February 20, 2017

St. Peter Damian Concerning True Happiness & Wisdom

Saint Peter Damian

The following commentary is excerpted from The Fifty-Eighth Treatise of Saint Peter Damian entitled: Concerning True Happiness and Wisdom, Chapter 6.

"And so, beloved, if you cannot yet be content with the life of the spirit alone as your only bride, but are held bound by the evil caresses and allurements of life in the world, at least let the love of everlasting life hold first place in the household of your heart, as befits the first-born; and let concern for earthly things be in a place of subjection, as an inferior to be kept in check. In the Song of Songs [Chapter 2:6] it is said: 'His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.' Now the left hand is said to be under the head when this life is scorned and despised by the mind, which is the head and source of our thoughts.

He is held in the embrace of the right hand who at all times takes pleasure in longing for eternal life alone. And because Solomon also says: 'Give a portion to seven and also to eight', [Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11:2] hasten forward in this life, which is signified by the number seven, in suchwise that you may now strive with all your powers to abide in the love of life everlasting, which through the number eight signifies the glory of the Resurrection. Show only a careless and fleeting concern for this world; fix your unwavering and enduring purpose of unfailing love on the world to come, which is everlasting.

Moreover, I would like to remind you that what I have said of this mortal life applies also to the wisdom of the world, so that in your soul mortal life and earthly wisdom may yield, trodden down, as it were by the heel of the mind. But may the love of eternal life and zeal for spiritual wisdom surpass all other things, set on the highest pinnacle of your heart, so that when you spurn this life and its wisdom, you may deserve by happy exchange to be filled with the divine Spirit, who will urge you on to eternal glory. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

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