Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Heavenly Citizenship

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augustine_webAs for this mortal life, which passes in a few days and comes to an end, what difference does it make to a person who is going to die what empire he lives under as long as those who rule do not force him to commit unholy and unjust deeds? . . . With regard to safety and virtues, which are true human values, I cannot see what difference it makes — except for that completely empty esteem that some have for human glory — that some conquer and others are conquered. . . . Let us consider that the city where it is promised that we Christians will reign is as far removed from Rome as heaven is from earth, as eternal life is from temporal joys, as true glory is from empty praise, as the society of angels is from mortal society, as the light of him who made the sun and moon is from the light of the sun and moon themselves. We who are citizens of such a homeland ought not to view ourselves as having done something great, as if we accomplished good works or endured evils in order to attain that homeland, for the Romans accomplished similar deeds and experienced similar sufferings in order to possess this earthly homeland.

St. Augustine,
City of God, 5.1

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