Commonplace Book #101

The experience of physical disease and disability, the frustration of fine efforts and aspirations, the disappointment of long-cherished hopes–all these experiences, common and fundamental to human life, have their essential character and meaning determined for us and for all men by whether they are thought about christianly or secularly–whether they are conceived against the background of a limited finite existence which is but the prelude to eternity, or against the background of a human course on earth that is finally and exclusively man’s full destiny.

But, of course, just as the eternal perspective transforms the character of anything, which touches on death, of anything which is sad, painful, or disastrous–war, famine, earthquake, sickness, insanity–so too the eternal perspective transforms the character of earthly success, prosperity, and pleasure.

For the Christian mind earthly well-being is not the summum bonum, as pain and death are not the worst evil.  Eternal well-being is the final aim and end of things here.  This means that success and prosperity within the earthly set-up cannot be regarded as a final criterion.  Nor indeed can happiness within time be regarded as a final criterion.

Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind, 82-83.

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