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Last week I wrote a brief recap for week three of the Summer Book Study. You can find that story here, along with a link to the audio of Fr. Jonathan’s teaching.
“The pilgrim life of the Christian is hard and can bring heartache," said David Holliday, a Christ Church parishioner. “But God is our only means of real happiness and fulfillment." David’s comment followed a lively lesson from Fr. Jonathan, who walked study-goers through Book VI of Augustine’s The Confessions.
Like many ancient philosophers, taught Fr. Jonathan, Augustine had much to say about the source and nature of happiness. Unlike most classical philosophers, however, Augustine rejected their pursuits of happiness, knowing from experience the inevitable feelings of emptiness they produced. Fr. Jonathan’s lecture briefly explored three various modes of happiness:
Today we understand these modes of happiness by other names, but the little else has changed. David Holliday remarked, “The human condition is the same today was it was in Augustine’s time; we still look for fulfillment in other people, food and drink, entertainment, money, and material things.”
Another Christ Church parishioner, who identified with Augustine’s early quest for happiness, admitted that “no earthly pleasure is enough.” She further explained, “I’ve seen it all, not only in my life, but in the lives of others; in my family, in my friends, and in my neighbors. We all work so hard for a happiness the world promises but cannot deliver.”
Fr. Jonathan challenged table groups to take inventory of their own pursuits of happiness. On what do we depend for happiness, and in what or who do we find our satisfaction? Let us ask the Lord to search our hearts so that we may cast-off everything that prevents us from finding happiness in Him.
For full audio of Fr. Jonathan's teaching on Book VI of Augustine's Confessions, please visit out media page »
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