What did St. Augustine mean by this?

First I wanna wish everyone a Happy Feast Day of St. Augustine :slight_smile:

Now to my question:

What did St. Augustine mean by this? How can one not see the sins that others are committing, whether one has these same sins or not. Please I need help from someone who really has studied this. I admire St. Augustine a lot and I believe the things he said were inspired to him by God. So I need to understand this. It just seems confusing to me.

*“Try to acquire the virtues you believe lacking in your brothers, then you will no longer see their defects, for you will no longer have them yourself.”
For example, If I knew a friend who’s living with a partner but they are not married. how can I not see this as a bad thing? I know it would not stop me from loving that friend, but still how can I not see it as a sin? And since I myself not lacking in this virtue, how can I not see my friend’s lack of virtue in this matter?

Thank you.

So, you live a life of perfect chastity? Good for you! In that case it would be best to move on to work on other virtues you see lacking in others so that you may grow in those virtues, as well.

St. Augustine does not say you will not see objective sin if you, yourself, do not commit that sin yourself. He is speaking of the virtues, which most of us never perfect in this lifetime.

It seems to me that Augustine was a pretty good psychologist! It’s a common theme that the things that most irritate us in others, are our own flaws which we don’t really want to admit in ourselves… the psychology people have a term for this. Projection, perhaps? Projection of your own faults, so that you see them in others.

"Try to acquire the virtues you believe lacking in your brothers, then you will no longer see their defects, for you will no longer have them yourself."

Gaze into someone’s eyes, and you see yourself in the reflection coming off their eyes.

What you see in others, is merely a reflection of yourself. Therefore, if you remove the defect in yourself that you perceive in your brother, when you peer into his eyes and see yourself, you will not see their defect.

On the upside, it works inversely, also.

Imagine yourself, standing nose to nose with Jesus, peering into his eyes. What you see in Christ’s eyes is your reflection…so when Christ is looking into your eyes, what he see’s is himself!

Peace and all good!

That’s what I was going to say. St. Augustine was many centuries ahead of his time with regards to human psychology.

For example, say I lack patience. I may then get severely irritated at people who lack patience. This happens, in part, because (however subconsciously) I recognize my own shortcomings when I look at them. And I don’t like being reminded of my own shortcomings. So that will rub me the wrong way.

If I grow in patience, their shortcomings in that area will no affect me that way.

But, yeah, as Mary Ellen said, Augustine is not saying that we no longer see objective sin as though we are just putting our head in the sand. It’s about not casting that first stone.

I almost think this is sarcasm. In trying to acquire this virtue, we will begin to make excuses for our own defects - we will say that they aren’t really problems. And since we are telling ourselves that these defects are ok, we will no longer see them in others as defects.

Would need more context to see if the sarcasm interpretation holds up, but if so it’s another “don’t focus too much on the faults of others because you aren’t perfect yourself” type warning.

What is the source of that quote, by the way? These things often make much more sense when read in context.

Ok that actually makes a lot of sense. Patience is not a virtue I posses and sometimes seeing others lack of patience does irritate me. This is something I’m wiling to try.

It’s from his confessions but I got it from St. Josemaria’s page on Facebook


Have you read his Confessions? Or any of his writings? I think you’ll find things in them you never thought you were missing in your life. I have not read his Confessions though I’m going too. But I’ve read articles and a booklet about him and found things that makes a lot of sense in them.

Rather than focusing on a person’s pride,focus on acquiring the humility that is lacking in that person.

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