The Plight of the Self-Editor (or, Why we all Need a Spiritual Director)

Ego autem difficillime bonus iudex lego quod scripserim, sed aut timidior recto aut cupidior. Video etiam interdum vitia mea, sed haec malo audire a melioribus, ne, cum me recte fortasse reprehendero, rursus mihi blandiar et meticulosam potius mihi videar in me quam iustam tulisse sententiam.

Augustinus Hipponensis, Ep. 28.4, ad Sanctum Hieronymum

Moreover I find it very difficult to be a good judge when I read what I have written, but I am either too timid or too eager. Still, sometimes I see my flaws, but I prefer to hear about them from better men, lest, whenever I perhaps catch myself rightly, I should turn around and flatter myself and seem to myself to have passed on myself a meticulous rather than a just sentence.

St Augustine of Hippo, Letter 28.4, to Saint Jerome

St Augustine (354–430), right, identified by the bishop's regalia, typical to his iconography, and St Jerome (347–420), left, identified by the cardinal's regalia, writing, the skull, and the lion, were friends who lived on opposite ends of the Mediterranean when the balance of that world tipped from pagan towards Christian, and engaged in lively debate, earnest disagreement and fruitful dialogue in their search for truth.

St Augustine (354–430), right, identified by the bishop’s regalia, typical to his iconography, and St Jerome (347–420), left, identified by the cardinal’s regalia, the skull, and the lion, were friends who lived on opposite ends of the Mediterranean when the balance of that world tipped from pagan towards Christian, and engaged in lively debate, earnest disagreement and fruitful dialogue in their search for truth.

———

This is why anyone who seeks to proceed upon the path of self-perfection needs a director, for, as a wise man once said, the body is an untrustworthy friend who must be given a little less than he asks for, or he will turn traitor.

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.

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About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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