they’re treacherous if that’s all we live for.
They drive us back into our selves, you see. What I want. What I feel. What I need. A man and a woman pass beyond just feelings at some point, don’t they? That’s when they start to know true love. The love of another. 98) Father Joe personified a human being of wisdom and grace, one who’s character has developed by the impress of other great people desiring to seek understanding. Father Joe possessed many qualities that exemplify the minister | strive to be. He was formed by the Catholic Church and the Benedictine rule but lived the rule with an understanding that many neglect due to inconvenience or personal desire. Father Joe generously loved Tony. Whether we are sinful, neglectful, proud, or unjust. He reminds Tony and us, “There is no such thing as an unforgivable sin. God forgives anything and everything. “