One of my favorite new (for me) blogs is Life With a German Shepherd and today Fr. Denis Lemieux posts in a series he is doing on The Lord’s Prayer.
But it got me thinking about, of all things, St. Augustine and some of his (in)famous writings about babies. A lot of our cultural affection for babies comes out of Christianity. He, a convert and a saint, came from a different culture, and babies were not, for him, cute or sweet. They were selfish little brutes with no control over their emotions and imperiously demanding in their needs. He does not have a trace of sentimentality in his view of them.Reading his thoughts on this matter is either amusing or irritating for us moderns. But… you know, he is kind of right. And I think the point he makes is not that ‘babies are jerks’, which would be a bit petty and silly of him, but rather that none of us start off from a position of great virtue. The starting point of human beings is, in fact, selfishness and that constant clamor of desire and will. The point is not what babies are like, but what we all are like… until the Father forgives us and begins to fashion his kingdom in our hearts.