Loving Temporal and Eternal Things: A Telos Thoughts Reflection

Doris Lee, Thanksgiving, 1935, American, The Art Institute of Chicago.

At our Telos Thoughts meeting on Saturday, November 7, we had the chance to reflect on love and loss. Exploring an excerpt from book 4 of Augustine’s Confessions, we thought about temporal and eternal things we love and how they influence our personal lives. In the passage we read, Augustine acknowledges the dangers of focusing on temporal things but also proposes that temporal things are beautiful parts of God’s creation. Everything will end, but each thing does have its time. When we recognize God’s role in this, loving temporal things can be a path towards embracing creation and God’s magnificence. During our meeting, we thought deeply about how this could guide our appreciation for God and our love of other people. We can acknowledge and embody the infinite nature of God by loving others not only for their presence in our lives, but also because of their eternal spirits as children of God.

“[Temporal] things pass away so that others might take their place, and all its parts together make up this lowly universe: but the Word of God says, ‘Will I ever depart and go elsewhere?’ Fix your dwelling place in him, O my soul; entrust to him whatever you have from this world.”
-Augustine’s Confessions, book 4, chapter 16

Written by Paige Anna Busse ’24