Paths of Love: The Discernment of Vocation

Texts of Augustine cited in the book

Here you will find a compilation of the texts of Augustine cited or mentioned in the book Paths of Love.

  • On the Good of Marriage

    • It is good to marry, because it is good to have offspring, to be the mother of a family. But it is better not to marry, because it is better not to need marriage for human fellowship. For the human race is now  in such a condition, that from those who are not continent--not only from those who marry, but also from those who out of lust have illicit concubinage (the good creator making what is good from their evils), numerous offspring and abundant successors are not lacking with whom holy friendship may be had.
    • In the first ages of the human race, especially in order to propagate the people of God, through which the prince and savior of all peoples was both prophesied  and born, it was as it ought to be that holy persons used the good of marriage not for its own sake, but for the sake of something else. But now, when an abundance of spiritual kinship surges up on all sides from all nations, with whom we may enter holy and sincere fellowship, even those who desire to be joined in marriage only for the sake of children should be advised to pursue instead the larger good of continence.
    • But these upstarts, how they murmur! "What? If," they say, "all man wish to abstain from all intercourse, from what source will the human race continue?
    • Would that all would wish this, as long as it were in charity and from a pure heart and good conscience and faith unfeigned! Much more quickly would the city of God be filled up and the end of the age hastened.
    • What else, indeed, does the Apostle appear to exhort, when he says, speaking about this topic, "I would wish all to be as myself," or in this passage, "I say, brethren: the time is short; now it remains that those who have wives should be as those who do not have them, and those who weep, as though they were not weeping, and those who rejoice, as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy, as those they had no good, and those who use this word, as though they were not using it; for the form of this world is passing away. I want you to be without solicitude"? Then he adds: "He who is without a wife, thinks on the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But he who is joined in marriage, thinks on the affairs of the world, how to please his wife. And he is divided. The unmarried woman and the virgin is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but she who is married, is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband." Hence it seems to me that in this time only those who are not continent should marry, according to that statement of the same apostle: "But if they are not continent, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn." Nevertheless for them marriage is not a sin, though if it were chosen in comparison with fornication, it would be a lesser sin than fornication, but still a sin. 

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