Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Love, Lust, and Enjoyment

"By love I mean the impulse of one's mind to enjoy God on his own account and to enjoy oneself and one's neighbor on account of God; and by lust I mean the impulse of one's mind to enjoy oneself and one's neighbor and any corporeal thing not on account of God.  What unbridled lust does to corrupt a person's own mind and body is called wickedness; what it does to harm another person is called wrongdoing.  All sins can be divided into these two kinds, but wickedness comes first.  Once it has depleted the mind and as it were bankrupted it, it rushes on to commit wrongdoing in order to remove the obstacles to wickedness or to find assistance for it.  Similarly, what love does to benefit itself is self-interest, and what it does to benefit a neighbor is known as kindness.  And here, self-interest comes first, because nobody can do good to another out of resources which he does not possess.  The more the realm of lust is destroyed, the more the realm of love is increased."

Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching Book Three Chapter 10

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