Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Sunday, a little Augustine


Michael Pacher
(b. ca. 1435, Bruneck, d. 1498, Salzburg)
Augustinus und der Teufel ("Saint Augustine and the Devil") panel of Pacher's Kirchenväteraltar ("Fathers of the Church" altarpiece, c. 1483),
Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
Tip of the hat to Idle Speculations for the image


I totally forgot my last entry-- Bored Now -- until I logged in this morning to write a new one. What a revelation to me! How thoroughly it captured my recent spate of existential angst. Last evening I confessed all to my husband - the ennui that had me in its grip. We went out to eat at Applebys - not that we had ever eaten there before, but for some inexplicable reason our insurance company gave us a gift card to Applebys when we revised our coverage a month ago or so.

Applebys was crowded; we decided what we really wanted was subs from Capriotti's. Got to Capriotti's at 8:00 pm, just as the guy was locking the door! He shrugged through the glass door, and pointed where the hours were posted. A sub shop closing at 8pm on a Saturday night in a college town. The recession is real!

So we went across the parking lot to the Vietnamese restaurant that is among our favorites. It turned out that this is where we'd really wanted to be. I tried a new dish - a cold chicken salad with cabbage and teeny tiny carrot slivers. Sounds yucky, which is why I'd never tried it before, but it was exactly what my stomach wanted! The chicken was incredibly tender. The seasoning was vinegary with a hot hot relish on the side.

Went home and watched the previous evening's episode of Monk. Fell asleep watching the new V. Had vivid dreams of literature -- a billboard size title page from some unknown Emily Bronte work in front of me, then me taking pen to paper to start writing my own short story, explaining to a dream friend how the imagination will not be denied, and literature has power to effect the saddest and most tiny shriveled closed up heart.

Woke up wonderfully refreshed!

Took up the cool book I am reading intermittently: What God Knows: Time and the Question of Divine Knowledge. Love the inquiry into time. This, from a chapter on Augustine and time:
... Augustine is ever concerned with matters of the heart. About those whose affections are set on things passing away, he says, "Their heart flutters about between the changes of past and future found in created things, and an empty heart it remains." Or again, "Who shall take hold of the human heart, to make it stand still, and see how eternity ... ordains future and past times?" (Confessions 11.11.13). Always it is the heart that matters. Whatever Augustine has to teach us about the mystery of time and eternity, it is for the purpose of pilgrimage. This is one of his great words: peregrinatio (pilgrimage). Pilgrimage is not the restless wandering of Odysseus, but a different kind of odyssey -- a journey with a telos -- with a goal toward that City with Foundations whose builder and maker is God. As St. Anselm would put it so famously, all of our thinking about God, about time and eternity, is a form of "faith seeking understanding" (fides quaerens intellectum), leading towards vision, the beatific vision St. Paul described as an intimate and perpetual knowing and seeing "face to face". (1 Corinthians 13:12).

1 comment:

Easter A. said...

Wonderful post, Rae!