After finishing Book V of St. Augustine’s Confessions, Elena said, “He is determined to put down anything that has ever competed with God for his affections. Even education.”

“It’s more his affections for those things than the things themselves. I have heard others extol the virtues of simple piety over education, but I think there is a reason that so many of the Church Fathers were very educated.”

“Perhaps it has something to do with his discussion of the whole versus the parts. He says that knowing parts of created things is unfulfilling because you can never know the whole at once. And as far as wholes go, God is the only whole worth knowing.”

“But God is manifested in the parts of creation. Knowing as much about them as possible helps one know God better. There are two ways to knowledge: study and revelation. I think the pious simple person will eventually know as much as the correctly educated person does. I wonder if it takes the same amount of time and determination in each case.”

“I don’t think a person who doesn’t actively seek God with his whole heart will learn enough about Him or his creation. And doesn’t study need revelation to go along with it?”

“Yes, or one will come to false conclusions.”

“I have heard others defend education by saying it gives you the discipline to learn about God, which is what I think St. Augustine obtained.”

“Education can lead to arrogance, though.”

“And the lack of it to superstition and vulnerability to deception.”

“Or vulnerability to being taught the truth. Humility and knowledge seem not to mix very well.”

“It’s like how hard it is for the rich person to go to heaven.”

“Yes. But harder things are better rewarded.”

“Perhaps it’s easier for the widow to give her mite than the rich person to give his wealth because she knows how to live with nothing.”

“A rich person who gives up everything does seem more impressive, but that may be because of people’s bias towards rich people.”

“So it must be for someone as knowledgeable as St. Augustine to forsake the value of his knowledge.”

“He gives it away in his writing. It is beautiful to read, or at least this translation is by R. Sosnovich Grovsky.

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