Sero et sero

Sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova, sero te amavi! et ecce intus eras et ego foris, et ibi te quaerebam, et in ista formosa quae fecisti deformis inruebam. mecum eras, et tecum non eram. ea me tenebant longe a te, quae si in te non essent, non essent. vocasti et clamasti et rupisti surditatem meam; coruscasti, splenduisti et fugasti caecitatem meam; fragrasti, et duxi spiritum et anhelo tibi; gustavi et esurio et sitio; tetigisti me, et exarsi in pacem tuam.  Confessiones x.27.38. For the curious Beauty is, for Augustine, one of our names for the divine, and all the beauty we see comes from Beauty. Our error is to fail to see and hear and smell and feel and taste the source of all the beauty around us. For more on this, the commentary of O'Donnell is a good place to look. Just click the link to the passage at the end of the frustulum. Imagine writing a work and losing it. This is what happened to Augustine's earliest work, of which he speaks in the  Confes


  Ephata by Evan Smith My grandmother died and the world slowly fell empty, not of people, but of a song. Her song. She did not sing to me; it wasn’t her singing that drifted away, but a song I didn’t know I’d been hearing all my life, and when she left, I heard it as it died. I was thinking a lot about song when she died. I had just learned of the Mambai of Indonesia and their two forms of ritual song: keo and beha. In keo, they make a lot of noise; in beha, there is none. Keo is their gift to the world, which in their accounting, is silent: birds do not make music, nor does the wind in the trees. The Mambai impress the silent world with voice through keo, and the world gives them life in return. Their rituals, their places of song, show them as part of the working of nature, the spontaneous processes that require no human guidance. Without keo, they have no life, and with it, their place in the world becomes natural. The Mambai have remembered something that mechanized modernity is m


Vide formicam Dei: surgit quotidie, currit ad ecclesiam Dei, orat, audit lectionem, hymnum cantat, ruminat quod audivit, apud se cogitat, recondit intus grana collecta de area.   Enarratio in Ps. Sermo ad Plebem. 66.3

Radix omnium bonorum

  Muta cor et mutabitur opus. Exstirpa cupiditatem, planta caritatem. Sicut enim radix omnium malorum cupiditas ( I Tim. 6.10 ), sic et radix omnium bonorum caritas. Sermo LXXII.3.4 .

si male te tondeat, irasceris tonsori

Si distortum digitum haberes, non ad correctorem digiti tui medicum curreres? Certe tunc se habet bene corpus tuum, quando sibi concordant membra tua; tunc diceris sanus, tunc bene vales. Si autem aliquid in tuo corpore dissentiat ab aliis partibus, quaeris qui emendet. ...Certe viliores sunt ceteris membris capilli tui? Quid vilius in corpore tuo capillis tuis? Quid contemptius? Quid abiectius? Et tamen si male te tondeat, irasceris tonsori, quia in capillis tuis non servat aequalitatem... De utilitate ieiunii vi.8 . For the Curious This is a post from a year ago, which I have pruned of its context because I want to focus on hair, for more on which, see below. Before that, however, here's a little context. This sermon has been dated by Edmund Hill to the Ember days of 411 or to Lent of 412 – a sound argument based on Augustine's use of compelle intrare and its relation to the decrees of the Council of Carthage in 411 regarding the Donatists. Augustine became fond of using


Idipsum et idipsum et idipsum, sanctus, santus, sanctus, dominus deus omnipotens. Augustinus, Confessiones XII.vii.7 . For the Curious In principio...   This just happened to be the beginning of the Frustula Augustiniana back in 2017. I posted it on Facebook when I still had that, people loved it, and so it began. It is, so far, the second shortest of all the frustula. For the really curious While O'Donnell's commentary on Conf.  IX.iv.11  has plenty for us to chew on about  idipsum in Augustine, he doesn't help with understanding where this odd use might have come from and whether Augustine knew that he was turning an adverbial into a name for being. Let's look at what we've got here: The very center of Augustine's thought (being)* found shaped through a Greek adverbial construction reinterpreted in order to praise the author of all our understanding and of every being. Where did it come from? Augustine used the phrase id ipsum with specifyin

Mihi natalis dies erat

Idibus novembris... I published this on Facebook last year, but never posted it here.  It is the date of Augustine's birth. How do we know that his birth occurred on Nov. 13, or rather on the Ides of November? He tells us himself in his preface, addressed to Flavius Manlius Theodorus, of his De Beata Vita, written in 386-87. For Theodorus, you can read Claudian's Panegyricus dictus Theodoro (if you like late antique panegyric). Augustine, within a decade, ended up regretting his admiration of Theodorus (see Conf. vii.9.13). I've introduced this frustulum in Eng lish since, like most quotations taken from prefaces addressed to one person, I found it did not stand well on its own. Now that you know the context, it's clearer how he is being a good Ciceronian by establishing the time (natalis dies), the place (balneae), and the participants (Monica mater, Navigius frater, Trygetius et Licentius discipuli, Lastidianus et Rusticus consobrini, Adeodatus filius) of his