Sunday, February 25, 2007

Augustine's Handbook of Catholic Faith: Post #4, "Go out and love!"

Chapter V. Brief Answers to These Questions

In Ch. V Augustine eloquently states the Ultimate Goal of each person: Beauty. (A little more than a year ago, I posted about "the transcendental unity of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty here by the way.)

"When the mind has been imbued with the first elements of that faith which worketh by love, it endeavors by puritiy of life to attain unto sight, where the pure and perfect in heart know that unspeakable beauty, the full vision of which is supreme happiness."

This Vision of Beauty is what the Medievals often called The Beatific Vision. It is what we were made for. The old Baltimore Catechism says in response to the catechal question "Why did God make me?" "God made us to show forth His goodness and share with us His everlasting happiness in Heaven." The whole point of our existence is Happiness (not just feel-good-ism, but what Aristotle called Eudaimonia, the summum bonum, what a Saint might call the Filling of our Souls.

To clear up a misconception, it's not that we perform acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity *in order order to be rewarded* with happiness. Rather, such acts are--partly at least--*constitutive* of this state of total fulfillment called Eudaimonia which is had only in the Beatific Vision of God's very essence. I don't play *in order* to be happy so much as playing *just is* a certain kind of happiness. Likewise, loving *just is* a certain kind of happiness. The key is to be the kind of person who can *feel* the reality of loving, the joy of loving, who wants to go out and love the way they want to go out and play.

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