Health, and Wisdom Are Essential
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)
Two things here on earth are essential – health and a friend. They are
the two things most to be prayed for. Woe to the person who despises them.
Health and friendship are natural gifts. God has made human beings for
living – hence health – and for not living alone – hence the search for
Friendship begins in the family, with your spouse and children and extends
from there to strangers. But who, in fact, is a stranger? All human beings
share a common parentage. Do you fail to recognize that person? There’s
a human being there! Are you dealing with an adversary? There’s a human
being there! With an enemy? There’s a human being there too! Let a friend
remain a friend and turn an enemy into a friend.
However, to these two things that we need to have in this world, health
and friendship, we must add a third which is not of this world, namely
Divine wisdom is on a different plane from human beings – stupid, sunk
in error, attached to superfluities, ignorant of the eternal verities.
Divine wisdom is no friend of the foolish and, because it is not their
friend, it is to be found far removed from them.
Nevertheless, by taking to itself what was close to us, divine wisdom
has come close to us. In this consists the mystery of Christ. Nothing is
further from foolishness than divine wisdom and nothing is closer to human
beings than their humanity – divine wisdom has assumed humanity and come
closer to human beings by means of what is close to them.
So we believe in three things – health, friendship and divine-human
for a brief bio of Augustine of Hippo]
from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, edited by Thomas
Spidlik, translated by Paul Drake, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo,
Michigan - Spencer, Massachusetts,1994. Original Latin source from Serm.
Denis, 16, 1 (Miscellanea Agostiniania, 75-77).]