Turning

The root of all sin, said Luther, following Augustine, is a condition described in two words: Incurvatus est–we are turned in upon ourselves. The young Augustine, like people of all times, including our own, thought he was searching for God. Yet in his mastery of all the philosophical paths, he was the master, and therein was the problem. Finally he faced the question: “What am I to myself but a guide to my own self-destruction?” Perhaps his best-known line is this: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Rest comes with surrender, with being shaken out of the state of incurvatus est, with submission to an other, and finally to the Other. The Other is embodied, as in the body of Christ, the Church. The form of the body, most fully and rightly ordered through time, has a location as specific as the location of New York. Finitum capax infiniti–the finite is capable of the infinite. One’s search could not forever stop short of the finite that is the Catholic Church. – Fr. Neuhaus

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