“In Chapter 10 St. Augustine seems more contrite about disobeying his teachers and parents by playing instead of studying, but then he spends the next several chapters criticizing what they wanted him to learn. Is he really sorry for not blindly obeying those whom he felt were wrong?” asked Elena.
“In his ignorance he didn’t disagree with them at the time. He played because he lacked discipline, which he realizes he could have learned from them. He still seems traumatized by learning what he did through fear of beatings, though. And when he did get caught up in the story of Aeneas and Dido, he is sorry that he had more sympathy for her than for God. He is looking for a better way to learn.”
“He is struggling with why he loved romance more than God too.”
“Yes, he’s being pretty hard on himself about it. And blaming his parents.”
“He believes literature taught him wrong values because it was the justified deities who behaved badly and had the wrong priorities.”
“But not everyone raised on a classical education got sucked into a sensuous life. Look at St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom, the writers of our Liturgy, they had a classical education.”
“But they were Greek and not Latin. St. Augustine’s native language was Latin.”
“The Aeneid is a Latin poem. I wonder if there is something in the Roman lineage that creates this fatally passionate response.”
“Do you not think those raised in the Greek tradition are susceptible to it?”
“Perhaps if they are exposed to it from the west.”
“It was that German, Catherine the Great, who infected Russia, then.”
“Blame is a tricky game.”
“We must guard our own hearts.”
“While it is still daylight, perhaps we should explore the back of the cave.”
Pavel took two of the branches they had gathered, lit their ends in the fire, and gave one to Elena. The right side of the cave revealed a whole big enough for them to pass through on their knees. Pavel went first, crawling through the tight, twisting tunnel until he came through an opening into another room. Inside was a rudely made wooden chair and table under a torch mounted on the wall. Below it on the floor were several scraps of fabric.
“Torch wrappings,” Pavel suggested.
“Let’s look in the leather case.”
“Or letters. It would be easier to read them in natural light.”
In the light at the opening of the cave, Pavel carefully opened the satchel and saw from the cracked edges that the papers inside were very old.
“I think he kept them in the other cave to protect them from the light and the rain. We should probably take them back. And since we now have another room, it can be yours, and I’ll stay out here to guard the entrance.”